Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, February 11, 2011

RootsTech -- Personalizing Technology -- Remembering

 Opening the second day of RootsTech is the keynote by Curt Witcher of the Allen County Public Library. The Allen County Public Library is one of the premier facilities in the world for genealogy. The theme of his presentation is the personalization of genealogy. He related personal stories of the patrons of the library and how their lives have been impacted by moving along from the “good old days.” Widows who can preserve their World War II letters to their departed husbands. People who can find an anchor in a chaotic life filled with tragedy, who can find a guide through researching their ancestors' stories.

The following is a summary of a few of the ideas presented by Curt Witcher:

Technology has expanded the capabilities and extended the reach of those seeking their families. He highlights the impact of wikis and online resources. He talked about how the wiki can allow anyone in the whole world can edit and contribute. The is now reaching 50,000 articles.
He also highlights, the world's largest family wiki. One of the most valuable online resources for family history, assisting everyone in having a digital copy of the documents. Posting pictures online of groups, allowing the wiki community to identify everyone in the photos. There is nothing else online comparable to the power of a wiki to accumulate information from a variety of sources.
Moving on to Find-a-grave and other Allen County Public Library resources. On to Cincinnati Riverfront 1848 by examining old photos to bring out information. In Curt's words information oozing out of the photos.

Open Library setting out a digital inter-library loan program. Millions of books are now available to search and view online. Video online for genealogy. Too many new things on TV and the Internet to review in detail. All of this is enhancing the impact of technology and family history. Family history stories are coming together making the technology come alive. If you are interested in more story telling, then the technology is what is making this all possible. Look at preserving present memories.

He goes on to explore the power of technology with conservative organizations like the Catholic Church. Moving on to mapping the human genome and, of all things, Farmville, Angry Birds, on to many other examples of the impact of technology. With the increase in people online there will be a huge increase in the number of people interested in their families online also.

More people are using more sophisticated technology to do more investigation into family history than ever before. Curt goes on to explore the impact of the new technologists. Genealogy today is all about the experience. Its not about doing the traditional genealogy. There is the real challenge in change causing anxiety. If you don't get them (the upcoming generation) in the sandbox you can't get them to play. Last words mention of Word Lens. Ends with a plea for more match ups so we can tell our stories.

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