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

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reporting from BYU Genealogy Conference -- Part Five Thursday

Here we are back again. Usually, we would be saying goodbye and leaving for home, but this is a four day conference and we are here on the third day. I say we, because I am starting out in the Keynote auditorium, a rather large room with stadium seating. The speaker for the day is Ransom H. Love, the Senior Vice President Strategic Relationships of FamilySearch. I am wondering if the FamilySearch people are honored to speak at these conferences or pass the assignments on to those who can't say no because it is their job. They are all very good speakers and very informative, but there is a difference between someone who presents because it is part of their job and those who present because it is their passion. Just a thought, all of the speakers from FamilySearch at this conference exhibit a huge amount of passion, interest and knowledge of the areas they address.

Once again I am invisible in my standard sports shirt and Levi's. One thing I do suggest for conferences is very good walking and standing shoes. I happen to be wearing my hiking boots. They work better than anything else I have found.

Back to genealogy. One more thought, my impression is that the FamilySearch people do not work there because they just need a job, almost all (all I know) are very dedicated to genealogy and technology and conversant in both. They are people with a passion whether or not they like to do presentations or speak. I think it is probably hard for those who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to understand the depth of interest some members have in genealogy, based not just on an interest in family, but deeply held religious beliefs which I happen to share.

Ransom Love's presentation was on "Creating Change Together." However, the syllabus had the title as "Embracing Change Together." I guess we will either create and/or embrace change. I agree with that. Love's presentation first talked about the problems facing records access. If anything, his presentation was passionate, informative and motivational.

He indicates that archives all over the world are being shut down or limiting access for lack of funds. Summarizing his presentation: there is a demand for digitizing but not allocated any funding. There is no real long term solution for digital preservation. The expensive part of digitization is the creation of the metadata, all of the background information about the digital images. All this is the challenge due to lack of funds. Technology does not cause change, it enables change. They need a way to capture the images for digitization.

Love's discussion included issues regarding records and the opportunities to assist. The first example of a way to assist is the FamilySearch Research Wiki. (Yeah!!). He talked about the release of the 1940 U. S. Census and bringing societies, archives, volunteers and companies together to put the Census online through an Indexing project. He shared a vision of cooperation between worldwide volunteers to be able digitize the world's records. A great presentation.

Back to D. Joshua Taylor with "Interactive Genealogy Using Modern Technologies to Present, Record and Share your Research." Taylor has a gift to communicate on technical subjects in a way that helps rather than befuddles. He talks about Cloud Computing and explains some of the issues including privacy. He explained DropBox, which we find to now be an indispensable aid to speed the transfer of files, especially large files. I have been using DropBox for sometime and as is the case with a lot of the presentations, they suggest topics for future blog posts. We used DropBox extensively in writing and editing my new book, The Guide to FamilySearch Online

On to "Google Maps and Earth for Genealogy" by Daniel M. Lynch. Google can be used to complete addresses, locate and visit addresses, find points of genealogical interest and to give aerial views of cemeteries and other locations of interest. Google products that might help in genealogy:
  • Google Suggest
  • Google Local
  • Google Earth
  • Google Street View
There is a correlation between those who attend conferences and those who are adopters of technology. Whenever one of the presenters asks for hands on who has used some type of technology, the response is much greater than among the general genealogical population.

I enjoyed the presentation on Google Maps and Earth. Dan Lynch is the author of Google Your Family Tree.

On another presentation by D. Joshua Taylor, "Interactive Genealogy Using Modern Technologies to Present, Record and Share Your Research." I managed to lose some of my notes in the middle of the presentation, so I will try to reconstruct. I guess I should have used the techniques suggested by Taylor. He talked of the advantages of using online or Cloud storage for information and sharing. He talked about DropBox, which we found to be indispensable in writing and editing my new book, The Guide to FamilySearch Online. He then moved on to Google Docs. I have used this program but after Taylor's presentation, will probably go back and review it again. It is the case that listening to these presentations has the effect of suggesting topics for future blog posts and also for learning and investigation. So far I have quite a list of things to look at in depth.

How about sending out a Google Docs invitation to family members to add information for a family reunion? This was a good suggestion from Taylor. He then moved on to Zoho. I am not familiar with this program, so it was all new to me. It appears to be similar to Google Docs.

Taylor moved on talking about Wiki technology for creating interactive documents with tracking for changes, revisions and discussion about the document. Wikis are good for sharing data. He reviews (Yeah), Family Tree Portal and WikiTree. From the questions asked during the presentation, it is apparent that we have a long way to go before wikis are well used and well known.

He mentions instant communication on computers including chat, Trillan, Skype and others. There is now a way to ancestor's profiles on FaceBook. What about ancestor's FaceBook and they could be friends with other ancestors?  Facebook pages for research repositories, family associations, research projects, organizations and groups. Google+ and a lot of other things including blogging. This was a whirlwind tour of the online world for genealogy. YouTube can be a way to present your research to others.

A very interesting and productive morning. I got a lot of ideas.


1 comment:

  1. Great review... I love your detail and precise information. Thanks so much.