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

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hello, an update from the Colorado Family History Expo

Excited to get going here in Colorado Springs at the Family History Expo. If you have a chance, you can still see most of the presentations. We will be here also Saturday, June 2 for a full day of classes. If you haven't come to a conference before, you are really missing part of the total picture of genealogy today. I will be posting some pictures later today.

One of the things about Conferences that I like the best is the opportunity to meet fellow genealogists and also see the exhibitor's offerings. This time I have severe weight limit from the airline and will probably have to wait until next time in Sacramento to buy anything, when I will be driving.

The Keynote speaker is Don Anderson of FamilySearch. They now have almost 4 billion names on the website with over 500 million images, more than any other site on the Internet. They are publishing 400 million new records annually. The 1940 U.S. Census will soon be complete and indexed online likely by August, 2012. They still need volunteers to Index. FamilySearch is acquiring about 70 million new images a year, with 1164 collections online right now.

FamilySearch will have a new collection specific search. Family Tree will be delivered soon for general public use. There are now over 300 online courses in the Learning Center. You might notice that now has a link to the FamilySearch Learning Center. They will be testing a way to have community volunteers helping one another.

Don continued by explaining that the new emphasis will be on public sharing of records. The focus will change from deceased to the living, from records to media, from vital data to stories, from users to communities, from indexing to linking, and other changes. So, they will support both public and private trees but focus on the collaborative tree.

My comment, doesn't collaboration imply people who are at near or the same level of understanding of the project?

Back to Don Anderson, to do this FamilySearch needs to enable easy sharing while at the same time reducing duplication while at the same time recording and preserving data with sources. It is a priority to not pass on more un-sourced genealogy to the next generation. It is also a focus to build a rich life experience, understanding who you are and why.

Many of the world's population live and die undocumented lives, although there is a wealth of information in the heads of people living today. Gathering living today is sewing the seeds of information for tomorrow. Connection to living inspires ease of use and collaboration.

Records continue to be essential. There are more than 110,000 volunteers Indexing the 1940 U.S. Census. The FamilySearch Wiki has more than 50,000 (actually more than 67,000) articles and more than 450,000 monthly users.

ICR or intelligent character recognition will augment OCR or optical character recognition. FamilySearch has over 40,000 books online. They are presently digitizing at 10 times the rate of indexing.

FamilySearch is working on standards systems, GEDCOM X,  and Archive tools. (These all need more attention in the community). FamilySearch Tree records are on (I need to look into this).

More later.

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