Monday, October 25, 2010

FamilySearch Bloggers' Day, Part 5

See part 1 here, see part 2 here, see part 3 here, see part 4 here

The Next Generation
Speaker Dan Lawyer introduced himself as an Uber-Techno-Genealogist-Ologist, or someone who specializes in the study of genealogists (aka geek). No easy task, in my opinion.

Primary goals of FamilySearch are to make it easier to access and share information, as well as receive assistance when needed. There was a lot of discussion on the user experience. Lawyer also talked about the site, referring to its current state as a house under construction.

One thing I've noticed about the FamilySearch crew is that they try lots of new things, several of which fail because that's what happens when you try new things. But they embrace those failures, study them and learn from them. They also share with us (the bloggers in the group) about them and ask our opinions. In other ventures, they've received feedback from users. FamilySearch wants to know what we think, so be sure to let your voice be heard when the opportunity presents itself.

FamilySearch Catalog 2.0
There was a lot of audience discussion during this portion of the day. Unfortunately, the audio kept going in and out for me, like the volume was going up and down. I caught portions of the speaker, portions of the audience. I was able to see the graphics just fine, however.

Lawyer talked about the changes coming to the search experience of FamilySearch in the next 3-6 months. Look for some experimental ways to search, new search filters, and results quality. Enhancements will also be made to the "getting started" points of the site.

This was the last session of the day.

Parting Thoughts
First, I have to reiterate my appreciation of FamilySearch for including me in the Bloggers' Day event. They went above and beyond to make sure I was part of the discussion, even if in another state.

I left this Bloggers Day event feeling quite positive about the experience and the intentions of FamilySearch. Here are my takeaways from the day:

FamilySearch is changing each and every day. The various branches of the site are constantly being updated and improved. If you can't find it today, come back tomorrow. Don't just visit the site once and write it off. Also, look at all the facets including the wiki and forums. There's just so much stuff! It's incredible.

I have a new appreciation of what it takes to get records published at FamilySearch. It's more than simply digitizing and indexing. To borrow a familiar phrase, it really does take a village (and permission) to get records online and available to users. Consider volunteering and contributing to the effort.

FamilySearch wants feedback and they are listening.

Guess that's it for my re-cap. Hopefully, some of you read the whole thing and at least one person enjoyed it. If so, then I've done my job.


  1. Thanks for the recap, Amy. Good job!

  2. Loved all of the recaps. I'm feeling really energized, and I wasn't even there. It's so cool to be part of a group that is talking and collaborating and working to improve things. It feels so...positive. Love that.

  3. Enjoyed it, "insider" information can be a good thing. I am encouraged by your take on their willingness to improve the search engine/site. Currently the beta search, in my opinion, needs a lot of improving. I find myself uploading the old version when I become frustrated with the beta multiple (make that gazillions) of hits. Adding new parameters does not always reduce the gazillions to manageable numbers, even 45,000 is too many for me to slug through. LOL

  4. Thanks for the nice 5 part recap. I liked getting it in bite sizes. There's just too much going on with FamilySearch to be able to digest it all. You made it manageable for me.

  5. Thanks for getting the information out there. I'll keep some of these things in mind as I try to navigate through some of the changes, which are not always easy to keep track of. Ditto what Michelle said - you made it all manageable.