The audience was invited to share information with other users, so I'm doing just that.
The first topic discussed was the RootsTech conference, being held for the first time February 10-12 in Salt Lake City. This event is different from traditional genealogy conferences in that its main goal is to foster innovation and collaboration between tech developers and users in the family history field. Keynote speakers will include notable names in technology and genealogy.
Other nifty events that will happen at RootsTech:
- Unconferences - There will be opportunities to create sessions on the spot, based on user interest. If you want to discuss a topic, you'll be given the opportunity to schedule a time and invite others to join the discussion. I love the unconference concept and have been waiting for the genealogy field to give it a shot.
- Some sessions will have "dynamic class interaction," such as the use of clickers where speakers can survey the audience and get immediate feedback.
- There will be a "community zone" within the exhibit hall to give attendees a hands-on opportunity to test products and concepts. I'm curious to see how this is laid out. You can be sure I will report back to you.
- Also, six RootsTech sessions will be available online for free. When I find out which ones, I"ll let you know.
- Lastly (on this subject), the official RootsTech hashtag is #RootsTech.
Next in the bloginar, FamilySearch talked about the big update of FamilySearch.org. The new site replaces the old site, as well as Family Search Pilot, though both as still available for now.
Under the hood, there is a new search engine with enhanced search options. The goal is to give users a single places to search. In going through the collections and new features, I noticed lots of places to learn more. In fact, in collections, look for "Learn More." It will take you to the appropriate spot in the Family Search Wiki and provide more information on the collection.
DearMyrtle asked a great question about citations being included on documents users print out or save. This is on the FamilySearch radar, but not currently being developed. Once the search engine is refined, look for citations to make their way up the priority ladder.
We also were given a look at the Library Catalog. This, too, has a single search form. Users will be able to use filters and search-exactness controls to refine results. Play with these new tools and get to know them. There is so much to see, you really just need to explore.
The bloginar was informal and easy to access. We were given a URL and phone number to join. We could see who else was in the discussion. There was a small chat window in the corner for comments and questions during the presentation. FamilySearch will probably do more of these in the future and open them up to bigger audiences. Is this something in which you would like to participate? Let me know in the comments and I'll be happy to relay the feedback to FamilySearch.