Saturday, January 15, 2011

Interview with RootsTech speaker Diane Loosle

I had the pleasure of speaking with Diane Loosle,CG, AG recently. She is one of the many speakers at the upcoming RootsTech conference. I asked her about the RootsTech in general, as well as her session "FamilySearch: Providing Help Now and in the Future."

What makes RootsTech different than other family history conferences?

RootsTech is an opportunity like no other for genealogists and technologists to get together and discuss how technology can be a solution to helping us be successful. How often do we have challenges with technology which makes our work in finding our ancestors more difficult. This is a chance to talk with the creators of the technology and share where we struggle so they can improve our experience with their products. Most family historians are completely unaware of how a wide variety of technologies can help them with genealogy. This conference goes beyond the traditional technologies represented at genealogical conferences. The sessions are a wide variety of products that people have found to be helpful in genealogy. This is a great opportunity to learn how to be more effective and efficient in your family history.

There are a large number of hands-on workshops and sessions on a many different technologies. This is exciting to be able to try out different technologies with an instructor. Also, as I have looked over the sessions and workshops, I have been surprised by the many different technologies people have found helpful to them in genealogy. Wow!!! I am only scratching the surface of the things I could be using to be successful.

I am personally excited about this conference because it is something new and different and I am certain I will learn a lot that will be helpful to me. I am also excited because the technology developers will be there and listening to us to make products that meet our needs and solve our challenges even better in the future. I think that everyone with any interest in family history would benefit from attending and hope to see as many of you there as possible.

2. You're teaching "Family Search: Providing Genealogy Help Now and in the Future." What can attendees expect from this session?

All the resources available!

Have you ever needed help from someone to do your family history? We all have. Sometimes finding the person who has the piece of knowledge you need can be time consuming, expensive and difficult. The knowledge we need exists in the heads of people all over the world: librarians, archivists, more experienced researchers, societies, local historians, record searchers, people who live in the place your ancestor lived, etc. It is important to have someone there to answer your questions when you have them and help hold your hand through to your next step. FamilySearch has been there for decades helping people free of charge to be successful in doing family history. We are here to stay and helping people be successful is what FamilySearch is all about.

Attendees will learn about little known services that FamilySearch provides both in our physical locations and online to help people find answers to their questions and receive one-on-one help. They will learn about our latest services to give you better access to the right information, training and people who can help you. For example, FamilySearch Research Wiki and Research Courses are some of the latest additions to the FamilySearch website, with FamilySearch Forums to be added soon.

FamilySearch is working together with the genealogical community to enable you to help each other and be successful in finding your ancestors. We are collaborating with many organizations and people to make more information and training available. This session will cover all the services that are now available and give you a glimpse into the future of our activities in this area. You’ll be surprised by the wide variety of things FamilySearch is doing to help you be successful and find the help you need anytime, anywhere. The key to success is YOU, because everyone knows something that can help someone else. FamilySearch will be there to connect YOU to the people who can help YOU and the people YOU can help.

Since your class is about the present as well as looking forward, what do you see in regard to collaboration between FamilySearch and the genealogy field in the future?

Of course, it is difficult to know exactly what will happen in the future because we learn and shift our thinking all the time. But, I will share with you my opinion about the areas that I think are likely to grow and develop in the future.

I feel that you will likely see more collaboration with the genealogical community to bring you access to records, information, training and people to help you. There are many organizations and people who are trying to preserve and make records available and who are trying to provide help. These include: archives, libraries, historians, commercial companies, genealogists, societies, technologists and many others. Many of these organizations do not have the resources to make what they have available broadly, whether it is records or knowledge. Many do not have the resources to advertise to make people aware of their services or records. There are hidden treasures all over the world in people’s heads and in physical locations. I see FamilySearch doing more in the future to enable and facilitate others to preserve, share and provide the records, knowledge and services to the world so we can all benefit. The FamilySearch Indexing is a perfect example of this where FamilySearch provides the technology and the images and others provide the indexing. Another example is the new service to assist organizations and individuals with putting training classes online. Many different people and organizations have and will participate in the future.

I also see FamilySearch providing more tools to connect you in the genealogical community to each other because everyone knows something that can help someone else. Wouldn’t it be great if you always had access to the right people, information and records you needed to solve your research problem from any location, in any language and at any time of day. Imagine if you had an ancestor who came from Poland to the United States and settled in the Midwest. What if you could bring together in one place the following: a Midwest expert, a migration expert, an immigration specialist, a Polish researcher, the archivist in Poland, someone who speaks and reads Polish, someone who lives in the place your ancestor comes from in the Midwest and another one in Poland, historians familiar with the time period and social context, and the records you needed. Would that be an amazing world? I think so and I think one day it could be possible if we all work together towards a common goal.

FamilySearch has always been interested in your success and the success of the genealogical community as a whole. That will not change. FamilySearch is here to stay and we are anxious to give you the best service experience possible. To that end, you can expect to see improvements to all of our services in the future. You can expect us to talk with you more and learn what you needs are. You can expect us to listen and as we find better ways to help you, new services and tools will become available. You can expect that we will always try to provide you the best solutions to your genealogical research problems, regardless of where the solutions can be found. FamilySearch offers our services for free, but often the best solution for your particular problem is to refer you to a commercial company or a professional genealogist. We are interested in a strong genealogical community with many players and we know that we need them all to be successful. We are interested in your success, so our goal is to always point you to the best possible answer no matter where it may be.

Together we can find our ancestors! The future looks very bright and very interesting as we all work together to provide solutions to challenges we all face.

Special thanks to Diane for taking the time to share about the RootsTech conference and one of her sessions. Interested in attending the RootsTech conference? Register here.

Disclosure: I am an Official Blogger for the RootsTech conference, and will periodically write about the event in this capacity. This perk includes complimentary registration to the event. 

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