25 January 2013

RootsTech 2013: What might FamilySearch reveal?

Disclaimer: If you want to be surprised by everything FamilySearch announces at RootsTech 2013 don't read this post. I follow FamilySearch closely and will give my guesses as to some things they will "announce." In addition, I make no guarantee that these topics will be discussed.

I plan to update this post, so check back again before RootsTech 2013 to see if I have come up with any further guesses. Feel free to share any guesses of your own.

February 1 - FamilySearch Photos new visibility on Family Tree
February 4 - Historic documents release goal brought forward
February 7 - Added a section of miscellaneous things in development
February 8 - Professional Genealogist pages by FamilySearch
                    BillionGraves reveals new must-see technology
  • FamilySearch Indexing
    • "Browser-based" Indexing
      • Introduced in concept FamilySearch Blog (August 2012) or before
      • Description: replaces current Indexing software, introduces indexing corrections
      • Mentions: complaints about indexing servers, and the lack of index correct-ability run rampant online
      • Goal release: second half 2013
      • Future: We will presumably no longer have indexing server errors as the experience will be built into the website and the images we use to index will be the same images we browse online. 
      • Concerns: I have some concerns about the indexing experience, such as whether filling multiple fields as quick as one can type, auto-fill options, rulers, handwriting guides etc. will still be possible? In addition, I wonder whether the website will be mobile capable. We will find out.
    • FamilySearch Linking
    • FamilySearch Indexing mobile app
  • FamilySearch Family Tree
    • FamilySearch Photos
      • Introduced about September 2012, after Kinfolio presumably discontinued
      • Description: This is a long awaited feature currently accepting photo uploads, which will eventually show up in Family Tree when that is turned on.
      • Mentions: Late in January 2013 this beta was advertised to LDS Family History Consultants. Before that it was already being shared to any members of FamilySearch's sponsor, who became aware of the special link. 
      • Goal release: a couple months, my guess is at RootsTech
        Photos now visible on Family Tree by those who are LDS and part of the beta.
      • Future: This will receive many minor upgrades like all FamilySearch systems, the stories feature will be improved. 
    • Upload historical records
      • Introduced: Concept discussed FamilySearch Feedback (June 2010), or earlier
      • Details: In the early stages of FamilySearch Photos it was thought that this was the system they'd use to allow users to attach historic documents. An early prototype had a documents tab. See Genealogy's Star Blog for a screenshot.
      • Mentions: ... Try searching document photos under the FamilySearch GetSatisfaction page for several informative posts.
      • Goal release: Some time in the next year we should hear more about attaching our own historical records, although it is not certain what tool will be used.
        "a few weeks away"
        as of 4 Feb 2013
      • Future: We have yet to see how this will play out, but it could fix two main needs. 1. attaching images of privately held single page source or copies
        2. uploading and indexing entire privately owned collectionsAlthough the introduction of browser-based indexing, or other tools, might make this possible... it is just as likely that the donation of entire collections will continue on a less automated path.
  • FamilySearch Books
    • Creating GEDCOMs from books
      • Introduced Feb 2012 by Annaleise Dearinger of FamilySearch Digital Books
      • Description: Renee's Genealogy Blog (February 2012)
      • Mentions: ...
      • Goal release: none
      • Future: It would be nice to see this tied into the FamilySearch Books experience, but I haven't heard anything since the first month or two of the project.
  • FamilySearch miscellaneous betas and concepts
    Because these are so early in concept and testing, there is little more that can be said.
    • Recording and sharing of audio interviews (image -->)
    • Canon Mark II records collections beta in which inside individuals are given this highly portable camera to digitize strategically important collections which are added to the website
    • Improved volunteer experience
    • Organizing a potential way for FamilySearch patrons to connect with genealogists
      February 8 - I became aware of the wiki pages for this purpose... something I missed before: https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/FamilySearch_Wiki:WikiProject_Professional_Genealogists Will you add yourself?
    • Discussing ways to improve the collection donation experience, and possibly include individuals who are interested in donating a private collection
    • An ongoing effort to test new home page designs and improve user experience for FamilySearch.org (recent example)
    • Sharing data about living people (mentioned on GetSatisfaction by Ron Tanner, example)
      I wonder if this has any connection to the early Kinfolio beta and how it will--or will not--work with Family Tree.

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