15 December 2013

FamilySearch Fan Chart interactive inside rotating marquee

One of the new things about FamilySearch.org this year is the huge rotating marquee that welcomes users. It takes up a lot of space on the home page, and one shortcoming is that it provides little practical usefulness. This is changing.

A few days ago the signed-in version of the Fan Chart portion of the marquee began to appear as an interactive version of your fan chart. It works differently than the actual fan chart page. This preview version can be navigated by clicking any visible name, but you cannot access a person page from this point. It is great as a way to preview the feature without ever leaving the marquee.

Maybe someday we will be able to search for names from the search portion of the marquee too.

06 December 2013

FamilySearch Catalog advertizes WorldCat.org and Archive Grid

These two links may have appeared today. It is the first time I remember noticing them. FamilySearch has been working with WorldCat (OCLC) for perhaps a year or two from what they've been saying in the past. This is the first noticable trace of this agreement I have noticed in the catalog. 

I understand that FamilySearch Catalog items should be showing up in WorldCat.org at some point. Archive Grid is part of the same website. 

Please don't overlook these two sources. The largest genealogical organization in the world (FamilySearch) has put prominent links here because they are extremely valuable catalogs. Almost any book has an entry in this catalog. I just helped a patron in our Family History Center find the location of a rare family history by showing him how to use WorldCat a couple weeks ago.

01 December 2013

Illinois Wilmette Family History Fair (March 22, 2014): Seeking local speakers

As a member of the planning committee and Family History Center staff, I have some local news to share today.

The Wilmette Family History Center in Wilmette, Illinois is hosting a Family History Fair on Saturday, March 22, 2014. The family history center is located inside a local church at the same address. The fair will be held at this location.

It is with respect and hope for increased community collaboration that we invite the community to attend. Registration information will be forthcoming.

We invite any societies to ask your experienced members or staff whether any are interested in speaking at this event. Those who express interest before the end of January 2014 will be considered. You may have those who you feel are good candidates respond at wilmette.fhfair2014@gmail.com

There are several time-slots open for local speakers for lectures. This is a free fair for the community, and we are unable to compensate speakers. Projection, laptops, and speakers will be set up for speakers to use.

Michael W. McCormick
Wilmette Family History Fair

RootsTech 2014: I'm not a developer, Why should I attend Wednesday?

What is Wednesday for?
At RootsTech this year, developers are being given their own day before the regular parts of the conference begin. That day is Wednesday, February 5. Anyone with a full-pass has access to all four days, including this first day.

The first day is marketed to developers and was previously called Developer Day. This day is known as the Innovator Summit.

In previous years these types of classes were mixed into the other days. In fact, for 2014 there are still some "DEV" (developer) marked classes during the other days too. Unfortunately the word does not always get out; some of the 2013 developer classes were never listed in the schedule for that year's conference. As of this weekend (30 Nov/1 Dec), there are some classes listed in the website that are not listed in the app.

See the RootsTech.org Session Viewer for the Innovator Summit.

Now if they are calling the first day Innovator Summit and all classes on those days are marked "DEV," than why would a normal user want to attend?

Insight into future products
In past years, many of my absolute favorite classes were developer classes. These classes give some of the best perspective into the technology we users will be getting our hands on soon. I love learning about the tools and features that are not quite released. These are likely to come in the next months and years.

Some of these classes are taught in a vocabulary that the beginning user can understand. Even more is understood for intermediate users. The advanced user can understand even more of the vocabulary. A good general guideline would be to read the class description and see if you have a basic understanding of what the class description is referring too. Another good guideline is to attend the class knowing that some terms will probably be over your head. As a user, you may be listening for the product manager's explanation of the concept. If they've been talking about nothing except computer code for several minutes you can always walk out, but I think you'll enjoy hearing the concepts.

Free lunch
"Lunch is provided free for all Innovator Summit attendees." (See Innovator Summit page)

My pick of classes
As I read the descriptions I was interested in the concepts of the following classes:
  • A New Tool for Recording, Analyzing and Displaying Genetic Relationships from Y-DNA, mtDNA and Autosomal-DNA
  • Sharing Photos and Stories with FamilySearch Memories
  • FamilySearch Family Tree and Collaboration Models
  • FamilySearch Industry Leaders Town Hall - The Latest Updates From Key Executives / Open Q&A
That is one for each time slot, though there were 3 at 4:30 that interested me. One was about FamilySearch Partner Services, and the other about findmypast's technology development.

Out of the whole day, I am most interested in the last bullet point above. This looks like a great opportunity to hear from and ask questions of FamilySearch executives. I think any advanced user would enjoy that one.

What do you think? Will you be coming to the Innovator Summit? Maybe for the free lunch?