Thursday, February 19, 2009

LDS Record Search Changes

The LDS FamilySearch Record Search Pilot site, which includes the results from the FamilySearch Indexing project, has undergone a facelift - the site says:

"18 February 2009: Record Search has a new look and feel! The upgrade to Record Search has been completed, and we hope you enjoy using the new interface, as well as some of the new features, such as full-screen image viewing, the ability to print a selected area of an image and numerous other enhancements."

When you go to the web page, you see:

This is very similar to the previous screen - a Search box, a map, and some words. If you want to search records from a specific region, you can click on the continent on the map. If you click on the "Select a Region" box, you get a list of regions with the number of databases available:

The number of databases today for each region include:

All Regions - 100 databases
* Canada, USA, and Mexico - 63 databases
* Europe - 29 databases
* Caribbean, Central America and South America - 6 databases
* Asia and Middle East - 2 databases
* Africa - 0 databases
* Australia and New Zealand - 0 databases
* Pacific Islands - 0 databases
* Other - 0 databases

I clicked on "All Regions" and the list of available databases is shown by Region in a single column. The top of the list is Canada, USA and Mexico, but the USA is listed first for some reason:

Scrolling down (and you have to scroll down - you cannot use a Page Up, Page Down, Home, End, or Arrow key!) shows more of the Region:

And the end of the USA, Canada and Mexico Region, and start of the Europe Region:

Here's the start of the Caribbean, Central and South America Region:

I was curious about the individual databases, so I clicked on the 1920 United States Census item on the list. The screen for this database:

The top of the screen indicates that this census database was last updated on 13 February 2009 and is 5% complete. The bottom of the screen tells which states are included. In this database, the user can Search Indexed Records only at this time. Some databases have the option to also browse the images, and some do not have indexed records, only image browsing.

For me, the organization is a little better - one long list instead of a two column list, and I think that the font size is a bit larger. I do wish that they had a "brighter" font color - the light blue color is difficult to read.

I like to navigate web pages by using the Page and Arrow keys - this is not allowed on this web site. The site also does not permit the Edit>Copy function - the user cannot highlight text, Copy it and Paste it somewhere else.

Is this a major improvement over the earlier format and user interface? Not really, IMHO.

My thanks to James Tanner on the Genealogy Star's blog for being the first to note the facelift.


James Tanner said...

You are welcome. Thanks for the mention

Geolover said...

The change is much deeper than a 'facelift'. Now computer users who cannot use Flashplayer 10 are barred from the site.

If your machine is win98 or earlier, regardless what RAM or hard-drive enhancements have been made, you are automatically redirected to a page that says you are trying to download a version of Flashplayer that is not suitable for your operating system.

This is quite perplexing for those who are not fairly computer-savvy.

The 'upgrade' shuts out no few older users and others on fixed (or no) incomes who cannot rush out and get the latest machine. :(