Wednesday, May 3, 2006

New LDS Family Search - Research Help

Renee Zamora has an interesting post on her Renee's Genealogy blog:

"The Help Center Research Advice Forums"

By now most of the genealogical community has heard about the new FamilySearch™ system the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is developing, but fewer have heard of the Help Center. The Help Center is a web–based program designed to provide a self-service support environment for the new FamilySearch.

Among the exciting additions of the Help Center are the Research Advice Forums. These online communities will provide users a chance to ask their research questions and allow other users with research experience to share their knowledge. The forums will be available in eight languages, and will eventually cover every country of the world.

Research Advice Forums

FamilySearch Support (part of the Family and Church History Department) has been given the task to provide family history research support worldwide. Since volunteers in family history centers and genealogical societies collectively possess so much research knowledge, FamilySearch Support has created an online environment where these people can share their knowledge with those looking for help with their family history.

The Research Advice Forums are different than any other genealogical forum online. How many times have you asked a question in an online forum and never received an answer? Research Advice Forums will be different. FamilySearch Support will actively manage its forums and notify the forum moderator of any questions that have gone unanswered for a given amount of time. The forum moderator will then ask a research specialist to answer the user’s question.

The forums also have a dynamic search feature. Every time a question is asked and answered it is automatically added to the Help Center’s knowledge base of answers. The knowledge base contains forum posts, websites, authored articles, and Family History Library publications. As questions are asked and answered, websites added, and new articles written, the Help Center’s knowledge base will continue to grow.

This sounds really useful for many genealogy research problems. They are not going to solve your research problem, but they will answer your questions and perhaps guide you to online or repository resources.

Note that this is still in the Test phase now, but it may be available soon.

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