Friday, March 30, 2007

Preview the New FamilySearch Life Browser

Dan Lawyer at the Family Search Labs blog invited users to go visit and play with the prototype Life Browser at the FamilySearch Labs web site. The sample life biography of Deodat Brewster is at

This is an interesting implementation. Note that there are links for the subjects wife, his children, his descendants and his ancestors at the top of the web page. There are a number of thumbnail images at the bottom of the screen - you can click on each one and see a larger version of the image in the middle of the screen. For this example, there are family pictures, homestead pictures, his obituary, census records, etc.

When the image is in the middle of the page, you can press the "Full Screen" button and see a larger image. From this screen, you can press the "Magnify" button and hold your left mouse button down over the image and see a magnification. You can drag the image around the page, and will be able to add notes to the image. You get back to the genealogy data by pressing the "Back to Details" button.

Many of the buttons and links don't work at this time because this is early in development. Therefore, it is difficult to comment on the whole implementation of the concept.

All in all, I like the setup, especially the ability to attach source documents to the person. If each person is properly annotated with source citations for each fact and document, then this concept has a real potential to be interesting and useful.

I'm guessing that this concept will be implemented at some point and genealogy researchers will be invited to provide the genealogy data, documents and source information for people in their database. As with other collaborative projects, the real critical feature will be how to combine data for a certain person from two or more researchers.

Go visit the prototype site and play with it a bit. And provide feedback to the development team using the Feedback button.

Keep up the good work at FamilySearch Labs, Dan!


GarysTurn said...

The Idea behind this project is to add this to a future release of newFamilySearch. As FamilySearch Scanning and Indexing scans and indexes the entire Microfilm collection of 2.5 million microfilms at the Family History Library. These sources can then be linked to the individuals in FamilySearch. newFamilySearch which is near the end of Beta2 testing links all the databases in FamilySearch into families and pedigrees.

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