Tuesday, October 26, 2010

FamilySearch Blogger Day - Upcoming Collections

Another important presentation at the FamilySearch Blogger Day on 21 October was "Upcoming Collections: Millions Weekly and Climbing" by Stephen Valentine, Lynn Turner and Thomas McGill. 

 FamilySearch has been adding collections, either fully indexed or browse-only, several times each month and adding them to the list of collections at the Record Search Pilot site and the FamilySearch Beta site.  This presentation covered the FamilySearch Publication Strategy, their Collection Strategy, and their Affiliate Strategy.

Here are the notes I made for myself and my Twitter audience during this presentation (with a time stamp; #FSBlogDay is the Twitter hashtag useful for collecting tweets):

#FSBlogDay Steven Valentine up on Upcoming Collections on FamilySearch 1:49 PM Oct 21st

#FSBlogDay Valentine: strategies for publications: more records, more people, fast. treatment pyramid - image publication on bottom.. 1:51 PM Oct 21st

#FSBlogDay Valentine: light indexes, then heavy index then family linking at top. Way-pointing is light index - where to look, 100-500 images 1:52 PM Oct 21st

#FSBlogDay Valentine: use community to improve access by adding more indexing. some collections with indexes don't have rights to images 1:54 PM Oct 21st 

#FSBlogDay Valentine: example: Argentina church records: 5 million images online, only 68,000 indexed to date. Will take 51 years to finish 1:55 PM Oct 21st

#FSBlogDay Valentine: need volunteers to help with way-pointing. Q: Why way-point? Let users browse images. many are easy to use 1:58 PM Oct 21st

#FSBlogDay Valentine: affiliate partnerships used; don't own many records. have right to publish. working to obtain rights 2:03 PM Oct 21st 

#FSBlogDay Valentine: cost tradeoff is browse images vs. volunteer indexing by two indexers. Also getting indexes from partners 2:04 PM Oct 21st

#FSBlogDay Lynn Turner up next on Collection Strategy. FS has global interest. They have priority list. Localities then collections 2:06 PM Oct 21st

#FSBlogDay Turner: focus on ancestral localities, then general interest, then immigration patterns, then opportunities, then operational... 2:07 PM Oct 21st

#FSBlogDay Turner: ...realities. List of 16 - US is #1, #2 is UK, 3 is Brazil, 4 is Germany, etc. Mexico, Philippines, Canada, Netherlands, 2:08 PM Oct 21st

#FSBlogDay Turner: in each locality, focus on record priority based on richness, availability, access. E.g., US state vital records 2:09 PM Oct 21st via web

#FSBlogDay Turner: in each locality, focus on record priority based on richness, availability, access. E.g., US state vital records 2:09 PM Oct 21st

#FSBlogDay Turner: plan publications with 3-5 year view, 12 month rolling plan to focus on specific collections. Plan accounts for resources etc 2:10 PM Oct 21st via web

#FSBlogDay Tom McGill: Affiliate strategy due to volume of records and digital rights to records. Can publish index and links to records 2:16 PM Oct 21st

#FSBlogDay McGill: solutions: use volunteers, build communities, partner with affiliates, might charge for images 2:17 PM Oct 21st

#FSBlogDay McGill: agreements vary: prefer images and indexes free of charge for everyone; next is indexes free for all, but images for ... 2:18 PM Oct 21st

#FSBlogDay McGill: ... FS members, charge for others; another is limited index free, rich index and images for FS members, etc. 2:19 PM Oct 21st

#FSBlogDay McGill: current affiliates: Find My Past (UK); Ancestry.com (US Census); Footnote (US Military records, 1860 census); two more 2:20 PM Oct 21st

#FSBlogDay Valentine: FS has largest collection of free images, and free name indexes, with new collections every week. 2:21 PM Oct 21st

#FSBlogDay Many collections that were on CD Products are online on Beta.FamilySearch.org 2:23 PM Oct 21st

#FSBlogDay FS Members are members of LDS church, FHC volunteers, some FSIndexers, and use at FHL and FHCs 2:25 PM Oct 21st

There was a lot of content presented here, and a scribe can capture only so much without having a perfect recall (not me!), so I will embellish my notes with information from the handout.

The important points I saw in this presentation were:

1.  The FamilySearch Publication Strategy is to bring more records, faster, to more people, publishing broadly and quickly, and enhance the collections with volunteer indexing over time.  They are still recruiting volunteers to add indexes.

2.  The three publication tactics are to use volunteer name indexing, publishing browseable images, and to use affiliate partnerships.

3.  A triangle with four levels was shown for publishing - image publication at the bottom, light indexing (way-pointing) above that), heavy indexing next (volunteer indexing), and family linking at the top. The browseable image collections will use way-pointing - breaking the collection up into usable segments, by locality, by years, or by first-letter indexing (i.e., A, B, C, etc. in an alphabetical collection). 

4.  The Collection Strategy is to collect and publish records from all cultures and in all localities.  However, there is a list of locality priorities, and collection priorities within those localities.  The list of 16 countries, with the collection priorities (I don't know why there weren't topic categories for all of them), were:
  • United States (Vitals, Census, Probate)
  • United Kingdom
  • Brazil (Catholic Parish and Civil Registration)
  • Germany
  • Mexico
  • Philippines
  • Canada (Census, Vitals, Immigration)
  • Netherlands
  • France
  • Italy (Civil Registration and Catholic parish)
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Spain
  • Norway
  • Australia (Civil Registration, Church, Probate)
  • Argentina (Census, Catholic parish)
  • Other
5.  The Publication Strategy includes a 3 to 5 year outlook at a broad collection level.  Specific projects are put on a 12-month rolling plan.  The planning accounts for market opportunities, record custodian issues and the available volunteer workforce.

6.  The Affiliate Strategy has the goal of obtaining economical and timely access to bring as many genealogically significant records as possible to the most people by working with commercial publishers and record custodians. 

7.  Agreements with record custodians involves constraints - some permit freely available indexing and images for all, others permit free indexing for all but online images available to FamilySearch members only or at the custodian's site (behind a subscription wall), others permit free limited indexing for all and better indexing and images for FamilySearch members and at the custodian's site. 

8.  There is debate about who is a "FamilySearch member."  It definitely is LDS members, but is it also non-LDS FHC volunteers, patrons at Family History Centers, and heavy volunteer indexers?  The affiliate agreements need to better define this.

9.  The current large affiliates are Find My Past (for British records); Ancestry.com (for US Census collections); Footnote.com (US Military records, 1860 US Census); Belgium National Archives (National Civil Registration, Church Records) and S&N Genealogy (British Non-Conformist Church Records, and more).

10. The status of the FamilySearch products currently available on CDROMs, mainly at Family History Centers.  The status is:
  • Canada 1881 Census - indexed data on FamilySearch Beta, future image links for FS members
  • England, Scotland, Channel Islands, Isle of Man 1881 Census - indexed data soon on FamilySearch Beta, future image links for FS members, Scotland may not be included
  • England 1851 Census - indexed data on FamilySearch Beta, future image links for FS members
  • Freedman's Bank Records - indexes and images on FamilySearch Beta
  • Korean and Vietnam Casualty Files - in future on FamilySearch Beta
  • Mormon Immigration Index - data on BYU Family History Center website, possibly on FamilySearch Beta site in future
  • Scottish Church Records - needs permission to publish on FamilySearch Beta
  • United States 1880 Census - indexed data on FamilySearch Beta, future image links for FS members
  • Vital Records Index (British Isles, Western Europe, Scandinavia, Mexico, North America) - indexed data on FamilySearch Beta, but some restricted by privacy cutoff dates or by contract
  • Vital Records Indexes(Australia) - future indexes on FamilySearch Beta.
12.  FamilySearch Beta has the largest FREE collection of indexes and images available in the genealogy universe, and is adding millions of images on a regular basis.

I had several questions before the meeting from readers about this subject, and I got answers for some of them.  I need to consult with FamilySearch people to answer several others, and will publish the responses in a later post.

Disclosure: I am not an employee, contractor or affiliate of FamilySearch. FamilySearch paid my way to this Bloggers Day in Salt Lake City, including airfare, hotel, some meals and incidental expenses. I am trying to be as objective as possible. I really appreciate FamilySearch's efforts to inform the genealogy community about their products and capabilities.

1 comment:

Bill Buchanan said...

Thank you Randy for a very informative posting! This is a real help to those of us who couldn't be there.

Bill Buchanan