Friday, November 12, 2010

Improved FamilySearch Beta Features - Library Catalog

The FamilySearch Beta site has some new features - you can read about them and see screen shots in Dan Lawyer's blog post More New Features for FamilySearch Beta on the FamilySearch Beta blog

The one I was most interested in was the Library Catalog.  I complained before that it was difficult to go directly to a specific locality and that printing Library Catalog entries from the FamilySearch Beta site had too much white space and took too many sheets of paper. 

FamilySearch has streamlined the searching process to the point that I think it is very efficient.  Here is an example sequence:

From the Library Catalog page, type a state or county in the search field - I chose "Dodge" and saw:

A dropdown list shows entries in the location database - I chose Wisconsin, Dodge:

The list for Dodge County, Wisconsin entries in the Catalog appears listed by category.  I scrolled down and clicked on the "Vital Records" entry, and the list expanded to see the entries in the category:

The Registration of marriages entry looked interesting, so I clicked on that and saw (only top of page shown):

There is a "Print" link at the right top of the page, so I clicked on that and could print the page on my printer or save it to a file.  I saved it to a PDF file, which looks like (two pages, only one shown below):

This is a better use of the white space on the print page.  The second page has information about the record itself and the user can choose to not print the information.

It's interesting to see the evolution of the FamilySearch Beta website over the months.  It's gradual, and it's easy to miss some of the major additions and improvements if you visit the Beta site only occasionally. 

Disclosure:  I am not an LDS church member, or an employee, contractor or affiliate of FamilySearch.  I accepted an expense-paid trip to the FamilySearch Blogger Day in October 2010, but made no commitments to write favorable reviews.  I do appreciate and the services it provides for genealogy researchers.

1 comment:

Connie said...

While I agree this is an improvement over the previous beta version, I really see the Card Catalog as an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" situation. This version is too slow and has extraneous stuff printed on each page that I don't want/need.

I know it is unlikely they will keep the old pre-FS Beta version, but it is truly better in its speed and simplicity.