Thursday, February 23, 2012's New Interactive Image Viewer announced before RootsTech 2012, in Interactive Image Viewer (Beta),  that they were introducing a new interactive image viewer that helps the researcher understand the information contained in a record.  The blog post notes:

"Record images are the foundation of your family history, and we want to create a rich viewing experience that will bring these historical documents to life. The new Interactive Image Viewer (currently in beta) includes interactive tools to help you view and interpret the information on the record as well as navigation controls that make it easy to focus on the part of the image you’re interested in. The Interactive Image Viewer is a work in progress; we are still adding new features and functionality. We value your suggestions for improving the viewer."

I was away in Salt Lake City when this was announced and so I did not have the opportunity to do a drive-through of it.  I saw it demonstrated at RootsTech courtesy of their helpful staff. recently added the Interactive Image Viewer option to the 1930 United States census.  On the Record summary page, there is a link beneath the thumbnail image that says "View Interactive Image (BETA)."  Here's a record summary for my mother in the 1930 U.S. Census:

I clicked on the link and saw:

In the image above, my mother was highlighted with a yellow background, and other members of the household were highlighted with a green background.  The screen above is dominated by the image itself.  There is only one menu line just above the image.  It has:

*  On the left is a "Back to Record" link to go back to the record summary.
*  In the center is the "State > County > City/town > Enumeration district" notification
*  To the right of the above is the Image number, the number of images in the ED, and "previous page" and "next page" arrows.
*  On the right of the line are the image manipulation links (drop-down menu) and the image zoom in and zoom out links.

In addition, the image can be zoomed in or out with the mousewheel.

When I ran my mouse over the specific column for age in my great-grandmother's line, a small box popped up and said "Georgia K. Auble was 61, which means she was born in about 1869:"

If I moved the image to see the right-most columns, then the list of person's names appeared on the left side of the image:

On the top logo line, there is an orange "Save" button and a green "Actions" button.  I clicked the "Actions" button:

The "Actions" button  that permits the user to:

*  Print
*  Share
*  View highlighting (on/off check - checked on for screens above)
*  View index (on/off check -  doesn't work yet)
*  View source (on/off check - see screen below)
*  Help and tips
*  Settings - doesn't work now)

Here's the screen with the Source information showing:

The source citation for this image says:

" 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002.
Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls"

I'm happy to see the NARA publication number, but the source citation does not have the ED number, the page number, or the roll number for the image.  Perhaps it will be added later (hint hint!).

I love this implementation of the Interactive Image Viewer.  It seems to work extremely well, with a lot of thought given to helping the user understands the contents of each column.  The user does not have to scroll up to see the column titles (which are almost unreadable anyway).  

I noted also that the interactivity does not extend to the state, county, city, or ED number, nor to the street name, dwelling number or family number.  

As far as I can tell, the Interactive Image Viewer is applied only to the 1930 United States Census collection at this time.  I hope that it is extended to many other record collections as time goes on.

Ancestry invites your feedback on this new feature - there is a "Beta" banner at the top left of the image with links to "What's New" and "Send comments."

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Copyright (c) Randall J. Seaver, 2012

1 comment:

Queen Bee said...

Have you used the new viewer to look at old newspapers on Ancestry? I was given the opportunity to use it last Fall for several months before it went "live". While it is very user friendly, I was disappointed to see they have disabled the click and copy function. Now if you want a copy of a news article you have to print it. I liked having the option of saving an image to my computer so it is available for research or to be used in a blog post. I haven't tried the new viewer for the census images. Do you know if allows the click and copy feature?