Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday's Tip - Finding FamilySearch's New or Updated Record Collections

This week's Tuesday's Tip is to:  Quickly Determine the New or Updated FamilySearch Record Collections.  

How do you keep track of the new or updated record collections added by FamilySearch.org almost every day.  They are adding 20 to 50 new record collections every month.

There are two ways to do this:

1)  Start on the FamilySearch.org Home Page (https://familysearch.org):

Click on either of the "Search" buttons (circled in red above).  That opens the "Records" tab with search fields that you can search collections with:

However, remember that only indexed collections are searched; browse-only collections are not indexed.  If you are using only this search screen, then you are missing many useful record collections.

You can see a list of all of the Record Collections available on Family Search by clicking on the "Browse All Published Collections" link circled in red on the screen above (you may have to scroll down to see it).

When you click that link, then the list of all published Record Collections appears:

The list above is in alphabetical order, so Alabama is always on top of the list (at least until they get a collection form Afghanistan).

If you click on the "Last Updated" link, circled in red on the screen above, you can see the published Record Collections ordered by the date of the last update:

It took four screens, some scrolling and four clicks to get to this point.  I am quite sure that many researchers NEVER find this page, which is the most useful of the FamilySearch pages.

From this page, a user can search for record collections for a particular country, state or county.  I'll deal with that next week.

2)  The second method of finding the list of new or updated record collections is easier, by far, than Method 1.  It is to save this URL in your browser Bookmarks or Favorites list, or on your Bookmarks bar in Chrome:


That takes you to the third screen above, and you need only one more click (on the "Last Updated" link) to get to the list of collections ordered by the date updated.

I use this Method 2, and recommend it to all users.  I start my searches from the list of record collections (third screen above) rather than the search screen (second screen above).

3)  I fear that many users are not taking full advantage of the FamilySearch browsable record collections because it is too complicated to find.

I recommend that FamilySearch modify their starting screen to add a link directly to the list of record collections.  As it is, the list of record collections is fairly well hidden from users now.  It shouldn't be.

I also recommend that FamilySearch make the page ordered by date updated a separate URL so that when I go Back-Back-Back to use another database, I get to the Last Updated page rather than the useless Alphabetical page.  Or make the Last Updated page the page first seen by the user.  The Alphabetical page is pretty useless now, in my opinion.

Then there is the issue of determining what is New or only Updated.  A collection that has been added to the collection list could have an indicator that indicates it is newly added in, say, the last month.  An update to a previously added collection should have a different indicator.  Currently, the list has an asterisk for a collection that is either new or updated.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/09/tuesdays-tip-finding-familysearchs-new.html

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

T said...

Since familysearch is laying off I doubt they will be taking care of old business.