Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Comparison Chart

Earlier I wrote about the To-do chart, one of our new charts for the New FamilySearch database. The rollout marches on and more and more people are able to use the database. I wish it was coming faster, but hopefully they are getting it right. It looks like rollout will be complete sometime next year with access for people who aren't members of the LDS church as well.

Several years ago we were asked with 6 other companies to become one of the LDS church's early commercial affiliates and to develop products to work with the new database that will eventually replace FamilySearch. We have since become one of the first certified affiliates. As we sat in the development meetings, we tried to come up with ways that Generation Maps could help the user navigate that database. We focused on getting things out and off the screen to be able to see the big picture--something we do best. Some of those ideas developed into the To-do chart, others developed into the Comparison chart.

New FamilySearch is built to encourage collaboration. On each of your ancestors, you are able to see what other people have added about that person. And if someone adds an ancestor that might be the same as yours, you are able to look at that addition and link your people together.

In this new database, every bit of information added is broken up into what is called assertion tags. Tags will be about a date, a place, a note, or anything. And every tag that is added can never be deleted, only disputed. Our comparison chart is the only place you can see every single tag for a person. So, if you have alot of cousins who also do genealogy (like I do,) the information on your ancestors might be plentiful, like the chart to the right. The Comparison chart is 24 inches wide and as long as your information goes.

On the Comparison Chart, we have color-coded each of the tags according to who contributed the information. If your family is like mine, you know that some researchers are more meticulous in their research than others are. This chart helps you follow what each researcher has done. It is good to see everyone side by side according to the information they have contributed. We are hoping this overall view will help you evaluate the information in this new database to see what you can verify and what needs to be cleaned up. There is also a mark on each disputed tag, so you can see what has been asserted, and decide if there are other tags that need to be marked as disputed.

So far, the users who have bought copies of this chart have been really excited to see the overall picture of this database. One lady said she thought she had been the only person working on her Eastern European lines, and was thrilled to find other cousins to collaborate with, and to be able to see exactly what they had done and compare it to her work.

Like with all of our charts, it is *EASY*. Just go to and click on Interpretive Charts for FamilySearch. Choose your chart, then on check out, type in your username and password for New FamilySearch, and the ID number for the person you want the chart to start with. Depending on the amount of information on your lines, download may take a couple of minutes. But then you are done. We figure out the layout, the printing, etc. You just enjoy it when it shows up in the mail.

Along these same lines, one of the other early affiliates, RootsMagic, unveiled their upcoming New FamilySearch capabilities on their blog on Friday. It looks good. The affiliates are going to make it so much easier to use this database. Check it out.

No comments: