Friday, April 4, 2008

My Thoughts on New Family Search part 2--if I were in charge.

I see only one major flaw that needs to be fixed and that is the "source centricity." Without a major focus, or even minor links to the sources that all this data is being based on, the new website merely allows people to fight over what they *think* is true. And interest in the accomplishment of temple work for LDS genealogists tends to make many (but of course not all) quick and sloppy researchers. If there was a prominence of sources, the person with the source would win--and then the data would be right. Or more right anyway. This of course has to be linked first to images (of documents or photos), then to transcribed data.

I understand the issues with sources and why they haven't addressed them. First, if they allow web links--which they would have to -- my links to my Carpenter information are only good for as long as I pay the bill on my Carpenter website. With the internet such a moving target, New FamilySearch would be useless and full of dead links in 10 years or much less. To give more stability, the church could host images and data, but they don't want to invest in that kind of infrastructure. So now I come to the point -- what I want to see done. (I wish they would just put me in charge (grin).)

The church is already investing huge amounts of resources digitizing the records they have, such as in Family Search Indexing. A faster way to accumulate huge amounts of data would be to bite the bullet and allow people around the world to upload their own images and data. If I could send, or mirror, my family documents on their site, I would be more than happy, even eager, to index my own family's documents. Because I have a vested interest in those particular documents I want to index them--much more than the Ohio birth records that they send me in FSIndexing. And for the most part, I would have ownership, thus theoretically eliminating the copyright issues they are running into with the indexing project. I know it is hard for the church to want to jump into that, but they certainly have the resources, and in the end that is what needs to be done. IMHO of course.

Now, if the name just didn't sound like "New Coke." I have full confidence that in these issues, like the source centricity issue, those in charge are fully aware. It will come. This will be a wonderful database for my children.

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