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Decompressing from NGS 2010, Salt Lake City


I arrived home yes­ter­day after­noon from the National Genealogical Society’s annual con­fer­ence, held this year in Salt Lake City. I’m still decom­press­ing from a great week of pre­sen­ta­tions, speeches, singing from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and research. I do not this one post will encom­pass all that I have to say about the event, so here’s the first of a cou­ple of posts on the Conference.

This year there were sev­eral items of note:

  • Jay L. Verkler, President of FamilySearch (which includes the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, the over 4,600 Family History Centers in more than 80 coun­tries, and the FamilySearch.org web­site) gave the Wednesday morn­ing keynote address, which included:
    • A pre­sen­ta­tion of “From the Granite Mountain to the Ends of the World,” a video vir­tual tour through the LDS Granite Mountain Records Vault, where the mas­ter copies of the Church’s 2.4 mil­lion micro­film reels are stored.

      I expect this video, enti­tled  will soon be posted to http://wiki.familysearch.org/en/FamilySearch_Presentations_at_NGS_2010 where the other LDS pre­sen­ta­tions from the Conference have been posted. The pre­sen­ta­tion is listed there, but does not have an active link yet.

      Update: The film is up on their web­site. See the entry “Granite Mountain Records Vault: The Video.”

    • An announce­ment that the FamilySearch web­site has posted 300 mil­lion new names in indexed genealog­i­cal records.
    • An announce­ment that dig­i­tiz­ing the Church’s micro­film (once esti­mated to take 178 years) will instead be com­pleted in … 10 years, due to tech­no­log­i­cal improvements.Indexing will take addi­tional time, but the fact that all the imag­ing will be done as soon as 2020 means that these records may be acces­si­ble in unin­dexed dig­i­tal for­mat (folks, the films are not indexed either!), and the index­ing could be done via crowd sourc­ing, as the FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.com, and Footnote.com web­sites are already doing.
  • The NGS Conference included a GenTech sec­tion, where genealog­i­cal soft­ware and web­site com­pa­nies demon­strated their prod­ucts. There was an unmanned booth (though some­times there were peo­ple there!) with the pro­posed Genealogical Data Model (GDM).Here’s one researcher who hopes that the GDM is finally dusted off and used to cre­ate a true stan­dard for the stor­age, main­te­nance, and shar­ing of genealog­i­cal data that will com­ply with the Genealogical Proof Standard and the sourc­ing guide­lines of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills. This would give us a bet­ter way to share and com­pare genealog­i­cal infor­ma­tion as well as to take it cleanly from one prod­uct to another with­out the cur­rent vagaries of GEDCOM.
 
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