Two future features I would love to see

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huffkw
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Postby huffkw » Thu Jan 24, 2008 2:50 pm

What you have described sounds good, as far as it goes. For a certain group of people, mostly within the Church, it should work quite well. I could be wrong, of course, but your scenario seems to assume that the (soon-to-be-non-duplicated) base of names in the NFS will be the base upon which all others will build. What if someone who is not linked historically to current Church members wants to jump in and use the system, perhaps someone among the maybe 4 million genealogists outside the Church? How would they synch up with others in the cooperative fashion you have described, without some common base to start from? Would they need to wait until some Church-member-researcher happens to add a name that provides a link for the outsider into the existing database, so they will have a logical place to add their data? Will they even have the necessary logon permissions to be able to add all the data they have collected, whether it is in their direct ancestral lines or not? If they just dump new, unconnected data into the NFS system, will that not set off some “potential duplicate” alarms, figuratively or actually? Will it bring up worries about huge manual efforts needed to reconcile and eliminate duplicates that may have been added?

That is why I am thinking of a more generic method to help more people cooperate, often independent of the current NFS database contents. To begin with, in either case, NFS or my idea, people would be putting in their research work as it is. But in the new method I suggest, at the very point that the work goes in, in most cases, the best-researched and best-lineage-linked version of data about any particular person can be picked out mostly automatically from among what is available at that point. (Or there might be a monthly run to perform this “best data” selection process). After that, there would usually be no need to reconcile any other existing duplicates. The unused ones could just slide into obscurity, as the accepted version grows in completeness and quality through the kind of joint improvement you suggest. Strangely, to minimize the confusion and wasted effort from duplicates, the system needs to be highly tolerant of duplication, accepting it as normal and not disruptive or wasteful, because there is an easy way to pick out the best and leave the rest.

As it is, I believe there is an assumption within the NFS that all duplicates need to eventually be reconciled. Its goal is to be very intolerant of duplicates. But I believe that is mostly because we already have this relatively high-value ordinance data associated with essentially all of them. In the more generic case I am concerned with, the preeminent goal would be to help everybody find the best data anyone has entered and run with it, improving it in a cooperative way, and largely ignore the many other less complete versions that may be floating around in there. A small part of the selected and improved data may eventually have temple work associated with it, but that is not the main concern to begin with. Most outsiders will not share our interest in that aspect of genealogical research.

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Postby rmrichesjr » Thu Jan 24, 2008 3:14 pm

You seem to have a great many concerns about nFS that I believe are likely due to lack of having done much with it in actual use. I was only in the early 2007 beta test, but many of your questions would be answered by a couple of hours using the system. For example, obviously once nFS is open to non-LDS reserarchers, they will have logins to be able to enter their info. They can upload their info without having to wait for an LDS person to do anything. NFS automatically matches up and merges what it can. It relies on human judgment where it is needed.

It appears to me you perceive many nFS shortcomings, many due to not having used it. It appears to me this conversation is not reducing but is increasing your level of concern. I would propose we wait to continue the discussion until you have used nFS so that we will have a basis on which to discuss your ideas.

In the mean time, if you want to develop a system that works the way you want it to work, go ahead.

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huffkw
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Postby huffkw » Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:05 pm

Sorry I have managed to cross the line to become irritating. I appreciate your willingness to struggle with me this far. I did spend that 1.5 hour BYU demo time and then did some work at home to try to get my daughter linked up in the database with her husband, but that was not in my permission set, it appears. Those rigid privacy concerns could be quite a constraint on non-members’ use of the system, I assume. It would be strange to have members treated strictly, and non-members given much looser rules.

I guess I will just have to wait until non-member access comes out. Not much more I can learn until then. I brought it up now in hopes that all options might be considered before that launch. I don’t have $tens of millions to sink into new systems or I would give it a try. Having a design is not much good without a team to make it happen.

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garysturn
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Indexing and Global name identifiers

Postby garysturn » Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:16 pm

huffkw wrote:Two future features I would love to see: user-selected microfilm indexing, and a unique global name identifier for all historical individuals (using a lesson from Google)
.


I agree that being able to select your own microfilms to index would be great, it does create some problems however. Permissions are needed for the indexing to take place and until those agreements are worked out indexing can not occur. Trying to have everyone pick and choose which films they would like to index would make a huge mess for obtaining the permission agreements. The current system does offer some flexability in choosing which project you wish to work on of those projects which are in process.

I think most of your concerns about the Global name identifier are incorportated in newFamilySearch. Each person is given a unique ID number and when duplicates are combined into folders the Folder is given a unique ID number for the grouping of data for that individual. newFamilySearch has plans to allow original source documents to be added to the folders as well as histories and photos. There is a lot of information about newFamilySearch available and doing some research will help you to see that a lot of what you are proposing is already being implemented into new FamilySearch and it is already available in multiple languages with plans for most of the worlds languages. See some of these sites for more info.

FamilySearchLabs newFamilyHistory FamilySearchIndexing
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hmatlock-p40
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Postby hmatlock-p40 » Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:10 pm

Regarding unique identifiers for people, you may be interested in the Okkam project. They are interested in creating identifiers for all sorts of semantic entities, not just people.

From their website:

The overall goal of the OKKAM initiative at the University of Trento is to enable the Web of Entities, a global digital space for publishing and managing information about entities, where every entity is uniquely identified, and links between entities can be explicitly specified and exploited in a variety of scenarios. Compared to the WWW, the main differences are that the domain of entities is extended beyond the realm of digital resources to include objects in other realms like products, organizations, associations, countries, events, publications, hotels or people; and that links between entities are extended beyond hyperlinks to include virtually any type of relation.
http://www.okkam.org/

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huffkw
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Historical connections

Postby huffkw » Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:32 pm

Somebody is really thinking big -- in Italy, it seems, although the OKKAM site would not come up for me.
I think it would be easy to interface the idea I have with theirs. It could be very valuable (and easy) to link people to things and events such as wagon trains, Atlantic crossings on ships, early business companies, etc. I have expected to do that sort of thing anyway, using those kinds of familiar historical connections.


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