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Newsletter: September 2010 Twitter Facebook Print E-mail
Friday, 01 October 2010

Great Opportunities to Serve

For those who would love to help with various Church projects but don't feel that they have enough technical skills to help on some of the projects on the LDSTech website, the Church has started a beta program called Simply Serving and invites you to get involved. You can get involved by visiting On this site, you can volunteer on projects that deal with Church publications, multimedia, and translations. Many of the projects on this site can be done easily with minimal time, perfect for those who want to help but can't find large chunks of time in their busy lives.

Call for Papers

The FamilySearch department is launching a new conference called RootsTech. This conference will be held on February 10-12, 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The focus of the conference is to bring technology users and technology creators together to learn and collaborate and todefine the future of genealogy. You can read more about this conference by visiting the RootsTech conference web site.

We need your help to ensure that we have high-quality, cutting-edge presentations at the upcoming RootsTech Conference on 11-13 February 2011. If you have an interesting topic that you feel may benefit those attending the conference, we would like you to respond to the call for papers. Also, feel free to extend this invitation to any of your friends or contacts who might be interested in making a presentation.

Possible topics include:

Technology Users Technology Creators
  • Applying social networking techniques and technologies to collaborate as families and societies
  • Cameras, scanners, and preservation devices
  • GPS and geo-mapping
  • Leveraging records and media digitization and preservation
  • Online publishing and Web site development
  • Mobile devices
  • Data storage and backup strategies
  • Use of desktop and Web applications to assist in organizing research strategies
  • Mobile and desktop applications
  • Web sites and social networking
  • Trees, media, and record hosting
  • GPS and mapping applications
  • Handwriting recognition and automated transcription
  • Using cloud computing to deploy highly reliable, scalable systems
  • Search engines and finding tools
  • Using standards and authorities to enhance applications and search techniques
  • Tricks and travails in embedding external components
  • Standards, authorities, and other APIs

General Submission Guidelines

Submissions should include clear and understandable materials for each course. Special consideration will be given to proposals that provide a hands-on or interactive experience, with presenters giving step-by-step approaches to using technology, software, hardware, algorithms, APIs, plug-ins, extensions, and similar topics. Clickers will be available for limited sessions to help class members participate in real time. Provide two copies of your submission, one in Microsoft Word (any version), the second as an Adobe Acrobat PDF.

  1. Minimum margins of ¾" on the top, bottom, left, and right of each page.
  2. Standard 12-point font, Times New Roman, single-spaced.
  3. If additional space is required, place conference materials online and provide a URL in the submitted materials. Materials may also be added free of charge to the FamilySearch Research Wiki at

In addition to your full name, e-mail address, mailing address, telephone number(s), and fax number (if any), proposals should include:

  1. Lecture title.
  2. Brief lecture description for the advertising brochure and our Web page (50 words maximum).
  3. Brief biographical sketch for the syllabus (50 words maximum).
  4. Full biography and photograph (100 words maximum). Please submit photos in portrait orientation (not landscape) at a resolution of 300 dpi and as a JPG or PNG file. These may be used on the Web site and in other published conference materials.
  5. A short description of how your presentation will apply to technology, family history, and software development for family history and genealogy.
  6. Audience technology skill level (beginner, intermediate, or advanced).
  7. Type of session (see page 1 above) and media that will be used (e.g., PowerPoint, hands-on interaction, interactive discussions, or Internet backed up with screenshots in case of Internet failure).
  8. Requests for audiovisual or computer equipment. Please indicate your software, presentation, and technology requirements (projector and screen, PA system, clickers, computer lab, etc.) for a successful learning session. An LCD projector and laptop are provided in each class.
  9. Your availability on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. (Unless specified, lectures may be assigned to any day.)
  10. A list of recent presentations and where given.

Speakers participating in the RootsTech Conference will receive (1) a complimentary registration and (2) a syllabus. There is no monetary compensation for presenters at this conference. Out-of-state speakers selected to present four or more lectures will also receive hotel accommodations. RootsTech will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center, less than a block away from the Family History Library. Conference rate accommodations have been arranged with the Radisson Hotel and the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel.

Please e-mail proposals to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it in MS Word and PDF format no later than September 30, 2010. Submission questions may be directed to Anne Roach by phone at 1-801-240-0545. Speakers will be notified of proposal acceptance by October 15, 2010.

We look forward to reviewing your submission and are grateful for your help in this effort.

From the Archives

From Manual to Paperless Processes?
by Adam Burden

The concept and advantages of a paperless office were first introduced in 1975, and since that time, the quest to achieve the pure paperless workplace has been ongoing. Despite advances in technology, many of our business processes still include passing paper from person to person.

Tasks such as purchase requests, hiring provisioning, and order tracking are some examples of paper forms that historically require manual handling. These forms that are passed from person to person risk being misplaced, delayed in the depths of a cluttered desk, or even destroyed accidentally. All too often, these are single-copy instances that are not backed up electronically or stored in a central location where it is easily retrievable. There are many theories as to why we haven’t made the change to be paperless, such as the concept of affordances; it appears that paper will be around for awhile longer.

Read full article

Community Spotlight

This month we spotlight Eldon Lewis. Eldon has been a key contributor working on the LDS Tools application running on the WebOS (Palm Pre and Palm Pixi) environments.

LDSTech: Please briefly describe a bit about yourself and your family.

Eldon: I am married with six children, two boys and four girls. The oldest is 19 and the youngest is four. They are all great.

LDSTech: What is your technical expertise?

Eldon: I know a number of programming languages including, but not limited to, C++, Borland Pascal, C#, JavaScript, Java, perl, Assembly and most recently PHP.

LDSTech: What is your educational background?

Eldon: I went to school to become a court reporter and worked in that field for 12 years. While working as a court reporter I read a number of books on programming and enoyed it very much. I wrote a couple of programs to help me in my employment. I was talking to a ward member and indicated to him that I would rather work as a programmer than as a court reporter but didn't have any work experience to enable me to make the change. He indicated that they were hiring at his work and that I should fill out an application. I did so, listing the books I had read. I did it just for kicks and was laughing while doing it, indicating to my wife that they would get a good laugh out of this. To my surprise they actually called me. They indicated they were looking for a senior developer but would keep my resume on file. My wife said maybe it's not as bad as you think and started faxing my resume out to everyone in the paper. I looked at some of the job descriptions and indicated to her that I was not qualified for a number of the jobs she had faxed my resume to. She said "Then they won't hire you, will they?" I couldn't argue with that and eventually I was hired by a company, which got my foot in the door. I have continued to read various books and to learn what I have needed to accomplish the development needs I have been faced with. We really never stop learning.

LDSTech: How do you feel about volunteering on a Church development project?

Eldon: I am happy to do so. I have used other tools in my various callings and have written programs to help me in fulfilling those callings. If others can benefit from work that I have done then this is just all the better.

LDSTech: What is the most challenging aspect of doing volunteer development work for the Church?

Eldon: Probably the most challenging issue is being able to find the time to do it with an already busy schedule and other tasks that need to be done or that I would like to do.

LDSTech: What could the Church do to help the community members contribute more easily to Church projects?

Eldon: I don't have anything to contribute in this area. I feel they are doing a great job of providing opportunities to contribute. It has been very easy for me to become involved and I have enjoyed very much working with others
to provide tools that will help enable the Lord's work to progress.

LDSTech: Who or what has been an inspiration to you in your work?

Eldon: I used Ward Tools when I served as a counselor in the Bishopric. I considered it invaluable in fulfilling that calling. To be able to see at a glance positions held by ward members and to be able to look up phone numbers
and addresses was a great thing. Also, being able to define custom reports where I could see who the young men/young women in the ward were and when they would be moving to the next group and when others would be coming in was a great thing. When I was released from the bishopric I really missed, and still do miss, having access to this information. As the current 1st counselor in the YM presidency and Varsity Coach it would still be helpful to have a list of young men who are in the quorum and those who will be joining. If I can help to make this possible then that would be great.



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