new FamilySearch Beta2 Complete

Discussions around Genealogy technology.
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greenwoodkl
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Postby greenwoodkl » Thu Apr 19, 2007 10:51 pm

In reading these posts another idea came to mind... It would be nice to have a notification feature of individuals in one's personal tree that have potential duplicates to be viewed and potentially merged.

KathrynGZ
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Improving New FamilySearch

Postby KathrynGZ » Fri Apr 20, 2007 8:24 am

Garysturn wrote:The shortfalls being mentioning are not shortfalls of newFamilySearch. The amount of information required to preform an ordinance is upheld by the newFamilySearch software, if someone has a problem with the amount of information required to preform an ordinance they need to discuss that with those who make those rules. The programmers and the people at the Church Family History Department do not make the rules. The ability to by-pass the steps and clear a duplicate name is not the problem of the software either, that is a human decision, all decisions can not be given to the software, newFamilySearch is a tool and if used correctly supplies the correct result. The software does a great job in what it was designed to do. Yes, there is always room for improvement and I am sure that improvements will continue to be made. I think the people at the Family History Department are on the right track, and this system is a great improvement over the current system.


What a great discussion! I'd like to respond to several comments.

First, Gary, I absolutely agree they're on the right track and NFS is a fantastic improvement. I don't want anything I say to be construed as devaluing the wonderful work that has been done. You're also right that human factors are involved, and if good data is entered in NFS, it will supply the correct result.

But let me explain why I think the things we're discussing are shortfalls of the new system. I see this often in my work: A problem is perceived (in this case, duplicates), and a plan is formulated to solve the problem (design the system in such a way that duplicates are “eliminated”—NFS’s term, not mine). However, after the plan is put into effect, there’s a disconnect between the results of the plan and the original problem. Attention may be distracted from the disconnect by other features which are good, but which don't address the original and most important problem.

I'm evaluating NFS not based on my own criteria, but based on one of its major stated purposes: eliminating duplicates. I respectfully stand by my original concern that this aspect was not carefully tested in beta 1 or beta 2. I still feel strongly that serious testing needs to be done in this area—testers need to enter duplicates on purpose and report the results---and the system then improved based on what is learned from these tests.

I also feel that information required for ordinances is valid as part of this technological discussion. Just to make sure I wasn’t too far off base :) I discussed this last night with the director of the Family History Training Center), who said that submission rules have in fact been changed as a result of beta testing. Second, the system’s rules appear more lax than the actual rules, which he summed up as follows: "Make them [names, dates, places] as complete as possible, but less than complete is accepted if you cannot find the information with a serious attempt."

Granted, the system can’t evaluate a “serious attempt.” However, Russell put it well when he said that NFS currently has no "reality check" and he was able to enter "wild" data. While NFS cannot guarantee that data entered is complete and accurate, it can provide strong encouragement by including more “reality checks” and cautions for obviously incomplete data. The place to eliminate duplicates is at entry, as much as possible, rather than downstream.

I really like rmrichesjr's idea of having GEDCOMs put in a holding area until the submitter checks for duplicates. I'm not sure I'd go along with banning all GEDCOM uploads, but I would limit them in size to help reduce the likelihood of mass contributions of questionable research. I'm not being negative, just realistic based on experience. (And I don't think the problem will ever go away, although it may be worse at first as everyone starts using the system.)

The time to make sure NFS meets its stated purpose is now, before it’s rolled out. How well we do our work here quite literally affects the situation of those beyond the veil waiting for ordinances (described by Elder Christofferson as "less than desirable." Not only that, Brigham Young taught that corps of temple workers will work themselves almost to exhaustion during the Millennium (can’t locate the source on that one right now but I will look for it if anyone’s interested). These two things make me feel that we need to do everything we can now to make our time count.

To that end, I hope these thoughts are helpful!

Kathryn

sbarnsley-p40
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TempleReady and NFS

Postby sbarnsley-p40 » Sat Apr 21, 2007 12:07 pm

...The problem with names being sent to the Temple without enough research is not a problem relating to new FamilySearch, that problem has always existed. The only way to cut down on that would be to tighten the requirements on what information is required to clear a name. I don't think it is fair to say that this is a problem related to new FamilySearch...

I agree with this in that the problem is not the program, I guess I hoped that the program would address this important issue. I also agree that the requirements on what information is required to clear a name needs to be tightened up. I had suggested that the source information should be mandatory, so that those who view the information know from whence the information came and can agree or dispute. :p

I was talking to one of our sealers today and he was telling me about a name they had to do yesterday in the Temple:

A.L. Thorton married to C.

Both of the sealers just crinched.They did not want to do it. This is the type of information that needs to be challenged and dealt with in an appropriate way.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Sat Apr 21, 2007 1:35 pm

While the beta did allow you to enter names that had nothing to do with your family, the new site does encourage you to do the work for people in your own tree.

Put in another way, we are typically submitting names that are attached to a pedigree and not detached "just the information needed to do the work".

In this way, while the names submitted might be sketchy, they should be connected to better documented trees. To use your example, if this couple had a child Bill Thorton, Born 1860 in New York, (whose work had previously been done) that would make "A.L. Thorton married to C" much clearer.

As for doing names that are not part of your tree - I'm hoping that the approach the church is doing is monitoring the situation from the other side of the screen and arranging for follow-up action from the member's bishop or temple president if an "abuser" is found. I say this by way of pure speculation without any evidence. But I can say the beta system links the submissions to the members and can hold them accountable, even suspend their abilities much better then the current system can.

One concern I would have if the system forced names to belong to your tree before their work can be done is that someone who would ignore the existing screens to follow procedures, would likewise work around any restrictions the computer places in their path (the computer is not a spiritual authority figure). The result would be purely fictitious trees with real people in them. That would be a much bigger problem then we have now.

JamesAnderson
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Postby JamesAnderson » Sat Apr 21, 2007 2:37 pm

We'll see a few trees like that already from what they have been doing to try to link up families based on information submitted to the present IGI/OI.

Someone told me of a man who got a large amount of information on his ancestors, did the work, and about a year later discovered that the information he had been given was completely bogus.

So what might be done in the case where someone didn't know at the time, it all looked good then, only to find he had done things for nonexistent people, not even real people's names that were not on his family lines anyway? And in the above case, the person had no idea the data was bum until some time after all the work was done.

rmrichesjr
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Postby rmrichesjr » Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:35 pm

JamesAnderson wrote:So what might be done in the case where someone didn't know at the time, it all looked good then, only to find he had done things for nonexistent people, not even real people's names that were not on his family lines anyway?


My guess is the right thing to do would be to dispute the existence of the bogus people with a note sufficient to explain the situation to anyone who might stumble upon the bogus records later on. Depending on the situation, it might be better to leave the disputed records there or for the original patron to apply for ownership of what he had (unwittingly) submitted and delete the bogus stuff. Based on the NFS overviews, the key to that decision would be whether it is likely someone else will get the bogus info and try to use it as if it were true.

licole
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NFS program

Postby licole » Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:44 pm

NFS is outsanding:)
The Guide for NFS needs work:confused:
Didn't get to work on the Last 2 Challes:confused:
Notification of Cut off is sill Lost! Oh well got my Christmass Card from support in Apr:rolleyes:
Ran into under Construction in "Help somone else use NFS"

rzamor1
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Observation and Prediction

Postby rzamor1 » Sun Apr 22, 2007 3:11 pm

For those of us that have been doing genealogy for any length of time, and have very neat and well maintained genealogy databases the process of using "new FamilySearch" (NFS) seems like we are going back to the dark ages. You have so much combining and organzing of your families to do in this system. The system doesn't work as efficently as our personal genealogy software programs do. Some seasoned researcher have concerns over people messing up their records and "stealing" their family history work.

BUT, to those that have never done genealogy (newbies) they will look at this as their way of finally doing genealogy, painlessly and from the convenience of their own homes. I watched my sister-in-law get so excited about genealogy when she sat and combined her family members together. (The key is to instruct them on what is a "good" match.) She could sit for hours just matching and combining her family members, a lengthly and frustrating project for me. Afterwards she felt a great sense of having done something - a feeling of Elijah. She heart was definitely turned to her fathers.

The "newbies" to genealogy will become the saving grace of this system. They will be the ones to share and contact other researchers to do more work on their lines and prevent duplication. I'm afraid I hear comments from more seasoned researchers that they don't intend on contributing all their information to NFS, only those names they want to clear and do temple work for. This will defeat the whole purpose of the system.

We will have to wait for the new generation to take over before this system mets it's full protential. The advancement of newer technology - the FamilySearch desktop project using FamilySearch API will have to be online and working before the more seasoned researcher will be convinced to use NFS. By the time the "newbies" to genealogy realize what real researching means they will be blessed to have the FamilySearch Scanning results online to access.

Just seeing the response by the youth in doing FamilySearch Indexing alone shows us how technology, the youth and those open to new ideas are the hope for the future. (Hopefully we all can fall into one of those categories!):)

Renee

rmrichesjr
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Postby rmrichesjr » Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:06 pm

rzamor1 wrote:For those of us that have been doing genealogy for any length of time, and have very neat and well maintained genealogy databases the process of using "new FamilySearch" (NFS) seems like we are going back to the dark ages. You have so much combining and organzing of your families to do in this system. The system doesn't work as efficently as our personal genealogy software programs do. Some seasoned researcher have concerns over people messing up their records and "stealing" their family history work.


If I have seen correctly, one option in NFS is to show only the user's own contributions rather than showing all available records. Perhaps that might be a solution for those who have their own clean data and don't want to see the other (messy for now) stuff.

JamesAnderson
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Postby JamesAnderson » Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:20 pm

Yes, that could be part of the 'viewing options' one could have available.

But it has its drawbacks, in that if you have a partial record and want to find out if anyone else has other information, or someone submits information you need, then it would not show that information right away and one might miss out on the data needed.

This will be more crucial when the world gets the system, and many more users than we might be thinking of in scaling the system up submit data and other users find the information useful in their research So there has to be a way to 'turn on' viewing the other records or the references to them. This feature might be considered like using freemails like Yahoo Mail or Hotmail. Those two services allow you to 'show full headers', or to only show the to, from, subject, and date lines as well as the body. I keep full headers up so I can properly report spam. But many more don't need that feautre activated right then, but have the option to show full headers if needed.


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