Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Searching using the new FamilySearch Catalog

FamilySearch is now the the throes of a major upgrade of its digital presence. Sometimes progress comes with a few bumps along the way. Two such bumps are printing issues and catalog issues. Based on feedback I have been receiving from researchers and librarians, you might want to fine tune your FamilySearch explorations for a while until the transition is more complete and more of the unexpected consequences are resolved.

In this post I'll concentrate on the issues experienced in searching the catalog. In order to find items added to the catalog in the last year or two, the best approach is to search the old catalog. If you do you will be invited to "Try the updated site." Apparently, the old catalog is the tool to use if you are looking for books and microfilm that are actually available in the Family History Library. However, the updated site offers a tremendous amount of exciting and recently uploaded digital images. To maximize your search results, you may need to choose your search tool carefully for the interim. 

Below are more detailed comments from FamilySearch staff:

From Steven J. Fox:

 I am the Manager of Cataloging and Digital Browse for FamilySearch. I am also the Product Manager for the Family History Library LIS and the old Family History Library Catalog on the old FamilySearch site.
 The old catalog, which we are beginning to refer to here in FamilySearch as the classic catalog, is updated with new data and corrections every hour. The new catalog  has not been updated since it was brought up a year ago, and the data then was several months old. In addition, there are some features of the classic catalog that are still to be implemented in the new, such as the ability to display locations of items in family history centers.
 I am working with the manager and developers of the new catalog to get an update working, hopefully sometime this summer, and add missing features late in this year.

Here is additional feedback from Robert Kehrer, product manager of the new catalog:
 The catalog search experience on the www.familysearch.org website is only partially complete. We appreciate the many users who have tested the tools currently available and provided feedback. Some patrons may find that the full functionality offered on the old site is essential to their research. For these patrons we have kept the old site available.
 We expect that in coming months we will be fixing many known issues and delivering additional capabilities which will make the new site superior to the old one. Among these anticipated features are:
 • Related places, See Also places, Alternative place names 
 • Historical place notes
 • Jurisdictional levels for a place 
 • Improved printing of catalog titles 
 • Author and subject search results grouped by author and subject
 • Support for searching asian language titles 
 • Proper handling of periodical titles
 • Microfilm ordering integration

1 comment:

  1. Has anyone heard of the latest new familysearch app? It's called Advanced Tree Inspector and is at usfamilytree.com. You can view 9 generations at once for free.