Friday, March 16, 2007

Family History Technology Workshop '07

Yesterday I attended the 2007 Family History Technology Workshop hosted at BYU. Joe Martel from our team gave a presentation about FamilySearch Labs and the Pedigree Viewer. Joe did a great job and the presentation was well received.

We also had a table where we gave demos of the Pedigree Viewer and the Life Browser (not yet linked to the labs site but coming very soon). I thought the responses to the demos and the FamilySearch Labs concept were interesting. People were very fond of the applications but were amazed (and pleased) at the level of openness on the labs site. One gentleman that stopped to talk commented how for years the Church would go dark and then just release something. He felt the labs concept a strong and refreshing break from this approach.

Several developers asked about the possibility of getting their hands on the code for the Pedigree Viewer. We're definitely open to that. We just need to work out the logistics.

There were a couple of really strong highlights for me this year. If you missed the workshop, you'll want to check these out when the presentations become available.
  • Gordon Clarke's presentation at lunch about the FamilySearch Affiliates program, APIs, and building a community of developers. If you're a developer the content of this presentation will be refreshing news.
  • The Millenium CD. A group of researchers at BYU have invented a CD that will store for a thousand years without the data turning to mush. They believe that within a few years these disks will be the same cost as regular CDs/DVDs. We may finally have a digital counterpart to paper for preservation.
  • John Finlay, Neumont U., and phpGEDView (PGV). This was a great presentation about their efforts to add a collaborative research assistant to PGV. Very good work. I really, really like their approach. Their UI leaves much to be desired but their approach is very solid.


Anonymous said...

I don't know if this appropraite for a BLOG or not. But here it goes. I stumbled across your name doing a genealogy search. Would you happen to have any genealogy linked with an Asa Lawyer born around 1790 in New Jersey?

Dan Lawyer said...

I don't have any information in my database. Currently my Lawyer research goes back to Jacob Lawyer in Frederick County Virginia. Born sometime about 1757, died in Fayette Ohio about 1821. Contact me via e-mail if you'd like to discuss further: lawyerdc at