28 April 2010

BYU Conference on Computerized Family History & Genealogy

I attended BYU's Conference on Computerized Family History & Genealogy Monday and Tuesday this week.

It was really informative and disorienting in a good way. I've been working on New FamilySearch for a long while and not realized fully what kind of a target audience I've been developing for. When I was one of the only 30-somethings in the room, and we were talking about a more-than-a-decade technology generation gap, it finally sunk in that the world was different than I had thought.

The main topics I came away with were:
  • The technology generation gap is NOT ok, and needs to be bridged (by both the younger and the older generations).
  • Among serious genealogists, there is a very real drive to publish, similar to the scientific community's reputation-based drive, but motivated also by a desire to preserve research that would otherwise be obliterated by death or lack of interest on the part of direct descendants.
  • There is also a gaping technological hole in the genealogical community: Lack of Internet-style content-driven collaboration on genealogical research. Even serious genealogists seem to be content with this state of things.
  • The Next Generation (TNG) looks really nice. I want to use it for the Sumsion family tree on sumsion.org/genealogy.
The idea that I can make a difference here is VERY motivating.

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