RootsTech 2020 Day 1: My Experience

I began the week on Monday with a morning at the BYU Family History Technology Workshop. This event gathered industry specialists, most being from the Family Search organization. There were tech company owners, app developers, and many students in attendance.

I was met by Dr. Mark Clement and James Tanner, the organizers of the event. I also met John Jensen, an amazing engineer who is moving the work forward utilizing automated contact extraction.

The workshop was held in the Hinkley Alumni Building on the BYU Provo campus. The main focus of this workshop is to push innovation in technology for family history work. Did you know that this workshop was the original RootsTech? They now hold these events separately because RootsTech now caters to research education, while the Workshop remains focused to the technology.

The big new tech for this year was “Automated Indexing”. There is still a big gap between the 4 billion records that FamilySearch owns and those that have images that are searchable or indexed. The goal has been to create an indexing program that will allow machine learning to recognize and read handwriting.

FamilySearch is working on what they call the “Infinity Project”. This projects main directive is to give indexers projects to do that they care about. Give them records to index that will help grow their specific line. Give them names that they recognize and relate to. Allow the indexer to capture all the information in the document , not just the name and date of the event. The program that was introduced is simple and easy, it can be done on the desktop or a smart device.

Go to this link and try it!

indexing.fhtl.byu.edu

Once you do, come back here and tell us about your experience!

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