RootsTech 2014

Mocavo

Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

RootsTech 2012 Last Day Continued

Continuing with panel directed by Keynote Speaker Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry.com. Ancestry.com has 300 engineers and is bringing on more. One challenge is finding additional engineers to work at Ancestry.com. It is important that the engineers can relate to the advantages of working with a people related project.

What are they doing to keep those new to family history engaged in genealogy? Make existing content more accessible and incorporating more content. Example of searching a city directory and being able to search a digitized record from a particular directory for a particular name. Semantic Extraction is taking the meaning out of the printed text. Semi-structured content such as a directory will be analyzed to extract significant information. (This is one you need to see to understand and believe). They are also working on record linking to provide the hints for researchers. There are billions of records out there waiting to be discovered. Showed a real-time index to a directory. Within a few seconds a particular name can be found. They have already indexed hundreds of thousands of records.

U.S. Census records have been fairly difficult to use in the past, primarily for newer users. Ancestry.com has introduced highlighting, although simple makes using the records much easier as you go across the Census page. Especially with the names of the individuals on the left-hand side of the screen.

Historical images are difficult to work with. Association metadata with the individual cells in a record to add back data to each record in a graphic way. Trying to make the technology more transparent to the user. But they need feedback from the users to help them realize what is a good experience.

Predictions
  • Handwriting recognition
  • Discover common ancestors through DNA
  • Pick out the right ancestor with DNA
  • Reliability of the platform

Technology problems needing solutions
  • Handwriting recognition
  • Building the computational background to do the DNA testing
  • Making the website more transparent
  • Getting the technology in place to allow genealogists to do their work
Coolest developments
  • 1000 Memories
  • DropBox
  • Getting science out of the way of doing the work
  • NARA with the U.S. Census
Loves competition to give energy to making improvements. 

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