Friday, May 9, 2014

#NGS2014: Librarian Lessons

The official kickoff of the NGS conference was quite exhilarating this year! Attendees were treated to a lovely talk by Dr. Sandra Treadway of the Library of Virginia. As the State Archivist and Director of the Library, she sees first hand, the challenges faced by researchers, and the staff that serve them. This is one of those libraries that is not only a research facility, but a public library as well. From the administrative standpoint, that makes for a complex approach to serving their patron base. How do you make the collections available to the public, while meeting their changing technological needs, while still managing to protect the archival/rare materials that are under your care? It's certainly not easy, and it's a challenge they have met head on by creating specialized areas for type of use.
Most of you have spent a good amount of research hours in this relatively new facility (ca. 1994). And as beautiful as it is, the administration is eager to change things around to better serve their patrons. According to Dr. Treadway, they are already consulting architects to review options. So far, the report is favorable....they can modify in almost any configuration they desire, fitting in with the budget. The lesson here is multi-faceted. Libraries are ready to adapt their spaces for maximum patron engagement and use. Most all are restricted by budget cuts, but if the economy recovers, be on the look out for new library directions.....directions that serve the diverse patron groups seen everyday! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

NGS Pre-Conference Sessions

The NGS Conference pre-sessions are well worth an extra day or two. As a brief re-cap of the activities I attended on Tuesday, I will highlight some tidbits learned.

This yearly staple for librarians who handle genealogical collections was held in the gorgeous Library of Virginia. Our opening session featured Leslie Anderson from the Alexandria Library as she covered their transcription project: Virginia Slave Births Index, 1853-1862. The project was originally the child of the WPA back in the 1930s. However, the microfilm copies were atrocious and needed to be re-processed. As a labor of love, they re-transcribed the records and have published them in a book available
We were also treated to sessions about re-thinking the contents of your genealogy vertical files, Family Search Wiki, Proquest products, and an exploration of the Civile War Legacy Project based out of the Library of Virginia. This project is focused on digitizing personal Civil War collections throughout the state. If you live in Virginia, be on the look out for a scanning date in your area! They are bringing their digitization equipment to a town near you!
Blogger Dinner Presented by Family Search:
At the NGS blogger dinner last night, Family Search let us in on a few new developments.

They have added more content to their Civil War records to their collections.

Their indexing software is moving to a browser based model, which means you will no longer have to download software in order to participate in indexing projects. 
Since mobile applications are evermore important to users, FS is developing more in-depth mobile apps for both platforms. If you would like to test their new mobile apps, just send your name and operating system (iOS or Android) to:

The obituary indexing project is their biggest project at present. On July 21-22, they will be hosting another crowd sourcing indexing event to get 20,000 users indexing during a 24 hour period. Be on the look out for announcements about that upcoming fun.

The obituary indexing project is extremely large....when finished, they will be four times as large as the 1940 census! 

That's it for the moment...more to come!
Evernote helps you remember everything and get organized effortlessly. Download Evernote.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

NGS 2014: Bag Switch-aroo

For those still packing for Richmond, I have a confession to make. So, ya'll with with your bag advice...telling us to save the NGS bag for later and bring along a different bag to use during the win...for NGS I am a convert. I had forgotten about the NGS bags. They are not close to the body, but rather open, kind of loose, and not easily slung on the arm. They are fantastic for hauling all of your loot home gathered over the course of the conference and I use them a lot after returning, but on a daily basis, they are not travel friendly.
For any other major conference, I would still use the conference bag. As you can see above, the FGS and the RootsTech bags are designed to hug the body and are much smaller. I know some have been worried about accidentally leaving their bag behind in the mass confusion of duplicate bags. With the NGS bags, I agree. They are not on you physically at all times, so more chance to leave them behind. So, my bag of choice for this conference will be the RootsTech bag given to speakers this past February. It is a cross body style that is large enough to handle the exhibit hall goodies, and yet, stays with me at all times. I admit defeat for the NGS conference, but I'm still not convinced with the other conferences. I am so protective of my conference swag that it rarely leaves my sight, so I'm OK using the body hugging bags. 
Conference packing = such serious dilemmas! JK....See y'all in a couple of days!

Friday, May 2, 2014

NGS 2014: 'A' Begins with Adkinson!

As we all pack the bags, gather the chargers, plan our schedules, and play with the App, I was reminded of a Not-To-Miss session for those with Kentucky roots. When downloading the updates and exploring the conference app, I clicked on "Speakers", and right there at the top of the 'A' section was Kandie Adkinson. The title of her session on Friday at 11AM is (Room GRCC B15B): Kentucky Land Patents: Mind Bogglers or Treasures?  For me, I usually lean toward "Bogglers", even though I know they are "Treasures". Over the past couple of years, I have heard Kandie speak about the Kentucky Land Patent system, and without her years of knowledge, none of us would be able to grasp the complex beauty of these records. She has a wonderful way of incorporating the historical context to help you understand the purpose and process behind these eye-crossers.

If you have ANY Kentucky pioneers or early settlers, you simply cannot miss this session. With over 35 years of experience working for the Kentucky Secretary of State Land Office, this woman is an absolute treasure unto herself! Oh, and after you've attended, buy the CD! Seriously, this will be an hour of unadulterated wisdom that you will want to refer to over and over again. Besides the legalities and access issues surrounding the Patent system, she will also be covering the digitization of these records. Many are available for free on their website, but she will give you an update on where they are in the process, and how to read and use them in your research. Don't get cocky just because you found your ancestor in the land records on their site - the true test is understanding what you found!

This is your opportunity to get some real meat in the genealogy education department - don't miss it!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates