Tuesday, August 20, 2013

FGS Pre-Conference Events

Welcome to Fort Wayne, Genealogists!!! What a great conference so far! I know....the city is just now getting more crowded and the hotel parking lots are swarming as of this evening, but for some of us, the FGS experience got started yesterday upon arrival. Some folks got an early start on their research at the Allen County Public Library, or kicked off the week with some social connections. Despite a late arrival time of yesterday, my FGS experience started today with the annual Librarians' Day. We had a really great crowd that was instructed on budget challenges, crisis intervention, and collaboration strategies. In one session, we were given some breaking news regarding Michigan records: Michigan Death Records from 1926-1952 will be available very soon via Seeking Michigan - including full digitized images for free!
We also listened to Elaine Kuhn from Kenton County Public Library who covered the collaborative work they were initiating locally to find and digitize the many wonderful unique photographs that filled their site: Faces and Places.....trivia: most clicked on picture in their database: Military Order of the Cootie 
After a lovely lunch provided by ProQuest, the rest of our day was filled with a 'behind the scenes tour' of the Allen County Public Library. My group tour guide was Curt Witcher himself, who shared his knowledge and enthusiasm in a most welcoming and encouraging way! We not only wandered through the back stacks hidden from public view, but we also got to see processing areas, the Lincoln vault and the digitization stations for both Family Search and Internet Archive. 
The Internet Archive stations were numerous and filled with volunteers who were busy scanning page after page of content. We were also told that the pages being scanned in front of us would more than likely be online within 24 hours! 
Despite being exhausted by the busy day, dinner was another exciting event: the blogger dinner hosted by Family Search. We were given the late breaking news about a new director for the LDS library in Salt Lake: Diane L. Loosie. I suspect we will hear much more from her throughout the conference.
Family Search also gave us some sneak peeks into their upcoming Discovery Centers that will be seen across the country at various tourist locations - in major cities - stay tuned for more developments. RootsTech was also a major issue as they will be including 600 satellite locations while providing more sessions online via a virtual attendance option. They are anticipating another jump in physical attendance to 8,000-10,000 in 2014!
Well that's about it.....I am writing this while sitting in the hotel, trying to watch Who Do You Think You Are at the same time....welcome to the dimension of ultra multi-tasking!!! Happy conference going! More tomorrow as things officially kick off! Thanks to those who planned a great Librarians' Day and Blogger Dinner!



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