Monday, May 14, 2007

FamilySearch Indexing

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter enthuses over the news that, the website of the Utah Genealogy Society of which Dan Lawyer is PM is putting public archives online. This service is provided through FamilySearch Indexing, which is a sort of clearinghouse for records transcribed by human volunteers.

FamilySearchIndexer is not quite true image-based transcription, however. Its goal is to connect researchers with the digitized images of the original records, which is an altogether different problem from transcription per se. Its volunteers are collaborating to create what is essentially searchable image metadata. This is perfect for supporting surname searches of the database, and is probably better than FromThePage for transcribing corpora of structured documents like census records. However, it is not full transcription -- at least that's what I gather from the instructions for their Freedman's Letters transcription project:
  • It is important that every name on the image be captured whether it appears as the sender, the receiver, in the body, or on the backside image of the letter.
  • This project will contain multiple names per image. However, the data entry area is set with the default amount of three data entry lines per image. You will need to adjust the number of lines to match the number of names found on the image.

I'll be interested to download and play with the indexer -- apparently it's not a web app, but rather a thick Java client that communicates with a central server, much like the WPI Transcription Assistant.

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