Monday, April 07, 2008

When is official not official? When re: PAF

We’re all just looking through the glass darkly, hoping to make efficient use of our time and resources when it comes to climbing our family trees. We are grateful for the work being done by the Family History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Genealogical Society of Utah and the FamilySearch teams to further the work of identifying ancestors using compiled genealogies and microfilm or scanned images of ancient documents.

Developers of the “newFamilySearch” need feedback from users -- and presenting at regional computerized genealogy conferences is a method for gathering that feedback. We certainly wouldn’t want them to create a genealogy website without our input, now, would we?

Apparently, there a fine-line distinction between an "official press release" (there are none recently on PAF) and statements termed "official" by at least two employees working on the newFamilySearch project. Official press releases are distinctly different from official messages read at genealogy conferences where newFamilySearch developers are seeking a give and take conversation with potential users of the new system.

Regarding my last Saturday Software blog titled “Alternatives to PAF must be found if…”, Ol’ Myrt here appreciates Genealogy Insider’s “The Future of PAF” posted yesterday, quoted in part below:

“At these two conferences Clarke read a statement that he characterized as official and explained he would read it word-for-word so he would not get it wrong. Afterwards Clarke e-mailed the text of the statement to third-party developers, stating that "FamilySearch has updated it[s] 2008 Messaging to include 'The Future of PAF'."

Thank-you, GI, for your comments and explanation of the source of your blog entry about PAF's future. I wrote to Gordon Saturday about this same text, found earlier at in David’s posting titled “Official statement on the future of Personal Ancestral File (PAF)” dated 31 March 2008. Since Gordon read the so-called “Future of PAF” statement twice at BYU in March 2008 (as noted in your blog) and it was reiterated by FamilySearch's Timothy G. Cross during his keynote at the March 2008 Family History Expo in Logan (as noted in my blog), I have to conclude there is confusion about the use of the word "official".

I was told by Gordon Clarke on the phone just now that “official press releases” come through Paul Nauta.

From a functional point of view, anything labeled "official" and reiterated on numerous occasions by FamilySearch “officials” requires attention of genealogists who hope to effectively share data back and forth with newFamilySearch.

Let’s take a step back and be thankful for the ability to interact with newFamilySearch developers.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

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