Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Inside the Insider

The next review from my list of favorite blogs is one that I have a love-hate relationship with.
The Ancestry Insider blog I have followed from the beginning and enjoy his take on how he sees things as an employee - from the inside of first Ancestry.com and then later FamilySearch.org.
I have had the pleasure of meeting him a few times under his real name and occasionally run into him under his blog pseudonym.  At one time I said hi to him while he was taking a picture at the FamilySearch Center's 'immigration photo op' and yet he chose a picture of just himself to post on his blog (sad, huh!?)  Anyway...
I often attend his presentations at different conferences or events and appreciate his knowledge and enthusiasm about genealogy.  He has some great ideas and I love hearing his point of view on how the genealogy community can improve.
My frustration sometimes comes in his obsession with the precise way things are documented by both individuals and companies.   What I find that most of these 'source-centric' people miss out on, is the fact that beginners get turned off by a large list of requirements that they are "exhorted" to follow.  I think this is the reason that many users historically ended up putting sources into their notes instead of the areas created by software vendors.
I also believe in pushing for FamilySearch and others to improve the sourcing of the data in shared trees, however, it has to also be something that users will use and won't just scare them off.
Believe me, I am all for citing your sources and doing it well!!  However, there is a need to give users tools that start them off on a good foot and prepare them to develop 'proper' citation skills as they develop their research skills and knowledge.
Since I really enjoy getting beginners involved in family history research, I would recommend that they read his blog and get from it the many great ideas that he espouses.  But, at the same time, temper it with the understanding that it may take some time to reach his passion for 'proper' citations.
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced researcher,  join in the conversation on his blog and bring your opinion to the table.