Talk:Local Histories of the United States on BYU Digital Archives, Nebraska - Northwest

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Someone reported a problem with the page, and with some of the links on the page. See the details about the problem at Talk:Technical Meeting Agenda 4 May 2010. We might want to consider moving the discussion to this page instead of the meeting agenda talk page. --Fran 17:06, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

I moved the discussion here, deleting it from Talk:Technical Meeting Agenda 4 May 2010. RitcheyMT 19:25, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

The following bug report was copied from the abovementioned page....

I signed up for the FS Wiki at the NGS last week and in trying it out have run into a couple of issues. Here are my notes. If they don't belong here would someone kindly move them where they do?


On a PC running Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit Firefox 3.6.3 and Internet Explorer 8 Norton 360 firewall and anti-virus running.


From the wiki home page I search for Long Island

I click on the result: Local Histories of the United States on BYU Digital Archives, Nebraska - Northwest (though I am puzzled that a Long Island [NY] link would appear there.)

The page loads and it appears to be a composite of a table from the BYU library in the left frame and a panel of FamilySearch wiki links on the right.

I note that I cannot see all of the headings of the table and there is no horizontal scroll bar that allows me to move the table left and right. The last column on the right that I can see has the header Publi Inform.

My screen is 1600 pixels wide and maximizing the browser window makes no difference to the amount of the table displayed.

I'm using the latest Firefox so I try this in IE 8 and get the same result.

The workaround in either browser is to turn on "caret browsing" by pressing <F7>. This places a caret or text cursor on the page. By clicking within the partially displayed right hand column you can then use the arrow keys to scroll right and see that whole column plus the previously hidden far right-hand column which contains a link to the BYU library content.

Seeing the content is another matter. Some links display the desired page but my Long Island families link:

displays a BYU page with the another link, "Access this item." Clicking that leads to a dialog box about saving a file named "Showfile.exe" (there is no opportunity to simply run it from the BYU server), so trusting BYU, I save it to my Downloads folder and try running it from there, which produces the error "Not a valid Win32 application," whereupon I notice that Showfile.exe contains 0 bytes on my hard disk.

  • I got the following when I tried to do the above, it may be a different MIME encoding.

Windows has the following information about this MIME type. This page will help you find software needed to open your file.

MIME Type: application/octet-stream

Description: UnKnown

Windows does not recognize this MIME type. Slberlin

One answer

You can search the following Web site for related software and information: (use any search engine) JamesAnderson

So, the horizontal scrolling issue needs fixing and for me, no joy seeing the BYU Long Island content. Where do I go from here? Slberlin 18:53, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Long Island appears in the Nebraska-Northwest section because...

...the sections are mostly organized by country and state, and Long Island is in New York, which alphabetically falls between Nebraska and Northwest. Part of what's confusing here is that Northwest isn't a state, obviously, so that would certainly throw people off. It is what it is. RitcheyMT 16:15, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

A workaround to get at the history

After having the same experience you did, Slberlin , I backed out of the URL a little and did a search on "annals of Newtown." After a very long wait while the BYU server grinded away, search results produced a link which goes to the right book online. I headed the original project to add the links to FSwiki; I'll have to check whether the problem is this link only or all of them. (And everybody, I'd love some help to fix this if the problem is ALL the links.) RitcheyMT 16:59, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

Small minority of links broken

I tested about 20 of the links, and most work, but about 10% of them didn't. I noticed that the ones that don't work are for URLs where the number before the comma in the URL is small, such as 1 or 3 (2 actually worked). I assume the problem is that BYU reclassified some of their collections, which changed the URLs. I wrote an e-mail to admins at BYU Digital Archives asking them what was up, what they changed, so that we might make systematic changes to the wiki URLs instead of checking hundreds/thousands of links manually. RitcheyMT 19:23, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

More info: problem will grow

I got a call from either Annaleise Dearinger or Dawn Osborne, both of whom are Indexing Specialists at FamilySearch. She said the books that received URLs including FHL 1 through FHL16 were scanned multiple times, that this broke the search feature, and they are being scanned again, which changes the URLs. She said they have been working a year to correct this (as of May 14 2010) and they're only halfway done. She also said that she has a master list of what needs to be changed, and what is already changed, which she can send me, or we can use the list of latest changes that she sends Elma Leta McBride. RitcheyMT 15:45, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

A possible (maybe bad) solution to prevent link breakages

She also said that as her team changes the URLs, they flag Elma Leta so she can change the URLs in the FHLC. So one way to avoid breakages of wiki links would be to link directly to the catalog and let the catalog link to the digital image. That assumes that we're going to have more problems with the BYU links changing than we will with the whole catalog changing, which might be a bad assumption. This solution also assumes users will understand the catalog, which is pretty rare. RitcheyMT 15:45, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Another reply

I also received a reply from Kayla Willey, a Metadata Librarian at BYU. She was surprised that BYU's links checker wasn't catching these broken links, but that her team work to correct said links from her end as well. She suggested that perhaps Dawn Osborne could generate a list of all the Family History Archives items on the BYU Digital Archives. RitcheyMT 20:33, 17 May 2010 (UTC)