User group meeting agenda & minutes 27 August 2008

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Proposing ideas for this agenda

To propose or discuss ideas for this agenda, please use the Discussion tab above. As the meeting draws near, we will review the items proposed on the Discussions page and decide which ones should get highest priority on the agenda.


Administrative items

  1. Assignment of time keeper and note taker
  2. Introduction of new members: 10 seconds for name and desired takeaways.
  3. Prayer --
  4. Review of Minutes
  5. Today's agenda preview

Information items

  • Server issues -- Michael Ritchey
  • LogIn -- Davis Samuelson

Discussion items

Carryover from Last Week

New Items


Facilitator was Jimmy Parker, Note taker was David Dilts.

Prayer by Michael Ritchey

As of just before the start of this week's user group meeting, there are 3,801 registered users of FamilySearch Wiki.  That is a net increase of 63 new users over last week. 


Wilma Adkins, Joan Healey, Baerbel Johnson, David Samuelsen and Annelisa Dearinger (sign language translator), Fran Jensen, Mollie Forbes, Barbara Baker, David Dilts, Anne Roach, James Anderson, Jimmy Parker, Eduardo Seoane, Charlene Pipkin, Lisa McBride, Kara Wahlquist, Michael Ritchey; Remotely Raeone Steuart

Items Discussed

  • Server issues -- Michael Ritchey: The servers for our Wiki are in Ashburn, Virginia. In preparation for a large increase in traffic on the Wiki they are adding about a dozen new servers. These servers will be needed when a link is made from FamilySearch to the Wiki. The expansion of the number of servers causes glitches and is why you experience problems. It is a growing pain to make it more scalable. There are many Search related problems the last few days. A program called Lucien helps search and is now working better. If you see Search problems or any other kinds of Wiki problems click the Technical support link on the left-hand side Navigation bar to tell of problems you see.
  • LogIn -- David Samuelson: After you finish a login, you should receive an invitation or prompt to return to the previous page. If not, if all you get is an invitation or prompt to return to the Main Page there is a possible solution: click the back button, then click the refresh button.
  • Forums -- Jimmy Parker: Easiest way to get to Forums is from the navigation bar which goes automatically to research advice forums. But below that are Products Forums. The first product forum is for discussion of how to improve Forums (not the Wiki). The second product forum is for suggestions to improve the Wiki. The third product forum is for comments, questions, suggestions for the search part of Wiki. Below that is an area called “What’s Going On?”
The Forum login is different from Wiki login. Michael Ritchey has asked to change that, but hasn’t happened yet. There is a security problem that requires a login that a human can read but unreadable by a machine.
Wilma Adkins expressed concerned that Forums is “another” place to look for search routines, or North American research. Michael’s response asked where Wilma proposes we should allow questions. Wilma’s second problem is categorization of Forum questions is too simple. They need some sort of self-selecting category beyond just the country because the list of Forum questions is so long it is it discourages reading. It will take 1.5 years to get many improvements according to Michael Ritchey.
Barabara Baker said it seemed like Wikipedia had watchers everywhere and asked when we would have that on our Wiki. Michael indicated that we don’t have enough volunteers at present.
  • Discussion/Talk Pages -- Jimmy Parker: Every wiki page has an associated Talk page (Discussion tab) which can be used for discussion and communicating with other users. To learn more about how to use these kinds of pages click the left-hand navigation bar “Learn how to get started on this site” and scroll to the bottom to find “Locating discussion about a page.”
  • WorldCat -- David Dilts: WorldCat is an Internet ( network of thousands of North American library catalogs formerly called OCLC. If you find a book in this WorldCat[alog], you can quickly find the nearest libraries with a copy of that book. David proposed linking book citations to WorldCat citations of a book rather than the FamilySearch Catalog citation of the book which is only one library and does not circulate its book collection.
Michael Ritchey: Another way to link to multiple libraries that have copies of the same source is through the ISBN number via Wikipedia: Special Pages, Book Sources. Open this WikiMedia page and type the ISBN number and click GO. You will get a list of databases, search engines, and sources that list that book. Eduardo Seoane pointed out this only works for more recent books that have an ISBN.
  • Good Wiki page links -- Jimmy Parker: Davis County, Iowa is an example of a page with nice links to online databases. Jimmy likes the birth marriage and death links to cataloging AND links to cemetery tombstone photographs.
  • When a Wiki page gets too long . . . – Jimmy Parker: Some Wiki pages get so full of information they become too long and difficult to scroll. If that happens it is best to split out separate page(s) with smaller chunks of information.

Action Items

  • (roll over to next week) Catalog