Doing Research in Real Time

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NGS2010 125.png A presentation given by FamilySearch staff "Doing Research in Real Time-An Exhilarating Collaboration Experience!" (F308), at the National Genealogical Society 2010 conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. , presented by Alan E. Mann, AG®, Robert Raymond, and David E. Rencher, AG®, CGSM, FIGRS, FUGA .

This session illustrates how to do research collaboratively in real time using off-the-shelf products and services to accomplish more in less time and (we think) better results.


While our presentation focuses on the tools and benefits of real-time collaboration, the research process benefits from both real-time and non-real-time collaboration. Consider choosing real-time tools that give all the collaborators time for later absorption and analysis of the results. Hypotheses can then be added, reviewed and discussed asynchronously, leading to richer, fuller analysis, and eventually sounder conclusions. For example, an online research log allows for real-time sharing and assigning of research tasks, but also enables further collaboration.

Tools for Real-time Collaboration


These tools are used for "command and control" of a real time research session. This allows coordinated research activities. Assignments are given, results are reported, and a research log is produced. With this ability, the group is able to account for expected and unexpected results.


Artifact tools are used to share the documentary evidence that supports the research. These artifacts may include, but are not limited to: original vital records, probate, land, tax and other supporting evidence; photographs of tombstones, newspaper clippings – especially obituaries; summaries of oral interviews, etc. These artifacts need to be organized to tell the story and provide the evidentiary materials in such a way that other researchers have access to the materials for their own interpretation.


To aggregate the information streaming in from the various sources, an aggregation tool is necessary. This allows everyone to see the results of the research and to monitor progress. It also provides a critical analysis function by allowing visibility into the whole of the genealogical problem as it develops.


The desired outcome for this presentation is that you will take away the knowledge that research can be conducted in dramatically different ways than you may be used to doing. More people can participate, producing more artifacts and results in less time, making your valuable research time more productive.<br