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With all the anticipation of the first ever
RootsTech conference, it’s hard to believe it’s already come and gone. Here
are some highlights from this year’s conference that I hope inspire you to attend
next year. (Block out February 2-4, 2012 on your calendar!)
Microfilm Distribution: As
a member of the media, I had the rare opportunity to see how hundreds of thousands
of microfilm rolls make their way around the world each year. The
Family History Library distribution center is the size of 19 football fields and stores
725,000 film copies, each copy averaging 100 feet in length. Films
are stored in huge automated shelving systems holding trays of film that are tracked
and accessed by computer. Even though there is a goal to digitize
all microfilms held by the FHL, there will always be a need for microfilm distribution
because of copyright restrictions.
Inside the microfilm distribution center
at the Family History Library.
Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner: One
of the winners at this year’s conference was the Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner. Many
a happy genealogist clutched their new portable workhorse, and those that didn’t already
have one were muttering quietly that they really needed one. Having
acquired a Flip-Pal scanner myself not long ago, I can say that the buzz was warranted.
Look for the Family Tree Magazine review of the Flip-Pal scanner in our May
issue, on newsstands March 8.
The Media Center: I
felt a bit like Maxwell Smart in the Cone of Silence from “Get Smart,” as I conducted
interviews in the glass cubicles at the center of the exhibit hall. The
cubicles weren’t sound proof, but they provided a convenient place to record audio
and video while still capturing the ambiance of the place. One
of my first interviews was with Patricia Van Skaik of the Cincinnati Public Library,
who won the Most Distinguished Presenter award for her Saturday presentations. The
media center was a stroke of genius on the part of the organizers. It
gave podcasters and bloggers the room and tools we needed to get the word out.
Lisa interviewing Patricia
Van Skaik in the media center.
Witcher, manager of the genealogy deptartment at the Allen County Public Library in
Fort Wayne, Ind., also sat down with me for an in depth interview. He sees technology
converging with genealogy, and his keynote address was quite
a hit from sounds of between-session banter. Watch
our conversation below:
You can see more from RootsTech at the Genealogy
Gems YouTube channel. Click subscribe while there and you
can receive email notification as they are posted.
Virtual Presentations Roundtable: I
wrapped up the whirlwind three-day conference as a panelist in the Virtual Presentations
Roundtable. Thomas MacEntee pulled together a panel of experienced webinar presenters,
including editor of Family Tree Magazine Allison
Detective Maureen Taylor, DearMYRTLE,
Geoff Rasmussen and Marian Pierre-Louis. Not only did
we provide tips on how societies can hold their own virtual presentations, but the
session itself was a virtual webinar. And to top it off,
the RootsTech folks streamed the session live on the RootsTech website!
RootsTech made a bold leap onto the conference
scene, and from every indication, it’s here to stay.