Friday, January 16, 2009

10 Things Genealogy Software Should Do

Mark Tucker on his ThinkGenealogy Blog
prepared this slide show - 10 Things Genealogy Software Should Do - Click here to view the slides: Slideshow
Click here if you want to download the above Genealogy Research Process Map.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

10 Most Amazing Google Search Tricks

Searching on Google can be a magical experience once you find out how to make your search queries efficient. By making efficient, I mean using some tricks or the cheat sheet provided by Google itself to quickly find what you actually require. Having being hooked onto Google for a long time now, I have come across some amazing search tricks, which can change the way you look at Google today.
In this article, I will list down the search tricks which I use quite frequently. Be it finding time, meanings or watching the cricket score, searching PDF’s, with Google as the search engine life cannot be simpler. Here are the 10 most amazing Google Search tricks:
1. Different Types of Files at your will
How many times would you have asked for materials (PDF, PPT, DOC) for a particular topic from a friend? It’s almost every day that we might have the necessity to ask them either for knowledge, preparing a presentation, white-paper or for case studies. Such times it mostly difficult to look out what to exactly search for because most of the times you don’t know about the topic at hand. But this petty keyword unleashes its lethal power at such occasions.
Let’s say I want to implement a case study on SOA which means I have to read a lot of information for SOA. So I just have to find materials which might have already been uploaded on the web in the form of PDF’s, DOC’s or PPT’s. These materials can be easily obtained by doing a search for:
PDF - service oriented architecture filetype:pdf
PPT - service oriented architecture filetype:ppt
DOC - service oriented architecture filetype:doc
2. Scholarly Search
If you want some authenticity of the materials then it would be better to find the materials from educational institutes or universities. For this use the Google scholar search. But suppose you don’t like to switch to Google scholar search you can add the same query with an additional parameter to the normal Google search box,
service oriented architecture filetype:pdf site:edu
3. Meanings of any word in an instant
Now you do not have to carry a dictionary or install a dictionary software just for the purpose of finding out a meaning of a word. With the wealth of information in Google’s hands, its a piece of cake to find out the meaning of the word. Just use the define: keyword. The meaning would of course be displayed but also a set of other links, which might have an alternative definition, are also given out with the link to read more about it.
You would argue here that, a dicitionary gives out more information than this. But what about words that don’t actually fall within the vocabulary. Suppose you want to know what SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) is then you would have no choice. Google Search comes to your rescue in this case,
• Abbreviations - define: SOA
• Jargons - define: Web 2.0
• SMS language - define: LOL
4. Find the time of any location
Many of us might be probably working for client which are based at different locations. And communication has to be carried out frequently carried out in such cases. But before a communication you have to know which time zone the location is falling into otherwise you would be causing a disturbance.
I have seen people installing time zone software for showing the time of the location they would be calling to. But with Google at your hands you don’t have to install any software. It would be just simple to use a query for finding the current time such as,
time new york
psst….look closely the time on the little clock graphic. It also shows the perfect time!
5. Weather at your fingertips
I had been to GOA for a Christmas vacation in the last week of December. But I made a mistake of not finding out the temperature of GOA before leaving. Had I known that it is hot even in the winter I would not have made the mistake of carrying additional luggage consisting of blankets and jackets.
If you are thinking to visit a place it is useful to know what the temperature of the place is before hand, it can make efficient packing. Google helps you here too. Just use this query without asking anybody or waiting for the news to make a weather report. I wish I had thought of this!
goa weather
6. Google does live commentary too!
Indians are cricket fanatics. But its amusing to see the organizations here trying to put together tactics to devoid cricket lovers from wasting time to watch the cricket scores instead of doing their work. What I think they fail to understand is that by blocking the live cricket scoring sites they are actually making the employees more curios and provoking them to hunt for proxy networks or listen to the radio or chat with their friends elsewhere.
Jokes apart, you actually don’t need proxy networks to view the live cricket scores if you at least have access to Google. If you want to find the latest info about all the cricket matches then just type,
But if you want to find out only about a particular match then use only the names of the two playing nations,
India Australia
Remember that the scorecard will come only when the play is going on.
7. Calculate with your browser
Every OS has a calculator inbuilt but when the browser is the thing which is constantly open whey bother to open up a calculator. Open Google and straight away type your mathematical expression. You can go all the way from basic arithmetic to trigonometrical expressions. This is simply amazing stuff accomplished by Google.
26 * 9000
sin(90) / cos (90)
8. Compare your currency with others
Now that the dollar is declining, the rest of the world must be busy trying to check the impact of the dollar on their currencies. But first of all one must know how much a particular currency amounts to when cashed in another currency. Google’s inbuilt currency converter just does this.
1 USD in INR
1 EUR in INR
9. Keep track of the stocks
With the booming stock market it is very important to track the stocks on a day to day basis. Putting a stock ticker in the search box is the most obvious thing you would think of. But it is not always you would remember the stock ticker, you should add the keyword “stocks:” to the company name.
The best part of the obtained result is that it provides a chart which shows the trend in the company’s stock along with important statistics.
stocks: INFY
Note: Currently the results are restricted to the companies listed in the US stock markets.
10. Wanna find some faces?
This is most interesting trick. You might be needing images for various occasions and searching for images is the most difficult thing because what we expect might not be possibly mapped to a query. But Google has a parameter in place for images in situations we need an image which describes a face.
Suppose I search for the term “happy” then the Google results page displays smileys. But I would like to use images of happy people. Even if I choose the term as “happy face” the results don’t show images which contain people. For this there is a parameter “imgtype” which you can use with the URL. For this put in the URL as follows:
There are many more variations which can be bought about with the above tricks thus making your search experience not only enriching but also exciting. If I have missed any tricks of common usage, feel free to mention it.
Update 1: Google keeps on experimenting new ways of searching. If you liked the above tricks then don’t miss out my article which mentions how to use the new search experiments introduced by Google. Believe me, they are brilliant!
Update 2 : Search for your favorite movie information with Google and enjoy it even more. Have fun with the 5 Most Fantastic Movie Search Tricks With Google.
Update 3 : Why not carry out the search for exactly what we are looking for? Get excited for trying out 5 Most Exciting Search Tricks with Google Operators.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

British History Online

British History Online is the digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles.

Created by the Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust, we aim to support academic and personal users around the world in their learning, teaching and research.

Sources included are Local Histories, Historical geography, Maps, Urban & Metropolitan, Parliamentary, and Ecclesiastical & Religious.

Regions covered are:

East - The historic counties of Beds, Cambs, Essex, Herts, Hunts, Norfolk and Suffolk

London - The area now covered by the 32 London boroughs. Includes the historic county of Middlesex, and parts of Surrey, Essex and Kent

Midlands - The historic counties of Derbys, Leics, Lincs, Northants, Notts, Rutland, Salop, Staffs, Warks and Worcs

North - The historic counties of Cheshire, Cumberland, Durham, Lancs, Northumberland, Westmorland and Yorks

Scotland - The 32 historic counties of Scotland.

South East - Includes the historic counties of Berks, Bucks, Hants, Kent, Oxfords, Surrey and Sussex. Parts of Surrey and Kent are included in the London region

South West - The historic counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucs, Somerset and Wilts

Wales - The 13 historic counties of Wales.

Subjects include Administrative and Legal history, Ecclesiastical and Religious History, Economic History, Intellectual, Scientific and Cultural History, Local History, Parliamentary History, and finally Urban and Metropolitan History.

The Periods covered are from the 11th and 12th Centuries down through the 19th Century.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

FamilySearch is tapping into a world of resources by moving archives to online

100 Years of Record Gathering and Preservation - FamilySearch, historically known as the Genealogical Society of Utah, is dedicated to preserving the records of the family of mankind. Our purpose is simple—help people connect with their ancestors through easy access to historical records. We gladly join with others who share this vision.

For over 100 years, we have served record custodians around the world. We pioneered industry standards for gathering, imaging, indexing, and preserving records. Advances in technology and the emergence of our digital world now provide an opportunity for us to combine the resources of GSU and under a single name: FamilySearch.

FamilySearch works together with records custodians to help them provide timely, economic, secure, and broad access to their records while maintaining access control and identity.

More Access to More Records for More People

The FamilySearch Records Access program is designed to significantly increase the number of genealogical records available to people around the world. Through the program, FamilySearch teams up with records custodians and other organizations to gather, preserve, digitize, index, and post the records online. The records can then be shared via the Internet for convenient public access.

The program provides a platform for FamilySearch and records custodians to combine and integrate their efforts. FamilySearch acts as both a facilitator and a participant by leveraging its knowledge, resources, and relationships in the process. The strength of the program is its collaborative approach—an approach that ensures participating organizations can more effectively and economically meet their goals.

Where practical, the program allows FamilySearch to work directly with the records custodians. Where circumstances warrant, FamilySearch will join with records custodians and third-party organizations to provide access. The resulting free flow of records provides the foundational data needed for people to identify their ancestors, link their families, and build a family tree.

Questions, Questions, Questions

Records custodians seek to preserve the past while preparing for the future. Such challenges pose important questions:

* Which trends and events will impact your record preservation and access efforts?
* Which technologies can help meet your needs?
* How can you provide better access to records?
* What role should the Internet play?
* How can costs be lowered?
* How can costs be recovered?
* Where can reliable advice and help be found?

FamilySearch may have answers to your questions and solutions to help you meet your challenges. Records custodians from over 100 countries turn to us for help with their records preservation and access needs. As a nonprofit organization and the world leader in genealogical resources, you know you’re getting the right information and assistance while avoiding prohibitive costs.

Records Services

The following list includes some of the services we can offer your organization:

* Image Capture
Obtaining a preservation quality image is often the most costly and time-consuming step for records custodians. Microfilm has been the standard, but digital is emerging. Whether you opt to do it yourself or use one of our worldwide camera teams, we can help.
* Digital Conversion
For those records custodians who already have a substantial collection of microfilm, we can help digitize those images and even provide digital image storage.
* Preservation
Preservation copies of microfilm, microfiche, and digital records from over 100 countries and spanning hundreds of years are safely stored in the Granite Mountain Records Vault—a long-term storage facility designed for preservation.
* Online Indexing
Once an image is digitized, key data needs to be transcribed in order to produce a searchable index that patrons around the world can access. Our online indexing application harnesses volunteers from around the world to quickly and accurately create indexes.
* Online Access
Whether your goal is to help fund your operations or simply to make your records freely available to the public, FamilySearch can assist you every step of the way. We can even host and post the information for you to help minimize your costs and increase your effectiveness.

To better meet the needs of records custodians, FamilySearch has established relationships and working agreements with government, libraries, societies, churches, and commercial companies. Working together we can offer a greater range of assistance than any one organization.