Magnify the Reach and Impact of Your Society's Expertise

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Syllabus for a class taught by Diane C. Loosle, Genealogical Community Services Manager at FamilySearch, for FGS Conference 2010.

Do you have individuals in your society who are likely the most knowledgeable person in the world at their particular area of focus? Do you wish you had a way to clone them? Are they getting older and you worry about losing their expertise? Do you want the world to know about your society, the resources you have to offer and the expertise of your members? Do you need to move your society into the 21st century, but lack the technology expertise and financial resources to do so?

FamilySearch is providing several tools that you may use to help solve these problems.

Magnify the Impact[edit | edit source]

Societies for many years have been doing projects around records. These include indexing, transcriptions and other types of projects in relation to the records of interest to society members.

Societies have also been interested in educating their members and others in relation to the society’s area of interest. Often societies have a core set of individuals who are very knowledgeable. Their knowledge needs to captured and preserved so the next generation can build upon that knowledge and not lose it. These people need help to get all of their knowledge into a format which can be preserved. Additionally there are many people who would love to learn from these individuals.

FamilySearch is working to bring both the great ability to work on projects and the desire to educate and pass on knowledge together in projects related to building and preserving knowledge. There are a lot of really interesting projects that people are interested in pursuing, but don’t have the time to do it. What if these projects could get completed?

FamilySearch’s approach to collaborative knowledge projects can be employed for any of the following situations:

  1. I am a long-time member and expert about the subject area the society is associated with and I am getting older and want to preserve my knowledge for the society. However, publishing process is long and arduous.
  2. I am a knowledgeable member and for the last twenty years I have had an interest in studying why a particular record seems to an anomaly related to it. I always thought it would be fascinating to spend some discovering why and then share that knowledge with others.
  3. I just want to help others who have questions that I can answer
  4. If we could harvest the collective knowledge between the ears of every one of our members, it would be an amazing resource to the world.

FamilySearch has learned some very interesting things about running collaborative knowledge projects which can help you be successful in magnifying the impact of the stuff between your collective ears.

Some examples of collaborative knowledge projects include:

  • Indians of North America
  • Sweden: Moveable Feast Day Calendar
  • US Census
  • Mid-South Agricultural Records
  • England Probate Records
  • Etc.

Contact FamilySearch for assistance getting started with your collaboration through the wiki forums on FamilySearch Forums.

Society Reach[edit | edit source]

By publishing the knowledge gained through these joint projects in the FamilySearch Research Wiki, you reach an audience of over 1 Million individuals per year. With your society being associated with very interesting, ground-breaking types of projects; this will raise the visibility to your society and bring more inquiries your way.