30 May 2009

OGS Conference 2009 - Saturday pm

Following a healthy lunch I attended an APG panel discussion "From the Printed Page to the Digital Age" organized and chaired by Sharon Murphy. There were about 40 people in attendance and lots of questions from the floor.

Brian Gilchrist, who admitted being a delinquent APG member, saw the greatest change to be in technology for quality controls since he started into genealogy in 1966. He lamented the loss of access to original documents he had in the early days and the information you miss when you have to rely on a b/w microfilm copy rather than the original.

Susanna de Groot, who has 10 years experienced, mentioned the difficulty in keeping up with continual changes.

Janice Nickerson, who started in genealogy in 1982, commented that you can find simple things more easily now; that speeds up the drudgery part of the job and leaves more time for the more interesting records -- obscure documents -- and analysis.

Ruth Burkholder - commented that she finds herself more of an isolated researcher than she used to be when colleagues got together and talked more as they were searching in the same archives.

Tammy Priolo commented on the old days of working through piles of old book, and the education that resulted compared to the rapid retrieval now with the internet. She did comment that internet access had been especially valuable to her in Northern Ontario where access was previously difficult.

I couldn't keep up with the diverse bunch of questions from the audience. I asked about whether the internet was helping clients to find qualified researchers, and if there services were more widely advertised because of the internet. The responses varied, some still relying on local and personal networking, some taking greater advantage of internet groups such as APG, personal and company web sites.

Sherilyn Bell gave a most informative presentation "Weary of Y Chromosome & Mitochondrial DNA Testing?" She gave a good review of this traditional testing, then moved on to more recent developments suggesting how DNA analysis would change genealogy.

David Obee spoke on "Travel Smart with Technology." Dave travels a lot and suggests he's made most of the mistakes. As well as the well worn suggestion to prepare well, an oldie but goodie, re argued with the advice to travel light instead pointing out that it's costly to lose opportunities when technology fails. He carries backups for much of his technology. Links for his presentation are here.

The evening banquet speaker was well known author, and Ottawa resident, Charlotte Gray who spoke on her experiences in writing about women for whom she had completed biographies. In this, as in all previous talks I've heard her give, her presentation was thoughtful and well appreciated.

It was a long but enjoyable day.

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