Thursday, August 4, 2016
Viewing Digital Record Images on FamilySearch.org -- Part One
This is a screenshot of the images for the Argentina, Córdoba, Protocolos notariales Film #7397619 Índice de protocolos notariales, Registro 1 - Tomo 01 - Letras A-B, 1775-1925. This filmstrip viewer is extremely useful for researchers because navigating through the roll of microfilm is facilitated. You may or may not have found one of these types of images on the FamilySearch.org website, depending on whether you use the Catalog or not.
If you search in the FamilySearch.org Catalog for records, you will find three general categories: books and other printed material, microfilm and microfiche. The microfilm records are starting to be displayed in a variety of ways with the above filmstrip view one of the very most useful for researchers. Microfilm records fall into two general categories: those records that are indexed and those that are not.
The above view, is marked on the Catalog entry for the film and related films. Here is a screenshot of the Catalog entry for the above film from Argentina:
The little camera icon in the Film Notes indicates that the microfilm roll is available in this format as a filmstrip. The main group of records also has a red letter notation about the digitized records as shown by this screenshot:
The red link shown in the last screenshot goes to this page.
Browsing through the images from this linked page is not quite as efficient as the filmstrip view, because you can only see one image at a time so you have to scroll through the roll just as you would on a microfilm viewer.
There is an underlying assumption here that indexed records are "useful" and unindexed records are "less useful." I am probably one of the few people in the world that think that I would rather search the original records than rely entirely on indexes. Indexes seldom contain all of the information in the original record or they wouldn't be indexes. Even if I have an index available, I still make it a rule to find the original record and search it if possible. The index becomes a finding aid, but excuse me, I don't assume that the record I am searching for is not in the original simply because it does not appear in an index. Indexes are OK and useful but not infallible.
It turns out that there are now a number of ways to view the digital records on the FamilySearch.org website. This is just my first installment. I also think this will end up being a webinar in the future. So if you are reading this sometime after the publication date, you might want to check the BYU Family History Library YouTube Channel to see if I have done a webinar on this subject.