Monday, September 23, 2013

Family History Conference in Canberra - Day One

Now I have a bit of time to write about the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies Conference in Canberra.
The first day was a family history fair, along with some talks.  There were free 15 minute talks on the main stage, along with three other talks that had to be paid for.  One of the latter which I attended was the Trove Masterclass.
This was a fantastic learning experience.  It was a masterclass, not a beginners class, and although I knew some of what was spoken about, there was still plenty for me to learn. One was Lists. You can use lists to accumulate pointers to items in Trove that you are interested in relating to a topic, and also to live web sites (but not the archived web sites on Trove).
The other thing that I was unaware of were the RSS feeds that can alert you to new newspapers being added or new editions of existing newspapers.  This feature can also be used rather like a Google Alert, in that it can tell you about new results of a specific search.  This is fantastic, as it means you don't have to keep repeating a search and looking through results that you have already seen in order to find any new material.
I also picked up some ways of improving a search: 
  • proximity search, e.g. "john smith"~1 will pick up the words john and smith with a maximum of one word in between (allowing for middle names or initials to be captured in the same search)
  • Trove normally does a fuzzy search, so that plurals etc match what has been entered.  To stop this do a "fulltext" search.  Enter the keyword fulltext: followed IMMEDIATELY (i.e. no spaces) with the word you want an exact match on (e.g. fulltext:Huddlestone will not also pick up occurrenced of the name Huddleston)
I also listened to one of the main stage talks - Gail Davis from the State Records of NSW talking about How To Find NSW Court Records. As always, it was a fantastic presentation, though a little rushed, given that she had such a short time slot.
Apart from those talks I spent the day looking at the stalls and spending some money, mostly on second hand books.

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