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News Flash! Digitized Microfilm: From the Drawer to Your Computer
February 24, 2016 – 08:05 am
Figure 9

News FlashExciting news is here explaining how users will access microfilmed records found in the FamilySearch catalog. In the early weeks of November, a new feature called the Thumbnail Gallery will be available to the public. Everywhere that historical record images are visible, users can view a single full-screen image or view a gallery of thumbnail (small) images for all images on a microfilm. Parts of this new viewer can be accessed through the Record Hints on Family Tree.

Thumbnail Gallery

Some new features include:

  • Viewing both the indexed data and the image together. This feature is available only with indexed records.
  • Navigating to other images within the collection by clicking Next or jumping to a specific image.
  • Viewing citation information. It is found in an information tab below each image.

Catalog Icons

In addition to these features, watch for new icons in the FamilySearch catalog. Look for the icons in the Film Notes area of the catalog record title page. The icon links will let you take three specific actions from the catalog page:

  • Jump to the indexed records found on a film—click the search icon.
  • Jump to the gallery view of images from a film—click the camera icon.
  • Jump to film ordering—click the film roll icon.

If indexing is not completed for a film, the indexed (search) icon will not show in the catalog. If a film is not digitized, the camera icon will not show up. For now, both the film and camera icon will show together for many films. The plan is that at some future date, digitized and published films will be removed from the film ordering tool and the film icon will disappear.

Why Is This Important?

This is a huge boon to family history centers. It enables you to take a major leap forward with transitioning from microfilm to digital access. This feature will greatly simplify the record-finding experience for center staff and visitors. Films can be accessed with just a click, rather than dealing with the hassles of ordering films, cost issues, and wait periods. FamilySearch has given priority to scanning the most-requested microfilms.

Restricted Records

It is important to note that the thumbnail gallery will respect all record restrictions. Some digitized films will be available to anyone at home with a FamilySearch log in. Other films will be LDS-only or family history center-only. The camera icon shows for all users. Users will see the images or an image access message depending on their rights. Those that are logged in and authorized will be taken to the images. Those that are logged out and/or unauthorized will see a message informing them of the image restrictions and access possibilities.

FHC Film Collection

Please DO NOT begin returning your microfilm collections to Salt Lake. A complete transition to digitized film will happen over several years. You will be notified when the time is right for you to begin returning the film collection in your center. Until you hear from us, please do not send us any part of your film collections.

Bridging the Gap

FamilySearch and its predecessors drove microfilm technology throughout the twentieth century. Today FamilySearch is a leader in the storage of digital data. The microfilm industry is fading quickly. With their demise, the cost of microfilm is growing exponentially. Soon, blank microfilm for copies will not be available at all. With the thumbnail gallery, FamilySearch is helping users bridge the gap between microfilm and digitized records. This is another opportunity for you and your staff to help member and community patrons find even more success as they seek to find their ancestors.

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