We are only a few weeks away from a brand new conference sponsored by FamilySearch, Ancestry, and the New England Historical Genealogical Society. The conference is called RootsTech and for those who enjoy genealogy and technology it will be a conference not to miss. It will be held February 10-12 at the Salt Palace. RootsTech just announced the keynote speakers and it looks like a great line up. The opening speaker will be Shane Robison, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Technology Officer for Hewlett-Packard Company. Mr. Robison is responsible for shaping HP’s corporate strategy and technology agenda and oversees the company’s corporate marketing function. He is instrumental in steering the company’s multibillion dollar research and development investment and leads the company’s merger and acquisition activities. He also has responsibility for worldwide corporate marketing activities, including brand strategy, internal and external communications, digital strategy and hp.com, environmental sustainability, social innovation, and customer intelligence. Other keynote speakers will be: Brewster Kahle, Founder, The Internet Archive. A passionate advocate for public Internet access and a successful entrepreneur, Brewster Kahle has spent his career intent on a singular focus: making information free and accessible through digital means. Mr. Kahle created the Internet’s first publishing system and has helped revolutionize the electronic publishing market. Through the Internet Archive, Mr. Kahle is working to create an online catalog of every book ever created. At the same time, Mr. Kahle cofounded Alexa Internet, a service that collects data on web browsing behavior for future analysis. The services provided by Alexa Internet are used in more than 80 percent of web browsers today. Curt Witcher, Historical Genealogy Department Manager, Allen County Public Library. Mr. Witcher’s success in community involvement, integration of technology in library science, and collaboration with various organizations has made him a highly visible individual in the genealogical community. His dynamic presentation style has made him a highly favored presenter among a wide variety of audiences. He is a member of the Genealogy Committee of the American Library Association and past president of the National Genealogical Society and of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. He is coeditor of the 1987 through 2000 editions of the Periodical Source Index and was a research consultant for both PBS Ancestors series. Jay L. Verkler, CEO, FamilySearch International. Mr. Verkler currently serves as president and CEO of FamilySearch, sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch has gathered the largest collection of genealogical records in the world. Operations include worldwide image and information collection, product and tools delivery, and patron services in over 4,600 family history centers around the world. Mr. Verkler previously served in various executive positions within innovative Silicon Valley companies such as Oracle Corporation, inCommon Inc., TIBCO Software, Vitria Technology, and Sales.com. Mr. Verkler studied electrical engineering, computer science, and chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as Japanese and Asian studies at Harvard University. The sessions include something for everyone. There are sessions on holding virtual reunions, on the best websites, and on digital devices for use in family history. If you are interested in writing software for family history, the best and brightest of the family history software world will be there with ideas, training, and networking opportunities. There are many sessions designed to help those who are interested in writing family history software. As always I expect that we will see new announcements from the major players in family history technology. FamilySearch, Ancestry, and others nearly always take advantage of these types of conferences to make major announcements of new offerings. The conference will be on the heels of the release of the updated FamilySearch website. Technology ad family history really go hand in hand. Online publishing of records and online collaboration tools have made family history a rich source of opportunity to apply technology in meaningful ways to simplify the search experience and provide help in finding ancestors more quickly and accurately. RootsTech is planned to be an ongoing conference to help bring together users of family history technology with developers and those that produce technology to move the industry forward more quickly, share ideas, and spark innovation. The cost of the conference is $99.00.
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