BIFHSGO’s website: before and after

An old friend is gone. Like us all, it wasn’t perfect. We learnt to live with imperfections and valued what the old BIFHSGO website offered. Like good friends it offered a lot.

Below, the new site with its colourful image of a row of houses grabs your attention. You need to explore around to find out where items you knew where to find previously now reside.

There’s an issue with the way the menu bar, the second one down, is structured for a regular or laptop computer. It’s like a person standing with arms akimbo, reaching out well beyond the body, leaving white space on either side and meaning the text in the main body is too small – for those of us whose vision isn’t what it used to be. You can enlarge the text, but then have to scroll down, for me that was five screens worth, to see the rest of the front page.

That wasn’t an issue for viewing on a smartphone, but the reformatting for the smaller screen meant “British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa” appearing twice and grabbing too much of the small screen. As with smartphones, you need to scroll down more to see all the front page content, nearly 8 screens, something you get accustomed to as you can scroll more easily on the small screen.

What about content? The site can’t be just a pretty face! Five of the eight top menu items are drop-down showing further options.

Under News, you find BIFHSGO News and News from the Genealogy World.  The latter appears to be part of an effort to reach out more broadly. I doubt a Connecticut Society of Genealogists event would have been noted previously. Is that a signal about BIFHSGO’s ambitions?

Name Index provides a way to search a consolidated database of BIFHSGO’s individual databases. It’s not yet quite as advertised; it doesn’t include the Ottawa Sharpshooters.

There is a nice collection under Resources: guides, a library list, online resource links and the archive of Anglo-Celtic Roots. It notes that over the next few years, BIFHSGO will move to keep the most recent five years of the journal available only to members. Earlier issues will be available to the public in the “Shared ACR Journals” tab. Issues had previously become open access after one year. One thing lost on the present site is a page with the contents for all issues back to Vol 1 No 1 which could be searched. My wish list goes beyond that, making the corpus of ACR back issues full-test word searchable.

There’s a link to the separate 2021 Conference page.

Under Membership find out about Becoming a Member, Renew Your Membership, Donations and, Members’ Area. I delayed writing this post until information on the new access credentials for members was made available. Once the new sign-in was completed, it went smoothly as per the email received, I was able to access the last two years of Anglo-Celtic Roots, conference and monthly meeting material as far back in some cases as 2011, a few exchange journals and information on volunteer opportunities for members.

An issue with pdfs, in which Anglo-Celtic Roots and much of the other material is presented, is reading it on a small screen. Not an issue just for BIFHSGO, as smartphone use increases, and the Society encourages members to receive its quarterly chronicle online, it is something the Society will inevitably have to address.

Overall, the site has the potential to become our new old friend.

 

4 Replies to “BIFHSGO’s website: before and after”

  1. I think it is appropriate to say that many of us had a great deal of difficulty finding things on the old website and did not consider it much of a friend except to keep on top of events and view a couple of the databases that were of interest to us. It was long past time someone looked at it and did some updating. I lkie the look of the new website but have to admit I haven’t had a lot of time to play with it yet. Hard work and a lot of effort has gone into getting it where it is. Thank you all round to those who are/were involved. I understand that it is a work in progress so I am sure that feedback from the membership will be valued by the website committee. It will be interesting to look at it once feedback can be incorporated. I think this is a work in progress and agree that I hoep to be able to call this new site my old best friend. Kudos to everyone who helped.

  2. I beg to differ that the Society is encouraging members to receive its quarterly chronicle online. Yes, there is now a slight additional charge for a paper copy of the ACR but this is merely to help cover the extra cost of the printing and mailing (which has increased substantially over the years) to those members who wish to receive a paper copy. We could have gone totally electronic years ago, as other societies have, but we know that many of our members still enjoy receiving their copies in the mail. The extra $10 for a printed version doesn’t cover all the costs but the board felt it was definitely worth supporting the choice for our members.

    And just to be transparent, I am the editor of the ACR and I can say that an electronic version would likely be easier to produce. But I, too, prefer the printed copy.

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