Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Grab your coat and get your hat"

As I think about what I will need for my trip to Rootstech at Salt Lake City in February I know that I will need my winter woollies. I'll be arriving on February 9th and note that the city's overall record low temperature is −30 °F (−34.4 °C), set on February 9, 1933! (Wikipedia) I hope history doesn't repeat itself.

What I really need to know is what paraphernalia I need to pack for my sleuthing at the Family History Library and at the Conference. As I'm not taking Mr Geniaus along to carry the bags I need to ecomomise on luggage.

I have been to the library's website and consulted The Family History Library Patron Rules.  I know that I  can take my laptop and mobile phone on silent, I wonder if I can take a flash drive to save info from the computers and microfilm readers. Am I allowed to use pens or should I take pencils and a sharpener? Am I allowed to take my handbag into the library or are there size restrictions? Can I take stuff in a clear plastic bag? Are there lockers to store my gear? Do I need coins for the lockers if there are any? Is it ok to use my digital camera without the flash?

Fellow Rootstech Official Blogger, Lorine, has shared her ten point checklist that is very useful. Like Lorine I am trying to decide "what device I am taking for my files". Should I take my laptop, my netbook or rely on my smartphone?  Should I take the plunge and buy an android tablet like the Galaxy Tab? I'll definitely take my new portable hard drive so I can back up as I go.

In the comments to this post Amy Coffin mentioned that one needs dimes for the lockers. Lorine and Julie D Grant suggested a Flip-Pal scanner - maybe I should buy one.

I am hoping someone out there can proffer some advice - I'm off to check the Family History Library Catalog.


Thomas MacEntee said...

Hello Jill

Here are some answers to your questions!

Weather: I find that winter weather in the Western US is much different than here in Chicago or the Eastern coast. It is drier with less humidity and usually when snow falls, it doesn't last very long.

Location: not sure of your hotel location, but the Radisson is diagonally across from the Salt Palace Convention Center and 2 blocks from the Family History Library.

As for the FHL, there are lockers available but you aren't required to use them like some archives. You can use pens, pencils, etc. I usually bring my backpack with my netbook. When I find a microfilm roll I need, I record it on my iPhone's Notes app and then walk to the drawer and retrieve it.

To make copies of items on microfilm, you can either go to a printing station and send it to a printer (for a fee) or download it to a flash drive (free). The printing/copier cards are $.50 each and each copy is $.05. You load up the card (which is reusable) with about $2.00 and then each print is deducted.

Randy Seaver said...


I alomost exvclusively use the flash drive to capture microfilm images.

I use the copy machine to capture book page images.

I've tried using my camera without the flash to capture microfilm images on the machine, but they are often fuzzy and have parallax. The microfilm areas are fairly dark. The microfilm readers have a big slanted (maybe 15 degrees?) reading surface that make it impossible to take a picture perpendicular to the surface unless you reduce the zoom on the image. I usually try to put the camera against the top frame of the machine.

A laptop is fairly bulky and difficult to carry around. I think the netbook would be the best compromise to do real genealogy work and be easier to carry.

Have fun - wish I was going! -- Randy

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

As archives go, FHL is pretty liberal in their policies. I'll bring you some dimes in case you want to use a locker. My coin jar overfloweth. I got by just fine with a flash drive when it came to the films, though I made a few copies in the book section. There are a gazillion volunteers to help you at each step of the way. Email or Dm me when you get there and I'll meet up!


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