Monday, 13 May 2013

Take five minutes to help improve RootsIreland

The Irish Family History Foundation (IFHF) has commissioned a strategic review of and, as part of this process, is asking registered users of the site to complete an online survey. Invitation emails have been arriving in the inboxes of thousands of users over the last few days, and more may still be on their way. (The site has nearly half a million registered users.... I've no idea how many of these are being asked to take part.)

RootsIreland is a huge resource of 20 million records. It should be recognised for its value and nurtured, but it has a certain Margaret Thatcher quality that makes it loved and hated in (possibly) equal measure. Some recent decisions by the management team have helped to polarise views still further.

Whichever camp you fit in, this survey is an opportunity to have your say. I've just taken that opportunity and can tell you that it's a very easy to use, well-constructed survey, and it really does take only three or four minutes to answer most of the questions. But you might want to pause and spend a few more minutes on the final question which asks for constructive comments about what you'd like to see on the site and how the existing facility can be improved.

The 'carrot' of a chance to win 550 credits was of no consequence to me and I don't think it will matter too much to most other researchers, either. It is much more essential that the IFHF receive a large volume of feedback and can then use that feedback to develop a site that reflects users requirements and wallets. It's such an valuable collection of records.... it's worth a few minutes...

So if you receive one of these emails, I'd urge you to try to get your thoughts together and find five minutes.