A Better System for Searching Books—Troy Mohrman at RootsTech 2019

September 4, 2019  - by 
A girl reads a book in a library

You know that you can search records and family trees on FamilySearch.org—but did you know that you can also search books? And now, thanks to LIMB Gallery, searching books is that much easier and more effective.

What Is LIMB Gallery?

A screenshot of LIMB gallery's front webpage

“What is LIMB Gallery?” Troy Mohrman, who works for LIMB Gallery, asked this question during his presentation “Digital Asset Management: There Is a Difference,” which he gave on Access and Preservation Day at RootsTech 2019.

Mohrman explained that LIMB Gallery is the new system FamilySearch uses to display books. LIMB Gallery was created by i2S (Innovative Imaging Solutions), the same company that produces book scanners used by FamilySearch and others.

LIMB software can be used at each stage of scanning, processing, and publishing books online. “You are an institution that has spent a lot of time digitizing books; now how do you present them to your users?” he asked.

A New Book Interface

For several years, FamilySearch has been working with i2S to prepare a new book interface.

FamilySearch has customized the system, as have other institutions. Mohrman showed examples of these customized systems from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies of Geneva, Adelphi University Archives and Special Collections,  Radford University McConnell Library Digital Collections , and Collections Numérisées de la Bibliothèque de l’INHA, among others.

Improved Text Searching

Teenagers search books on their phone.

The new FamilySearch book system offers a complete text search. The system allows seeing text matches in context and moving easily from one text match to the next one.

As an example, Mohrman searched for the name Vonderfecht with the previous FamilySearch book interface. The old system found 5 results. Two weeks before RootsTech, the system changed to LIMB Gallery. Mohrman searched for the name Vonderfecht with the new system, and it returned 28 results, even though both systems were searching the same set of books.

To use the new system, go to Familysearch.org, select Search in the toolbar at the top of the page, and then select Books in the drop-down menu.

Troy Mohrman is director of LIMB Gallery North America at i2S, France. He has been working with libraries with automation systems and digital asset management software for over 20 years. He is a former Seminaries and Institutes institute director and seminary principal.

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  1. I search for “Santangelo” and a “Santangelo Family Tree” came up. I cannot access it because it says :”Protected”.
    How can I access it?

    1. In general, search the FamilySearch catalog. Check the availability note. If it states “Available,” then the book can be viewed at the FamilySearch Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Or search worldcat.org to find a copy near you.

      Regarding this specific book, it is currently in off-site storage, preparatory to digital availability when the law allows it.

  2. I found the page about LIMB software and methods of searching left me befuddled.
    I will have to read and re-read to understand if it will provide me with a more efficient way to search.

    I regularly read digitized microfilms of parish registers. I hope this new thing will not take away the access we have to going through an entire digitized microfilm. Because that would be tragic as well as distressing.