Why Web Indexing

November 20, 2017  - by 
How to make the most of the new web indexing program.

by Allison Hadley

Web indexing is here! Have you tried it yet? What do you think? If you’re not a fan or if it feels like we’re taking away your best friend and asking you to make a new one, this article is for you. We know we’ve invited you to change the way you do things, and there are important reasons for that change.

The desktop program was a fantastic tool in its day, but the software has quickly become out of date and a bit cumbersome to perform simple maintenance or updates. It was originally designed for use in a workplace and the sheer number of indexers and amount of work you do have made it difficult for the program to keep up. Adding new features and improving the program was becoming more expensive every year. Plus, it made indexing a stationary activity. Volunteers could index only on a computer where the program had been previously downloaded.

What’s New

With the new web platform, you can index on any browser and with any desktop, laptop, or tablet device with an internet connection. No downloads or software updates are necessary! More types of projects will be available on the web program, and the new technology will allow FamilySearch to publish records more quickly than with the desktop program.

The web platform also allows FamilySearch to better scale the indexing program and enables constant improvements. If you don’t like what you see today, use the Feedback button in the top right hand corner to share your comments!

The feedback we receive about the product is being evaluated constantly, and improvements to the program based on that feedback are made on a regular basis.

Learn why the web indexing tool can help move indexing forward.

What’s Coming

A lot of you have goals you are steadfastly working towards. While those numbers are not currently reflected on the web system, FamilySearch has all of that information stored, and they will be updated in the new system as soon as possible. None of that information will be lost.

Learn why the web indexing tool can help move indexing forward.
Arbitration will no longer be part of the process. Instead of an arbitrator deciding between Person A and Person B’s work, now reviewers will simply double check the work of the indexer and make necessary changes before resubmitting the batch. It’s very similar to checking the work already done on a partial batch. You can receive Review rights after indexing 1,000 records in the new system.

Other additional desktop features you loved will be added to the web program soon, such as name and place Lookup Lists and the ability to hide and reorder fields.

Building an offline mode into the current program is being researched.

Thank You for Indexing!

There are many blessings that can come into your life as you continue to serve others through the indexing you do. Although this is a big change, we have seen many people who thought they would never get used to the new program come to love it. There is help if you need it. Feel free to contact FamilySearch with your questions and concerns.

Thank you for all you do to help make these records searchable so that we can all participate in gathering our families together.



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  1. I am getting along better though I am doing South Africa and taking a while to understand Boer. I could read some right away as I know a tiny bit of German. Have not been able to figure the duplicate system

  2. I am one of those disappointed with the new web based program. I have done several thousand Italian records in the past and intended to do them forever, however, there are several things about the new site that frustrate me. I really can’t explain in a small comment section all the changes that make indexing more difficult. (I’ll mention one: I use a Mac computer and the image seems like it is floating on the screen. I used to use the mouse to scroll up and down an image—-now it flies up and down and in and out.) Years ago there were many Italian projects to index. Why are there so few now and so many handwritten and not on forms?

  3. I may be doing something wrong. In looking at the available projects for the US, I see it is limited to Naturalization Records, Land Grants, Native American census rolls, and Deeds. A total of 7 different projects to choose from. In the previous program there were at least 15 -20 different projects to choose from with a great deal more variety. Am I missing something.

  4. We used to be able to see how well we were doing by checking our Arbitration Results. Is that an option anymore? I am reviewing a batch where the brother/sister capitalize everything…I am hoping they will be told NOT to do that and to read the project instructions. Is that still an option?

      1. Thank you! I was told the capital letters will be corrected at the end.
        I love Web Indexing…I can do it from any location I may be in.

    1. I am improving and getting to understand the new system after a thousand names guess I am slow. I can live with the new system. I would like some things changed, but at last I am getting some production. Cursive can be tough, but it always has been.

  5. I like some aspects of the web format but I miss the automatic fill-in when you type the first letter & the program ‘knows’ what you typed last & tries to repeat it. I also have a Mac & the images floated all over the place, as is mentioned in another post. (Even with the desktop version, the program was never Mac-friendly & I could never CTRL-C anything.) It is so frustrating to have to constantly move and adjust the image to work on a batch. PLEASE consider Mac users when developing any aspect of the web format. It took so much longer to complete my batch of 53 entries. Then I was left with 254 fields that needed to be marked ‘blank’ during quality checker and this was my 1st time with the web format. The ‘mark all blank’ was greyed out & I had to go through ‘mark as blank’ 254 times!

  6. It says in the “What’s Coming” section that review rights will be given after indexing 1000 records in the new system . I have only indexed a small portion of these and have been doing reviews. Does that mean that the reviews I have made are a waste of time, the web site has made a mistake, or some other reason?

    1. on the screen where it shows does this image need to be indexed? it automatically shows as yes, but you need to click on the drop down arrow and select, no, no extractable data

  7. Article lists desktop, laptop, or tablet- so, no iPhones or android devices? Is there any plan for them to work with the web-based program?

  8. Why did my indexing program change to Russian I can’t read or write Russian? I live in the United States-I can’t do indexing in Russian.

    1. Hello Ferril! I’m unsure why that’s happening to you, but it’s likely something in the settings. Are you having trouble with the website or the desktop application? If it’s the website’s indexing program, you may have luck following the instructions in this link from the Help Center. I hope this helps you!

    2. I was never an arbitrator, but now I find it very difficult to find batches to index. Most of them are not allowed. I spend more time looking for a batch to index than doing one. Can’t see why the soft ware artists can’t fix this? So I do review some now, but it is very difficult to average more than a few names a day if I am lucky enough to find an index-able batch[English). I also cannot figure out how send back a batch I do not want to index.

  9. One thing I do not like about the new web indexing is that it does not have the “look up” feature. That has helped me many times to decipher a name that I’m having difficulty making out. I would put what the name looked like and if the red line appeared I would do some testing with the names listed to see if it might possibly be one of them. If it looked like none of them I would still use what I had written-but many times I was able to see what the name was through the program

  10. Alison Ensign, do we have any update yet on when individual’s previous indexing/review totals will be aded to the web based indexing system? This has been promised for over a year now and if there’s anything I know about human psychology and motivation, I think getting that done would contribute to more folks increasing their indexing efforts in the new system than any other possible intervention. Any info on that would be appreciated 🙂

  11. Error
    An error has occurred that may affect your ability to use this page. FamilySearch has been notified.
    c2990565 | my-indexing:p4065260 Several days this error message has appeared… Why? I can’t index.

  12. I loved indexing with the app on the pc. I have a new pc and I can’t find an app anywhere to download. Does this mean I can only do web indexing? One of the things I really miss is the suggested surnames for Dutch names. Also the place names which I believe will be available on the web version. What I am concerned about is how to save my work in the web xersion, as it usually takes me several days to do a batch and I have been leaving my computer on because I don’t know how to save a batch that is partially completed.