31 pages | Published Sep 2013 | PDF (download-only) edition
Most genealogists and family historians these days are familiar with a variety of search engines used to locate information on the Internet. These include Google, Bing, and Yahoo as well as specialty search engines such as Mocavo. The process is pretty straight-forward: you enter your search terms and you get back a list of links to relevant websites.
But what if there were a search engine that allowed queries in the form of a question and, in fact, preferred that format? You could classify the resulting search engine as more of an answer engine than anything else. And what if you could take the concept one step further and have this answer engine also calculate information based on set input parameters? Great concept, right?
Well such a search engine does exist: Wolfram|Alpha (http://wolframalpha.com). What sets this computational knowledge engine apart from other search engines is the ability to pull data from external sources (meaning websites outside of Wolfram|Alpha) that are curated (meaning selected for their data reliability and sources).
About the Author
When he’s not busy writing blog posts, organizing the 3,000+ members of GeneaBloggers.com, teaching online genealogy webinars and more, Thomas MacEntee is busy in his role as “genealogy ninja.” Stealth is not always easy, but he manages to get the inside track on emerging technologies and vendors as they relate to the genealogy industry. After being laid off from a 25-year career in the tech industry in 2008, Thomas has been able to “repurpose” his skill set for the genealogy community and loves to see other genealogists succeed, whether it is with their own research or building their own careers in the field. You can reach Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Hack Genealogy.
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