MyHeritage announced the launch of their revolutionary technology that will help individuals locate information about their ancestors that is found in books. It is called Book Matching. It automatically looks at the individuals that are in family trees on MyHeritage and looks for them in MyHeritage’s vast collection of digitized historical books.
How does it work? Book Matching uses something called semantic analysis to understand every sentence on every page in the MyHeritage digitized books collection. It compares the family trees that are on MyHeritage to what is found in the digitized books.
Every match is in the form of a paragraph from a book that is specifically about an individual person in someone’s family tree. The match provides the user with direct access to that particular paragraph and also gives them the ability to browse through the rest of the book. Doing so could help put what Book Matching found into context.
Book Matching solves a problem that genealogists face when they try and search old books for information about their ancestors. Google your ancestor’s name, and the search engine might come up with links that at first glance appear to be about your ancestor. Take a closer look, and you may discover that Google found information about an unrelated person who had the same name as your ancestor.
The reason this happens is because it is difficult for search engines to scan through a book effectively. A book might have a person’s first and last name, but then refer to them by only the first name after that. (Or worse, by a nickname!) An obituary will often list a date of death. Books, on the other hand, can use any number of colorful euphemisms to note that a person has died.
As such, MyHeritage had to build their own algorithms to help Book Matching sort through the information that is found in books. They have “a huge number of rules” just for detecting expressions that describe death. Specialized technology was created to help Book Matching identify when a book starts by talking about one individual, but then moves to another person in the same family who both have the same surname.
Right now, Book Matching is currently available for English books, only. MyHeritage is working on providing it for books that are written in other languages. MyHeritage users can find out if they have any Book Matches simply by logging into the website and checking their Record Matches. Users can also check their inbox for their Record Match emails.
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