The Church is working on a beta program that will allow third-party developers to apply for approved access to the Church’s repository of gospel content. The access will require developers to sign an intellectual property license agreement and will specify what content is approved for distribution. The third-party developers will then receive an API that allows them to access Church content (such as magazines, manuals, scriptures, conference addresses, and other gospel resources) for use in their applications.
Not long ago, my wife received a new calling as the ward photographer. Her task, like many of her predecessors in wards around the world, was to create a ward photo directory for the bishopric to use. The bishopric was new, and learning names as well as faces was important.
My wife (and later a second ward photographer) spent hours corralling ward members after church or at ward functions to take family pictures. This was followed by cropping, editing, and creating a document with ward family names and contact information. Finally, printed photos were placed into the pages of the newly created binder with tabs. By the time they finished, there were already move-ins and move-outs to contend with.
Create.lds.org allows you to share your talents by providing media that can be used to share the gospel worldwide. The site currently allows you to submit your photos and videos, but in the future you will be able to submit much more.
After you submit your photos or videos, Church designers will look for submitted media that meets their project needs and use it in magazines, videos, brochures, presentations, and other Church products. Members will be able to download much of what is submitted for their own gospel-oriented, non-commercial use, such as creating a video.
Many project leaders have high hopes when they see 20+ volunteers on their projects, but they soon realize that numbers alone don’t translate into productivity. Finding a way to make your team of volunteers more productive is a constant challenge. A team of 50 or more volunteers may still yield low productivity if the project leader doesn’t understand how to lead community volunteers.
Despite the techniques managers have in leading employees, the techniques for leading community volunteers can differ substantially. Volunteers are located remotely, they work according to different schedules, they have varying time commitments, they are driven by different motivations, and they possess a variety of skill levels. Leading a successful community project requires you to take all of this into account as you orchestrate your plans. The following are seven best practices for increasing volunteer productivity.
LDSTech is one of the many community projects available. The goal of the LDSTech project is to improve the development and design of the overall LDSTech website. Although the LDSTech website has several elements (a blog, wiki, and forum), the project team is focusing most of its energy on the new Projects area of LDSTech.
Tom DeForest, an interaction designer, is the project lead for the LDSTech website project team. His team works on the site's user interface, trying to make the LDSTech website as user-friendly as possible. Currently Tom’s team is trying to make sure the interface of the new Projects tab allows users to intuitively access all the tab’s capabilities.
During our last LDSTech Conference, a small project team led by Hilton Campbell, Steve Mann, Simon Kerrou, and Jeff Macmichael used advances in smartphone technology to develop a Clean Water Evaluation app. The app will increase the efficiency and timeliness of project reports for the Church’s Clean Water Initiative.
The team started developing the app during the conference and finished it within six weeks after the conference. After the app is integrated into a Church database, it will be released officially.
The Church’s Clean Water Initiative is involved in over 50 projects annually that bless more than a million people. The projects are designed to provide sustainable access to clean drinking water in communities where clean drinking water is largely unavailable.
Currently senior missionaries visit a sampling of water projects and fill out a paper evaluation form. The form often gets torn, crinkled, soiled, or lost. The evaluation forms that actually make their way home have to be entered into a spreadsheet, thus increasing the inefficiency of the process with a double-entry.
Over 7,000 webcast events were generated in 2010, and today there are close to 800 stakes worldwide that are currently using either the Webcast Communicator device or the Meetinghouse Webcast software.
Under the direction of the stake president, webcasting allows you to broadcast stake meetings to other buildings within your stake, reducing travel burdens and saving money for local members and leaders.
For geographically large stakes, or stakes where the entire membership cannot fit into a single meetinghouse at one time, the Meetinghouse Webcast software enables you to broadcast a meeting across the Internet at no cost to the ward or stake. (Note: Webcasting any meeting must be approved by the Stake Presidency prior to initiating the broadcast.)
The purpose of the Joseph Smith Papers project is to make widely available all the writings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The goal is to publish meticulously prepared transcripts of every document Joseph Smith wrote, dictated, or had others write for him, along with detailed notes helping explain the context and substance of the writings.
The project also includes documents Joseph Smith received and kept in his office, such as incoming correspondence. Much of the content will be published in 20+ printed volumes, but the website will contain the comprehensive set of documents—thousands in all—free of charge.
At the last LDSTech Conference and the May Service Day, Alan Smoot and I recorded some quick, informal interviews with a number of on-site participants at the Riverton Office Building. You can watch these videos below. There are 17 videos in all, each about 3-5 minutes long.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owns or manages over 150 properties dedicated for Young Women Camp. Although most of these properties are in the western United States, some are operated in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and other countries.
Some of these properties are immense, with thousands of acres and camping space for thousands of young women at a time. Some have large lodges, cabins, or dormitories, with indoor plumbing, hot showers and commercial kitchens. Many other properties are much smaller with simple improvements such as a covered pavilion, basic restroom facilities, an outdoor amphitheater, fire pits, outdoor water spigots, and picnic tables.
Although some of these properties have a web presence through sites developed and hosted by BYU and other sites, these websites are dated, and in many ways insufficient for the needs of the properties. Many properties have no web presence at all, and are therefore underutilized, especially on weekends and holidays.
The purpose of the Recreational Properties Project is to provide a common website for all recreational properties, which will facilitate greater utilization of these wonderful camping locations. The website will provide a Google Map function, with a tent marker showing the location of each property. Each property will have its own page with photos and descriptions of the facilities, activities, and camp sites, as well as information on camping capacity. Maps of the property, and directions to the property, will also be included.
Most importantly, this new site will provide an improved scheduling function supporting the priority scheduling of week-long Young Women camps, and Church sponsored activities. After Young Women camps and Church sponsored activities have been scheduled, families and groups will be able to use the site to search for available dates and locations when the properties can be used for a nominal fee. Payments will be made through the site, supporting unit-to-unit funds transfers for Church sponsored activities, and credit card payments for other group and family reservations.
The features of this new site will be implemented over the course of the next few months, with added features provided in several regular updates. The initial release will use a very basic brochure-type layout, with a simple property description, GPS coordinates, a representative photo of the property, and contact information for each property. This brochure will also provide a property announcements feature. Future updates will complete the brochure by adding additional details regarding individual campsites, facilities, activities, maps and directions.
Participants on this project will join an enthusiastic group of developers, testers, designers, and other tech-savvy members.
To get involved in the Recreation Properties project, sign in with your LDS Account in the sidebar, and then click Projects at the top. Click the Projects subtab to see a list of all community projects. Scroll down and click Recreation Properties in the left column. Then click Join.