FHL microfilm numbers vs. digital folder numbers

 
 
 
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kmccracken1951
kmccracken1951's picture
FHL microfilm numbers vs. digital folder numbers

I'm thoroughly confused by the film numbers on FamilySearch.

The record detail page for a specific record I viewed in the "Connecticut Marriages, 1640-1939" collection lists two numbers, a "GS Film Number 001316019" and a "Digital Folder Number 007730398".

In the film viewer, the second number appears as "Film # 007730398" at the top of the screen, but the first image on the film shows the first number (without the leading zeroes), 1316019.

If I look up the film in the catalog (under the generic title of "Records of births, marriages, and deaths, 1791-1903" for Bristol, Conn.), the catalog entry identifies it as items 1-2 of film 1316019, under the heading "Film/DGS". While the so-called "digital folder number" does not appear anywhere on the catalog page, the camera icon link to the film viewer uses that as the film number (https://familysearch.org/search/film/007730398?cat=469897).

It appears that either number, with or without leading zeroes, can be used in the Film/Fiche Number box in the catalog search to bring up the same catalog entries. So my question is, why are there two numbers, what is the difference between them, and which  one should be cited as the "FHL film number" when creating a citation?

Thanks for any enlightment you can provide.

EE
EE's picture

Kmccracken1951, the smaller number (1,316,019) is the number FHL assigned to the original microfilm. The larger number (7,730,398) identifies the digital file folder wherein digital images are kept. If we use the digital images, it's logical to cite the digital file. If we want to add to our notes the fact that the record also appears on FHL microfilm 1,316,019, from which the digital file was made, we certainly can do so.

The Editor

kmccracken1951
kmccracken1951's picture

Thank you. That makes sense now. It would help if FamilySearch were more consistent in their terminology.

rraymond
rraymond's picture

kmccracken1951,

My apologies for the confusion. We are still trying to determine the best terminology and the best user experience. 

As you and Elizabeth have already determined, GS number is another name for FHL microfilm or fiche number. DGS number is another name for Digital Folder number. Sometimes film number is displayed, sometimes digital number. Sometimes only one of the two exists. This often confuses the code that displays the citation. When you search for a number, you can always specify either one (I hope). 

It is no wonder users get confused!

 

Robert Raymond
FamilySearch

EE
EE's picture

Thanks, Robert, for weighing in.  One thing is for certain: Finding a system and a set of terms that works consistently for thousands of different record types is not easy. EE went through that--which is why the first edition was 10 years in the making. Terms and systems that worked for one type of record would work for some others but then fail with a different type of record that was created in a different fashion. With EE, I could simply go back to Square 1 and rethink (and redo) everything until all fit the newest and broadest set of parameters--eventually arriving at an approach and a set of terms that fit everything. At FamilySearch, you don't have that option to redo everything and delay production until your framework will cover everything that comes your way.

My hat is off to you and your colleagues for the challenges you are working through daily.

Grateful Lizzie.

The Editor