Tidal Wave of Online Databases Will Result
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH-FamilySearch announced today its Records Access program to increase public access to massive genealogy collections worldwide. For the first time ever, FamilySearch will provide free services to archives and other records custodians who wish to digitize, index, publish, and preserve their collections. The program expands FamiliySearch's previously announced decision to digitize and provide online access to over 2 million rolls of copyrighted microfilm preserved in the Granite Mountain Records Vault. A key component of the program allows FamilySearch and archives to team with genealogy websites to provide unprecedented access to microfilm in the vault. The combined results ensure a flood of new record indexes and images online at www.FamilySearch.org and affiliated websites.
The plan combines the assets and experience of the Genealogical Society of Utah with the state-of-the-art technology resources of FamilySearch-all under the single brand name of FamilySearch. The Records Access program allows records custodians to publish their data online by themselves or with the assistance of FamilySearch or affiliate genealogical websites and historical societies.
"Records custodians worldwide are experiencing growing pressure to provide access to their records online while maintaining control and ownership. At the same time, websites that provide digitizing and publishing services are struggling with the staggering costs," said Wayne Metcalfe, director of Records Services for FamilySearch. "The new Record Access program takes advantage of FamilySearch's resources and creates an economical and effective forum where record custodians and genealogical websites can work together to accomplish their respective objectives," added Metcalfe.
Working with the records custodians, FamilySearch can leverage its extensive microfilm and growing digital image collection to create digital images for affiliate genealogical websites at a fraction of the cost. The affiliate genealogy organization will create indices of the digital images and then publish the images and the indices on its own website, the archive's website, or a jointly published site. A copy of the index will also be made available for free on the popular FamilySearch website, which will help drive traffic to record images on the custodians' or affiliates' sites. Full, free access to both the indices and images will be provided to family history centers, FamilySearch managed facilities, and the archives. If the record custodian seeks revenue to sustain operations, a small fee may be required to access images outside FamilySearch managed facilities or the archive.
For archives and heritage societies, the new program benefits include:
Digitally capture, preserve, and publish records online
Increase access to records while maintaining control and ownership
Increase patronage and business viability
Over 100 years of archival and publishing experience
For genealogy websites, the new program helps them:
- Benefit from the knowledge and relationships of FamilySearch with the archival community worldwide
- Significantly lower costs associated with acquiring, preserving, or providing access to data
- Increase business viability and website traffic
- Leverage an open platform that develops value-added services around FamilySearch, the world's largest repository of genealogical data.
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