Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Is No News Good News?

After two whole days of genea-blog exile, I have the urge to post. I really can't resist it, unfortunately.

Have you noticed that most of the HOT news in the genealogy world this week is not really news? It's shuffling the deck. It's all process, not content. To wit:

1) Inc decides to change the name of their company to The Generations Network. Ho-hum. What's the point? Maybe a marketeer can explain? Did they do a survey? Maybe nobody considered the web sites to be their family. Why didn't they just name it The Genealogy Network? Or the Ancestry Network, if they like that buzzword so much. All I see is having to change all of the references in everybody's database that presently says MyFamily.

2) Cambridge Information Group purchased ProQuest Company, which includes HeritageQuestOnline databases. There are more details that have been published by Richard Eastman and others on their blogs. More process, not news. No information is provided about how it will affect genealogists. If HQO gets renamed again, then all of our sources in our databases need to be changed.

3) Ancestry magazine announced that they are relaunching the magazine with better content or whatever. Doesn't this announcement mean that the magazine has been losing market share in the past years, as competitors have sprung up in traditional paper received through the mail and as Internet magazines delivered via web or email? If the content really changes for the better, then this is actually good news. We'll see.

Re-reading my points after writing them seems real negative, but I am really not impressed by process things - I am impressed by content.

On the positive side, we've had fun with granddaughter Lauren (22 months old) - we spent an hour at the mall today watching her crawl all over the toddler play equipment, and than eating Mongolian food (she loves noodles and tofu). We made gingerbread houses tonight - with candy implanted in the frosting on the house roof and sides. Of course, she had to eat some of it - big grins, giggles and laughs, blue mouth and nose-tip - priceless!

I'll post real news when I find it...


Jasia said...

Amen Randy. I've thought the same thing this week... same old stuff. Who cares?

It's nice to hear you're enjoying your time with your granddaughter!

I'm still shopping, still wrapping, still cooking, still haven't gotten all my Christmas cards out. Still feeling behind with everything.

Drew Smith said...

Randy, I always have to keep in mind that these press releases aren't necessarily written with genealogists in mind, but often instead with investors in mind.

I can understand MyFamily's not choosing "Genealogy" as part of their name, considering how often that word is misspelled. And because their MyFamily sites aren't necessarily about genealogy, I can see why they wouldn't pick a name like "Ancestry" either. The broader the name, the easier it is for them to go into family-related areas that aren't necessarily about genealogy.

Keep in mind that ProQuest has a lot more in its Information and Learning division than just HeritageQuest Online, so this item probably has more effect on people outside of genealogy than inside it. For instance, these kinds of things do have impact on the libraries that subscribe to the products (you're now dealing with a different vendor, who may or may not bundle the databases together and give you a better deal). Eventually, these things have impact on the library patrons that use the databases, but the process is almost invisible to the patron.

I've noticed that most magazines and websites like to update themselves every few years, so Ancestry Magazine's action may not be major news, but it's better news than when they dropped Genealogical Computing!

Finally, I don't think you have to make any changes to your citations. If you cited a book, and the publisher was bought by another company (or the publisher changed its name), you wouldn't feel the need to go back and change the citation. You always cite what you yourself see, which means you use the name it had at the time you cited it. Besides, the key part ( or HeritageQuest Online) didn't change, and that's what people are going to use to find the same information.

Gee, did I ramble on enough?

Tim Agazio said...

Randy, we were thinking alike...I posted something similar in my blog...I reacted to the name change with a yawn. I just wonder what the press release means about "making it more mainstream and indispensable to families?" I'm with you...they can make it better by adding more content.

Jasia said...

Either Drew missed the point or I did. Of course I understand why the companies involved issued press releases. What I don't understand is why virtually every genea-blogger felt the need to retell these stories. Is there a large contingent of readers out there who only read one genea-blog?

I read what's already been written on "the commercial blogs" EOG, Ancestry, and Legacy and make a point of not writing what's already been covered. Who wants to read old news? These blogs have huge distribution and I can't imagine anyone who reads my blog doesn't also read the commercial blogs. So why tell the story again?

Steve said...

What press releases? ;)