Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Genealogical Societies Should Consider Ancestry Content Publisher

I listened to the MySociety Radio show on Saturday on Blog Talk Radio - did you?  The subject was Digital Publishing for Preservation and Community Building, hosted by Thomas MacEntee, and featuring Mark Weaver of Ancestry.com.

The Ancestry Content Publisher page describes the concept as:

"Ancestry.com Content Publisher Beta is a FREE online publishing service which provides easy-to-use tools and dedicated support to help you convert your historical digital records into professionally indexed, searchable collections to better serve your patrons and build a more active community."

A society needs to Set Up an Organization Profile, and then after acceptance can start providing imaged records and/or indexes to historical record content that they can legitimately provide.

There is a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page which covers most of the questions that individuals and societies might have about the concept, the process and digitizing/indexing collections.

The San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS), of which I am a proud and active member, is the first society with published records online using Ancestry Content Publisher - the SDGS Group Profile is here.  There are six collections currently available - three are completely indexed, and three are being indexed.  Here is a screen shot of the page:

Most genealogists can see the real benefits of partnering with Ancestry.com on this venture.  The advantages I see include:

*  Free hosting of a society's record images a branded page, accessible for free by any user.

*  Entries in the searchable index can be found in an Ancestry search.

*  The society can make the index available on Ancestry.com, and keep the digital images behind their subscription wall (according to what I heard on the radio show).

What are the drawbacks?

*  The society has to create the scanned images of the records and create the indexes.

*  The society group profile is on an Ancestry.com page, which will bring out the "Ancestry.com is stealing free content..." frenetics. 

I think it's a Win-Win-Win for all concerned - societies get their content published, Ancestry gets more content, and researchers get access to more digital record collections, most of which will be  unavailable anywhere else.  

I look forward to discussing this concept and the details with Mark Weaver and his staff at the FGS Conference this week.

For more information about Ancestry Content Publisher, please see their web page http://publish.ancestry.com/.

1 comment:

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Appears to me to be a program that should be widely considered by societies across the country... large and small. Win-win-win... I like that. Could also be draw for young members to get involved locally, as well. ;-)