Thursday, October 9, 2014

Finding NYGBR Images Using PERSI on - UPDATED

I posted about searching for periodical articles in PERSI (PERiodical Source Index) on FindMyPast in Tuesday's Tip - Find Periodical Sources in PERSI - the Periodical Source Index on FindMyPast (posted 4 February 2014).  

Last night's DearMYRTLE's Wacky Wednesday discussed using PERSI on, and demonstrated how to search and find periodical listings - you can watch it at on YouTube.

FindMyPast announced that they had digital images of some periodicals in earlier announcements (which I cannot find now - Help!) which included some volumes of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record (NYGBR), and they announced more periodicals in Brand New Images Added to PERSI on 12 September 2014.  I can't find a complete list of the periodicals with images on their website - perhaps someone can point me to a page?

UPDATE:  Jen Baldwin (USA/Canada Outreach Manager for FindMyPast) commented that:  

"... here is the link to the full list of publications that have images attached. When I reviewed it just a moment ago, I realized NYG&B is not included, so we will correct that error immediately.

"All of our announcements of new additions will be on our blog, as well as on the Findmypast Fridays post, which is a weekly update of new content to the site. "

I worked a bit in PERSI last night while watching the PERSI video, and finally worked out how to get to a specific volume year and a specific article in that year.  So I want to share that with my readers.

1)  From the home page, and signed into my account, I clicked on the "Search records" button to see the dropdown list of record types:

2)  To get to the PERSI collection, click on the "Newspapers & periodicals" item on the dropdown list above.

Then click on the "PERiodical Source Index" radio button.  That brings up the PERSI search page, with information about PERSI in the main part of the page.  The search fields are at the top of the page, and the Filters are in the left-hand column on the page (two screens below, some overlap):

I can search these records, or I can use the Filters to find articles in a specific periodical for a specific periodical year (for instance, if I have a source citation that cites an article in a given year).

3)  In order to select a specific periodical, use the Filter of "Periodical" in the left-hand column, click on the blue "Show Filters" button to see a list of all of the periodicals offered on PERSI.

The list is alphabetical.  You can use the Alpha letter at the top of the popup box.  I wanted a New York periodical, so I clicked N and then worked through to the screen for the NYGBR:

Of course, that's the hard way - I could have put "new york" in the search field at the top right of the popup box and gone to it easily.  I clicked on the check box for the NYGBR on the screen above, and then clicked on the blue "Apply filters" button on the screen above.

4)  The "Publication" Filter now shows the NYGBR, and the search results list only the articles in PERSI from the NYGBR.  There are 7,374 articles indexed.  However, not all of them have images (top two screens shown)

At this point, I could put a Last Name, Location, and/or Keyword in the search field at the top of the screen and have it find articles for me in the specific publication.

4)  I didn't do that, because I wanted to browse the periodical.  There is a "Publication year" field below the Filters in the left-hand column.  I wanted to see what articles were in the 1920 volume of the NYGBR, so I put "1920" in the "Publication Year" field and set the year range to zero (default is plus/minus two years).

There were 54 articles indexed in the 1920 Volume (two screens shown below):

5)  I wanted to see the article for the Andrew Carnegie obituary.  

There are two icons for each article on the right-hand side of the list of results - one for the periodical image, and one for the periodical article summary.

Clicking on the periodical image icon, I saw the cover page of Issue 1 of the periodical for the year 1920 (Note that NYGBR is a quarterly, so there should be 4 issues in the year).  Clicking on the Image icon for any article will take you to the cover page of the issue of interest.

I could advance to the next page by clicking on the right arrow at the right-hand edge of the screen above.

The Andrew Carnegie obituary was on image 5, so that was a relatively easy find:

I can print or download the page with the links at the bottom right of the screen.  The button to "View transcription) and the link to  "View full page transcription" doesn't provide a full page transcription, only the article description in PERSI.  The button to "Attach to tree" does work.

The user can go back to the "Results" list with the link at the top left of the screen.

6)  So how can I find an article of interest in, say, Issue 4 of the 1920 volume?  The brute force way is to page through all of the volume and issue one page at a time.  This gets old pretty quickly.

What I found was this:

*  For a given publication year, the articles in the Results are in chronological order.  So Issue 1 is at the top of the list and issue 4 is at the bottom.  You can tell which Issue the article is in by looking at the periodical article summary (use the Article icon).
*  Clicking on the Image icon takes you to the cover page of the Issue. 
*  The next page is the list of articles in that issue, with page numbers in the printed version.
*  You can skip to a specific page by noting the page number of the article by chaning the URL at the top of your browser.
*  Then you can home in on the article by using the page numbers shown on the page images.

For instance, the URL for the Andrew Carnegie page (numbered 1) above is:

You can see the publication Year (1920) in the URL, followed by "n1" for Issue number 1.  The image number for the Carnegie article is "0005" in the characters soon after "n1."

Say I wanted to go to page 63 in Issue 1 without paging through all of the pages.  I can put my cursor in the URL address bar on my browser and change the image number to 63, so that the URL looks like:

But that is actually page 55, since the image count and page numbers don't line up for some reason.  If I want page 63, I need to edit the URL again to image 71.

That worked, I got to the article I wanted to see.  But it took several steps to iterate to the article of interest.

7)  I think that anyone using the periodical images in PERSI on FindMyPast will face these problems, even if they have searched for a name, location, and/or key word.  

For many of the digitized publications, that have a limited number of pages in each issue, going page by page to a certain page from the cover page will be easier.  However, for publications like NYGBR, with over 100 pages per issue, it is a challenge, and the method above may be useful.

Obviously, this process is fairly cumbersome for everybody, and probably impossible for many to understand and follow.  It would be great if FindMyPast would link the Image icon to the first page of the article, like other database providers do.  But failing that, the process above can be used to minimize the time it takes to find page images of a specific article.

UPDATE:  Jen Baldwin (USA/Canada Outreach Manager of FindMyPast) commented on my suggestion in email this morning:  

" made comments about linking the images directly to the article, and unfortunately, that is not possible. The index from ACPL was not created with page numbers from inside the publications. Because we get the data directly from the team at that facility, and upload it as they create it, there is no way to adapt that. They have, as you are well aware, been working on this index for a long time. To try to go back now and list a page number for each article would be a massive undertaking. This was true for the HeritageQuest version, and others.

"The search filters that are in place for the PERSI collection were designed to specifically work for this unique collection. We have done our best to set up the process focusing on ease of use and accessibility to the materials, but again, within the confines of the index as it has existed over the course of the last 25 years or so."

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Jen Baldwin said...

Hi Randy,
Thanks once again for featuring PERSI and Findmypast!
First, here is the link to the full list of publications that have images attached. When I reviewed it just a moment ago, I realized NYG&B is not included, so we will correct that error immediately.

All of our announcements of new additions will be on our blog, as well as on the Findmypast Fridays post, which is a weekly update of new content to the site.

As you described, truly the best way to utilize the PERSI search is a combination of the filters, which were specifically chosen for this particular collection, and the standard search in the top horizontal search bar.

We certainly appreciate any and all comments and suggestions for improving the functionality of PERSI and Findmypast in general. We work on this collection quite literally every day, so believe me, we are listening! All of your posts, and other material we find from our users, is given a high priority, as we know your time is valuable, and even more so your genealogy time.

Thank you again, and please feel free to be in touch if you have any questions regarding the process of digitizing the material in PERSI. We are just getting started, and already have over 23,000 images attached in the collection.

Kind regards,
Jen Baldwin
Outreach Manager, Findmypast

P.S. The captcha image I got for this comment is a headstone! :)