Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Future of Genealogy - Part 1 (1998 version)

At the CVGS "Genealogy Online" seminar two weekends ago, I was asked the question "What is the future of genealogy on the Internet?" I wish I could remember the things that I rattled off in response - it was at the end of my four hour stand-up stint and I was a bit fried. Having had almost two weeks to think about it, I'm almost ready to respond.

I figured that somebody much more knowledgeable than I has already answered this question and posted it on the Internet, so I went looking for the deathless predictions of genealogy experts.

The first article I found was by Mark Howells (you know, he's married to Cyndislist) who has written many genealogy articles over the years. In 1998, he wrote "The Future of Internet Genealogy - Twelve Predictions." The twelve on his list were:

1) Putting your genealogy research results on the Internet will continue to become simpler and easier.

2) The resulting formats of web publishing will continue to improve.

3) The veracity of the information published on the Internet will continue to be variable but Internet genealogists will recognize and deal effectively with this variability.

4) More genealogically relevant information will be published on the Internet by public institutions.

5) More of our cousins will get "wired" into the Internet.

6) Interacting with institutions will become easier and a more common part of Internet genealogy.

7) Traditional genealogical societies will conduct more organized interaction on the Internet.

8) Genealogy interest groups and associations focusing on the technology of computers or the Internet will decline in prevalence as computers and the Internet increasingly assume their role as standard tools of the genealogist.

9) More collaborative efforts will emerge as a result of Internet-connected genealogists sharing their work towards common goals.

10) Civil registration authorities, archives, and the major genealogy libraries will enter the Internet genealogy marketplace with pay-for-use services.

11) Traditional genealogy societies will increase the number of their goods and services available for purchase over the Internet.

12) Major genealogy companies will continue to develop and sell Internet-provided products and services.

Please read all of Mark's article for more context and information.

For 1998, that was a really good list, wasn't it? Think back nine years - we had decent genealogy software, most people accessed the Internet through a dial-up modem, there were forum sites like Prodigy, CompuServe and AOL with genealogy communities, etc. But there were no large databases online yet, there were few images online, and Web 2.0/wikis had not been invented yet. I think Mark did a great job with his answer.

I'll look for more articles on this subject before I write my own response to the question. Please trhink about it and formulate your own predictions - and either post them on your own blog or as a comment on my last post.

1 comment:

sajosovic said...

Here is an article by Dick Eastman: - 56k