Monday, June 16, 2008

The Ancestry Indexing Project

The Ancestry Insider recently let the "cat out of the bag" about the Ancestry Indexing Project which is currently in Beta testing.

The purpose of this project is (per the blog post) to:

"Ancestry will create digital images of archive records as the first step in the project. Volunteers who transcribe the records using Ancestry's indexing tool. Ancestry will then create an index and publish it free to everyone."

Individuals can still sign up to participate to hear about, index and test in this Project - see The interesting paragraph on this page is:

"That’s why we’re creating the World Archives Project, to let anyone help preserve the contents of these valuable documents in indexes that will remain FREE to the public. As a participant, you'll be the first to see new collections as you enter information into our database. You'll also get the satisfaction of helping families better understand their unique, meaningful stories."

Note that this says that the INDEX will be FREE for anyone to see. It doesn't say one word about the IMAGES that are indexed, does it?

The Ancestry Insider also provides a chronology of this project, which indicates that Juliana Smith posted about it in this post on her 24/7 Family History Circle blog back in early March. My memory must be shorter than three months, because I don't recall seeing it! Read the comments from months ago, too.

The question I have is:

"Will there be any incentives for people who participate by indexing databases from images in the Ancestry Indexing Project? Is this a pro-bono effort, or will they establish some sort of payback for helping them out - like reduced subscription prices for certain levels of participation?"

Such an incentive program might be real attractive to genealogists on fixed incomes who want to help the genealogy community and receive a bargain on an Ancestry subscription.

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