Wednesday, August 22, 2007

News You Just Have to Read!

I'm just so excited about this new development in the FamilySearch Record Access Program that I am at a loss for words. (Believe me that doesn't happen very often.) Below you will find my email correspondence with Paul Nauta, Manager of Public Affairs over the LDS Church Family & Church History Department. So this is no rumor, straight from the horses mouth, and verified.

To: Paul Nauta

I do have a question on something Dick Eastman mentioned on his blog concerning this subject.

"...all records published under this project must be made available at no charge to patrons at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and to patrons at local FamilySearch Family History Centers around the world. The information also must be available to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at no charge."

Are you able to discuss how the church members will have access? This sounded to me like "special access". I'm hoping here that we can access it from our homes and not necessarily at a FHC. Well, I can dream can't I.

Really appreciate anything you can tell me. Thanks again.

Renee Zamora

To: Renee Zamora

There are levels of access that FamilySearch will seek in all project negotiations. In all situations, the indices resulting from cooperative initiatives must be freely available online for patron use (at least through FamilySearch, but possibly through the record custodian or service provider's site also). Following are the levels of access we are seeking under the FamilySearch Records Access program, in priority order, respective to digital images linked to the indices created with commercial entities:
  1. Free access to digital images for Latter-day Saints from home (this would require authenticated log in).
  2. Free access to FamilySearch members (This option requires further exploration, but the concept is that individuals can earn the "right" to view digital images at affiliate/service provider sites by offering a required amount of "sweat equity". For example, X number of names indexed as a volunteer in a 30 day period through FamilySearch Indexing in return for X days of access to the pay-per-view images from the convenience of their homes)
  3. Free access to all through family history centers and the Family History Library
The desire to have images freely available to Latter-day Saints from their home on all contracted projects may not be feasible where commercial service providers are involved--these entities need some vehicle to receive a financial return on their investments in indexing the contracted projects. In these cases, there will be a pay-per-view option for individuals to see digital images at commercial sites from the convenience of their homes, but the access must at least be free through family history centers and the Family History Library. Projects where FamilySearch volunteers do the indexing will undoubtedly have free access to both the indices and the linked images as well.

Does that help clarify the fog a little?

Paul Nauta
Manager of Public Affairs
Family & Church History Department
FamilySearch (TM)


Anonymous said...

I am assuming this just refers to projects scanned and indexed through FamilySearch Indexing and not the partnerships with databases for their other content. RE: Heritage Quest, Footnote...

Renee Zamora said...

Don't assume anything everything is up for negotiations. It was not just referring to FamilySearch Indexing. There are several on going projects and thus access options and availability. This is such fresh news it's hard to tell all the implications and benefits.