Friday, May 18, 2007

New Records Access Program announced

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune, "Online genealogy just got easier," summarizes efforts of the LDS Church to make more records available to researchers sooner. For the first time ever, the LDS Church is joining forces with various archives, libraries and family-history web sites in an effort to open a floodgate of free records and images onto the Internet. Under the Records Access program, unveiled this week at a conference of genealogists in Richmond, Va., the collaboration will provide free services to archives and other records custodians who wish to digitize, index, publish and preserve their collections.

The new program will speed up the process of indexing and posting billions of records and reduce costs for each party involved, said Steve W. Anderson, marketing manager for Ancestry is not among the church's partners in its Records Access program. In the article CEO Tom Sullivan casts some doubt on "the church's
model" to have volunteers indexing the data, but notes also, "Anything the church does will move the industry forward." Ancestry recently terminated its agreement providing free access to at Family History Centers worldwide. For researchers, the Records Acces program and its new collaborations is exciting news, providing greater choice.

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