Sunday, April 11, 2010

How can SGS benefit from the digital revolution?

Sometimes it seems to me that SGS is missing the boat; the digital revolution has left us behind. Yes, we've had a website for over 10 years, but in my opinion, it really can't compete with those of other genealogy organizations. Many societies have years of digital publications--both newsletters and research/article-rich pubs--available on their websites. Some have iploaded large searchable databases, like area cemetery records or vital records, to their sites. Still others have full library catalogs, searchable family group sheets submittd by their members, and numerous other types of searchable records available on-line. Many genealogical societies limit access to these records to their members only; others let anyone access them.

What should SGS be doing? Should we be scanning and indexing records currently in our possession? Should we offer records to someone else [like Ancestry, Footnote, or FamilySearch] to digitize? What should come first? How should we proceed? Where will we find the volunteers, equipment, and funds to do this? I was digging around in some cabinets at SGS the other day and "discovered" about a dozen notebooks/folders of family group sheets submitted by our members in the 1970s and 1980s. Most have no source information. Are they worth scanning and indexing? Could they help someone break down a "brick wall"?

I've scheduled a meeting for this Wednesday evening, April 14th, from 7 to 9 pm, at SGS for people interested in making SGS more "digital" to share ideas and discuss what we should be doing in this area and how we should be doing it. If you're interested in this topic, please come. If you're interested and can't attend, please email me your interest []. The number of people who show up on Wednesday and/or email me their interest will determine how we proceed.

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