I thought I’d share this post with you. Its from Dick Eastman, an extremely tech-savvy genealogist.
He responds to an email from someone who is horrified that alot of the books in the FamilySearch Family History Library are being digitised so they can be put online, and the original hard copies aren’t being replaced on their shelves.
This Library/Research Centre is “Mecca” for someone in my field (along with The Fred J. Reynolds Historical Genealogy Department in Allen County Public Library.)
For those who don’t know, FamilySearch is the genealogical organisation owned and run by the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Although they have their own reasons to do with their faith for genealogical research, they offer their resources/services worldwide free, to anyone regardless of their beliefs.
In their Granite Mountain vaults, they have millions of microfilms that are being digitised so they can be put online on their free website, and their books and serials in the FamilySearch Family History Centre are also being microfilmed so they can be OCRed. They are said to be running the world’s biggest digitisation project.
Anyway, have a read of this post and see what you think, and how it may relate to us as librarians (or researchers) in the future:
As a researcher, I am excited about the possibility of being able to access such richness online. As a librarian, I have subdued mixed feelings about the “destruction of books”, even if it is for the “greater good”. I’m sure they have a preservation process for their most precious titles.
I thought the points discussed were thought provoking and not dissimilar to discussions we’ve all had – you might be interested in his opinions about the digital versus “real” books debates that we are hearing and participating in!