FamilySearch –  Digital Books and a New Partnership

Note:  We hope that you have noticed the warning of a technical upgrade at FamilySearch.org on 27 June 2016.  The website may be unavailable for up to 24 hours. While I don’t know exactly what is being done during that day, I do note the word “technical” so assume they are working on issues in the way the website servers work and are connected to other servers.  We can only wish the engineers well in their work and hope that FamilySearch will return quickly with improved performance.  We are grateful for all the family history information provided with free access.

FamilySearch announced a partnership with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) on 22 June 2016 – see https://familysearch.org/blog/en/dpla-familysearch-partner-expand-access-digitized-historic-books-online/ .  I found this interesting and went to https://dp.la/ to learn about DPLA.  I was able to use the site for free and was impressed by the size of their collection – the DPLA is a collection of 13.2 million items!  Wow – definitely a rich resource.  The challenge is finding the family history or genealogical gems that are in the massive collection.  FamilySearch views this as an opportunity to increase access to the digital book collection at FamilySearch – now over 200,000 items.  That collection is really growing!

This lead me to consider how to use the digital book collection at FamilySearch:

  1. You access the Books under the menu Search.
  2. Putting in just a family name produces some interesting results – all things are family history so searching for FH items is easier than a large general digital book collection.
  3. Consider using the Advanced Search – which is very easy to use but gives more search options – and may produce better results.
  4. In the past I have been concerned about the speed of access but recently I have noticed a significant improvement.
  5. After you do a search notice that you have the option to change the sort order.  Default is Sorted By Relevance but you could also select Date-newest, Popularity,  Author, or Title.
  6. We need to think about digital copyright access rules when accessing books. When selecting items we need to consider: as (a) is there a limit on the number of patrons allowed to access one item at the same time?  and (b). is that item available only if you are not in a Family History Centre or the FH Library in Salt Lake? If you encounter one of these situations you may not be able to access the item.  The link Details under each result on the list provides information about the resource, scroll down and you find information about Access Rights – is it Public or Protected?  Protected does not mean you won’t be able to access the book – but it may fall under the access limitations mentioned above.

The digital book collection at FamilySearch is well worth using!  Remember that in addition to Family Histories, there are also some very valuable reference works.  Please try it!

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