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Archive for the ‘Internet Archive’ Category

Genealogy Books - special collections -- horizontal pictureBooks always come first with me. When I am starting a new topic or discovering a weakness in my research methods, there is nothing like following an explanation in a book. They tend to start simple and explain things step-by-step, rather than hurling you into the middle of things unprepared.  I first look for what is available locally, both here at Newton and then within the network. Anyone with a computer should be able to check any library’s online catalog.  You could do a keyword search, just putting in the name of the country and the word genealogy.  Besides books devoted only to that country, this would also bring up books that had just a section or a chapter on the topic. An example is The Family Search Guidebook to Europe by Allison Dolan which has sections on both France and Spain. If you get too many hits, you can limit your search to  subject. Change your selection from “Keyword” to “Subject.” Next type the name of the country or topic, then the word  “genealogy” followed by the word “handbooks.”  The word handbooks will tell you that it’s a “how to” book.

9. Use online catalogs and Interlibrary loan.What if your local libraries have nothing you can use. If a local or network search doesn’t work, you might want to check the Library of Congress catalog (http://www.loc.gov) or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City (https://familysearch.org/eng/library/fhlc).  (The Family History Library will even let you know what books you can access directly online.)  Once you find a title that interests you, you can always go into  the mother of all catalogs known as World Cat. Going to its web address of  http://www.worldcat.org will show you if a copy of the book of interest exists in a library closer to home. You can then put the books on your  list, noting where they are located. If you are keeping your list online, you can add a live link.  When you want the book, you can request it through your local library’s Inter Library Loan system.  Just give yourself plenty of lead time.

Internet Archive sign at the BPLTwo other sources for older, out-of-copyright books are the Internet Archive and Google Books. Internet Archive actually has an entire section devoted to genealogy.  Go to https://archive.org/details/genealogy and take a look. To find out more about how to use Google Books, click on http://www.google.com/googlebooks/about.  Thomas Kemp of GenealogyBank has done an article on using both Internet Archive and GoogleBooks  that you can read by clicking HERE .  I always check out Internet Archive first. I find it easier to find books there.

vea/7 August 2014
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy
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Recently I did a blog posting about the Internet Archive at the Boston Public Library. Since that time I have been working with it more than I have in the past.  I know the Boston Public Library has put all of their older books relating to genealogy into the Internet Archive.  (This is the collection that is housed in their Social Sciences Collection on the second floor of their older McKim building. ) With just one genealogy collection this large, let alone the the collections that other libraries  have been adding, it seemed logical that the Internet Archive would have a category devoted to genealogy.  I went hunting.  It takes a few clicks  to get there.  If you click on one of the options below, you will find five screenshots that will show you how to get there.

USING THE INTERNET ARCHIVE FOR GENEALOGY (Screenshots in Microsoft Word)

USING THE INTERNET ARCHIVE FOR GENEALOGY (Screenshots in PDF format)

A WORD OF WARNING REGARDING A SIMILAR WEBSITE.  The Internet Archive is absolutely free to use.  You can usually download books into your computer to use as needed.  It has a specific arddress: https://archive.org. If you find yourself at a site that offers a seven day free trial it is not this site.  There is another site whose web address ends in archives [plural, not singular].com [not .org] that is a for profit site.  This other site will ask you for a credit card to access its free trial.  I have known two people who have used this second site.  They have not been able to opt out by clicking a designated spot on the website.  Both had to actually phone the company.  Neither found anything useful at this second site.  I repeat, there is no cost to use the Internet Archive site I am citing.  You will NOT be asked for your credit card.

vea/17 November 2012
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com Exploring Newton’s Past (LibGuide) : http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy?hs=a

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To me, there is nothing like having a book in my hands or an original record on the table in front of me.  Sometimes seeing the original gives you that one piece of information that you need that you would not get from it online. At the same time, none of us have unlimited resources (time or money).  The only things that do appear to be unlimited are the books and records that just might contain the information we are seeking.

Thank goodness for digitization. Although what is available online is still the tip of the iceberg, that tip keeps getting bigger thanks to grants for digitization projects and groups like the Internet Archive.  We are able to quickly search an entire online book electronically for one piece of information or read it page by page for a more in depth study.

Recently I had the opportunity to visit the Internet Archive at its Northeast Regional Scanning Center, conveniently located at the Boston Public Library.  The Archive digitizes books, yearbooks, city annual reports. Anything between covers could be a candidate for digitization. Our guide specifically discussed Boston’s annual reports. Now a city’s annual report may sound like boring reading.  Don’t you believe it. There can be all sorts of information packed away there. They have great local history. One researcher was able to digitally search city annual reports to track the growth and decline of specific ethnic groups within specific neighborhoods of Boston.  This was make possible by the work that had already been done by the Internet Archive.

Books used to be time consuming and difficult to digitize, but the Internet Archive now uses a specially designed V-shaped cradle to hold the books being copied.  [No broken spines.]  A 300 page book can now take just a few hours.  The Internet Archive scans also include OCR (Optical Code Recognition). This creates data code for the content of books which, in turn, allows information and specific words within books to be tracked. It could have taken our friend mentioned above years to do the research that he was able to search digitally in a much shorter time.

Did you know that you can read any of the books scanned by the Internet Archive on your Kindle? They can also be listened to as audio books as well, but the voice does sound canned. Internet Archive owns the books that they copy and they give their digital copies away free to whoever wants to read or listen to them.  The cost is 10 cents per page.  It’s $30.00 for a 300 page book, but you get it for free. Money for the scanning often comes from grants. Google would have digitized all these books for free, but in the end Google would have owned the digitized version of all the books.  If they wanted to charge for access in the future, they could.

The BPL has had all their genealogy books digitized.  If a book is still under copyright and it is a book that cannot be lent in hard copy, they loan out digitally only that number that they have in hard copy.  If they own three hard copy (paper) books, only three people can borrow the digital copies.  Legally this seems to satisfy the copyrights. For a link to this treasure trove, just click BPL at the Internet Archive.

vea/15 October 2012
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com

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A Genealogist In The Archives

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