FamilySearch, the largest genealogy organization in the world, has signed an agreement with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). Together, they will expand access to the growing free digital historical book collection at FamilySearch.org to DPLA’s broad audiences of users (which include genealogists, family historians, and others).
DPLA brings together the collections of the Library of Congress, HathiTrust, the Internet Archive, and others into a single platform and portal. The planning process of DPLA began in 2010, at a meeting in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
It involved 40 leaders of libraries, foundations, academia, and technology projects all working together to create “an open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources that would draw on the nation’s living heritage from libraries, universities, archives, and museums in order to educate, inform, and empower everyone in current and future generations.”
FamilySearch, as you may know is provided for free as a service of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. It is a non-profit family history organization dedicated to connecting families across generations. Every genealogist can use the FamilySearch website for free – no matter what religion they happen to follow.
The partnership between FamilySearch and DPLA seems very fitting. FamilySearch is a leader in the use of technology to digitally preserve the world’s historic records and books of genealogical relevance for easy search and access online. They are about to embark upon a 72 hour Worldwide Indexing Event where volunteers will index as many records as possible.
DPLA will incorporate metadata from FamilySearch’s online digital book collection into their system. When completed, that will make more than 200,000 family history books discoverable through DPLA’s search portal. It is anticipated that the project will be completed later this year. After that, people will be able to view the free, fully viewable digital books from FamilySearch through DPLA’s portal.
The books that are in FamilySearch’s digitized collection include items that are relevant to genealogists and family historians. There are genealogy and family history publications from the archives of some of the most important family history libraries in the world.
The collection includes family histories, county and local histories, genealogy magazines and how-to-books, gazetteers, and medieval histories and pedigrees. Every year, thousands of new publications are added to the collection. It is these types of hard to find books that are vitally important to genealogists whose family members and ancestors are mentioned in them.
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