I have written a number of times about FamilySearch's Indexing project. It has been underway for more than a year with more than 100,000 involved volunteers who are presently indexing more than one million records per day.
At the FGS conference last week, The Generations Network/Ancestry.com announced a very similar project. In fact, the new project appears to be almost identical to the FamilySearch Indexing project. You can read the original announcement at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2008/09/ancestrycom-and.html as well as my reaction at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2008/09/report-from-the.html. Tim Sullivan, CEO of The Generations Network, also talked about it briefly in a video that is available at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2008/09/a-video-intervi.html.
In the days since the latest announcement, the genealogy community has had a lot of "buzz" with conversations and comments about the two seemingly competitive projects.
This newsletter's site has many comments at the end of http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2008/09/ancestrycom-and.html. Other online message boards have seen similar questions and comments. I believe lots of information is floating around in e-mail as well.
Now FamilySearch has responded with a written statement clarifying that organization's view of the differences between the two projects. The following was written by FamilySearch:
FamilySearch Indexing is not affiliated with Ancestry’s World Archives indexing program. FamilySearch welcomes the efforts of all institutions and companies that provide more economical access to more genealogical and historically significant records. Following is a summary of what FamilySearch believes are its indexing program’s strengths.
- More quality indexes, faster. FamilySearch already has over 100,000 volunteers indexing about one million names per day. All projects use FamilySearch’s signature process of indexing each record twice and arbitrating discrepancies to ensure the highest possible accuracy.
- Greater volume and variety of projects. FamilySearch has 15 high speed scanners digitizing 2.4 million rolls of microfilm from its current collection and 200+ digital camera teams filming new records daily in 45+ countries. The result is a greater number and variety of ongoing projects for volunteers.
- Access to more images. Qualified FamilySearch volunteers will have free access to all affiliate images under contract (Footnote.com, WorldVitalRecords.com, Ancestry.com, FindMyPast.com, etc.) with FamilySearch, not just the collections a volunteer personally helped index.
- Greater free public access to images. The general public will have free access to all FamilySearch volunteer-generated indexes through FamilySearch.org. All images that are free of records access restrictions will also be free to the public. All otherwise fee-based or restricted access images with commercial affiliates will be available for free through FamilySearch’s 4,500 family history centers worldwide.
- More partners and language interfaces. FamilySearch has long standing relationships with national, religious, government, and societal archives in over 80 countries and will offer its indexing tool in multiple language interfaces (currently in Spanish and English. Portuguese, German, French, Italian, and Russian are in progress). That means a larger and more diverse volunteer force.
- Established society relationships. FamilySearch has already had great success working with genealogical and historical societies (Ohio, Indiana, Utah, NEHGS, AAGHS, Arkansas, Belgium, Nova Scotia, etc.) in indexing projects while still in its initial phase. It has many more society projects under development and looks forward to many more collaborative efforts with societies in the future.