If you create genealogy information, you probably want to share that information with your close and even with distant relatives. There are many methods available for sharing documents. You can publish the text itself on your website, assuming that you own such a site, or you can provide a download link for the document. You could email a copy to those you know might be interested. You can even embed a PDF file or Powerpoint presentation in a web page. But those publishing methods won’t carry your words very far beyond your existing audience. Perhaps the easiest and simplest method to publish to both your existing audience and to future, unknown audiences is to use a free service called Scribd.
Scribd is a place where you publish, discover and discuss original writings and documents. More than 50 million people each month are finding or sharing documents of all sorts. Scribd accepts documents about most any topic; genealogy is but one of the thousands of topics you can find on the site. (Users are asked to not upload pornography or any materials written by others.) To read any document on Scribd, all you need is a web browser. Scribd documents are available free of charge.
With Scribd's iPaper document reader, anyone can easily upload and immediately share their original works. There are two levels of access for Scribd documents: "public" and "private." When you mark a document private, it is immediately hidden from search index, search engine bots, and all document listings. Private documents are accessible through a secret URL that you can either keep to yourself, or share with others.
iPaper transforms PDF, Word, PowerPoint and many other file formats into formats that can be displayed in a web browser. Your work offered as “public” becomes visible to all. Because every word of your document is indexed for search engine optimization, your screenplay, novel or even sheet music and recipes also can be discovered by the world. Google and other search engines typically find all new documents on Scibd within hours, making your document(s) easily found by anyone in the world, unless you marked them as “private.”
Again, Scribd is not limited to genealogy. In fact, a quick search of Scribd shows that hundreds of different topics are already well covered on the service. If you have your genealogy information available in a text file or word document of some sort, you can add your document to Scribd. Formats accepted include:
Adobe PDF (.pdf)
Adobe PostScript (.ps)
Microsoft Word (.doc/ .docx)
Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt/.pps/.pptx)
Microsoft Excel (.xls/.xlsx)
OpenOffice Text Document (.odt, .sxw)
OpenOffice Presentation Document (.odp, .sxi)
OpenOffice Spreadsheet (.ods, .sxc)
All OpenDocument formats
Plain text (.txt)
Users also can download the documents you create unless you specify the option to prohibit downloads. If you do that, users can read your documents on the computer screen but cannot download the information. Users can always copy-and-paste information from your documents or print the documents, however.
Should you want to make changes to a document you have already contributed to Scribd, you can make the changes to the document locally on your own computer and then upload the changed document as a new revision. The new revision will replace the old copy while retaining the document's parameters, comments, and stats. You can revert to a previous version at any time.
Scribd includes many more options for controlling access and for making documents available in a variety of formats. At the uploader's option, a user community can be built around each document. Readers can offer comments and suggestions. Again, all this is at the uploader's option: he or she controls the creation of comments.
Scribd isn't for everyone. However, with more than 50,000 documents uploaded daily in 90 different languages, and 50 million readers each month, it is very useful for situations where you want to easily make information available to others free of charge. Scribd provides a creative and useful new platform for readers, authors, publishers and anyone else seeking to express themselves, share ideas and exchange information.
For more information, or to experiment with the service yourself, go to http://www.scribd.com.
To see an example of a Scribd document, you can read this article on Scribd at http://www.scribd.com/doc/11549841/Scribd-as-a-Publishing-Tool.