Wednesday, April 08, 2009

more on genealogists

This is a little extension to the post I wrote yesterday about genealogists. Years past while I was doing some work of my own in the National Archives (of the US) I recall the archivists complaining about the behavior of people researching family histories. The Archives had to develop a special set of rules to try to keep them from slipping loose sheets into their pockets, tearing pages out of record books, using highlighters, writing on documents, and similar destructive acts.

My little investigation shows another, much less selfish, side of their behavior. The usage stats I reviewed yesterday show an eagerness not just to discover online resources -- even ones not very directly related to their research -- but also to disseminate information about these resources to colleagues and friends over the internet.

In addition, the stats show levels of technical sophistication ranging all the way from the primitive (access via dial-up network and whatever sorts of communication are implied by the high proportion of hits on my page that do not come from online referrals -- are entered from the keyboard or via copy/paste) up to somewhat sophisticated use of blog, online upload, and twitter to make my site's link available to others.

Here are some instances of this online upload activity I've seen so far:
  • March 18 - A man from New Zealand uploaded a link and description to the Genealogy Websitesgalore section of a blog called Origins
  • March 25 - The link and description of my site was uploaded to the Czech National Digital Library portal
  • March 30 - A Twitter user sent out a tweet with a tinyurl link to my page
  • March 30 - A person posted the link on the genealogy research section of Diigo
  • March 30 - Someone contributed the posted link on Cyndi's List to a web resource called Europe News
  • March ? - The link showed up on ANCESTRY WORLD FORUMS site
  • March ? - The "What's New on Cyndi's List?" was mirrored to RootsWeb

For reference, here are links to the pages I created. As you'd expect, the first of the two is the one that genealogists have shown interest in.
1) The top page of the first site: A Guide for Organizing, Cataloging, and Preserving Collections of Papers, Photographs, and Other Records
2) The top page of the second site: A Guide for Archiving Web Pages.

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