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Feb 6 13 9:04 AM

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Hi all,
A thought came to mind whilst reading the blogs (which are great - keep 'em coming).

Quite a few of us are using blogs or websites to record our researches and writings. They are great, easily editable, easy to disseminate, easy to organise.

But they exist only for a long as we keep paying the service providers for the webspace. That's fine but what happens if money gets short later on or after we have died?

Has anyone thought about/come up with any ideas about this? Does anyone know of any orgnaisation which will archive genealogy/local history websites for posterity, even in a non-editable version? Or should we at some stage be producing a paper version for the local library and FH society as a minimum?

Thoughts welcome
Janet
Springhill History

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#2 [url]

Feb 6 13 9:49 AM

You're bringing up an excellent question there, Janet. When one thinks about it, it's actually frightening. If I die, all is lost?

I know that for the 150th anniversary of Canada, the government is inviting everyone to send in their family stories so they can build a huge database of it all. But that's finalizing in 2017, and only for Canada. How about the rest of the world?

I know that you can make your family tree public in almost all the online research sites. But that doesn't take care of the stories we write, just the data.

Producing a paper version for the local library and FH history is a good idea but, Wouldn't that imply that all our hard work would only be available at those specific places? I really hope that we can research this and find some solutions.

PS.: if some Canucks are curious about what I mentioned, here's the link:
http://www.canada150.com/Canada_150/Canada_150.html


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#3 [url]

Feb 6 13 9:56 AM

Andrea, I'm working on a book for 150th Anniversary, very aware of the Canada 150 and hope to lead an initiate among the Canadian family history writers. So glad to hear others already have it on their mind. 

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#4 [url]

Feb 6 13 10:00 AM

Oh yes Lynn.. while I was researching for helping tools for me to write about my family history, Google lead me to that site, then your challenge site. I'm just really, really.... but I mean, really stoked about this whole writing stuff. By the end of the challenge, I might not have a book completed but, by the 1st of July 2017, hell yeah !!!!

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#5 [url]

Feb 6 13 7:54 PM

Yes, and I wrote a couple family narratives last fall for this year's 150 year birthday of Frankenstein, Missouri. Yes there is such a place but if you blink you will miss it. Mostly just the church. The closest restaurant is 10 miles away. I visited there last year for the first time with a cousin whose dad lived there after our maternal grandmother died young. My mother, daughter of same woman but different father. One of those his, hers and ours family. It is what got me started to start converting research into narratives. But they tend to be flat.

Tom

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#6 [url]

Feb 7 13 12:24 PM

In some ways the stories are the easy bit as they could be linked into a pamphlet if not a book relatively easily and Lynn has some excellent advice on how to do that. My problem is more the source data. I love source documents (sad, I know) and one big advantage of the website is that these can be linked and others can either check my working or draw their own conclusions. A book may include the development of oxen farming locally but not the transcripts of the court rolls which  detail this development without it getting too unwieldy. Indeed the main driver for the website was to be able to link and relate the sources easily to the narrative and I'm not sure how easily a book will do that and remain within a reasonable number of pages - there are over 100 on various local coal mines for a start.

Janet

Springhill History

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#7 [url]

Feb 8 13 9:35 AM

Yes, they are two totally different beasts. And a printed book with transcripts...yeah that is mammoth and expensive.  You certainly can include links to the source data in your book. So for those who want to see them they could find them. So on your website those sources are linked now the same can be done in a print or ebook, assuming those sources will remain at those links over time. 

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#9 [url]

Feb 8 13 1:04 PM

Janet - I went to look too - your site is amazing!! 
Nicola

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#10 [url]

Feb 8 13 2:01 PM

Wow, thanks!

I'm using this month to 'finish' it (ha) and this is the first time I've put it anywhere where people might actually look!

Thanks Lynn for the suggestion of an ebook which might work well. I take your point about the links, and writing it is much more interesting than maintaining it! Part of the rationale for making it web based was so that resources might be available to people who can't get to our local reference library. I've certainly appreciated people who have done lookup for me and wanted to put something back. Maybe I should leave a legacy for its maintenance? Or is that akin to leaving your estate to the dog?

Janet
Springhill History

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#11 [url]

Feb 9 13 7:39 AM

Janet, I agree on awesome!  I went to the One Place Study.  This is interesting.  I bookmarked for future reference.  I might want to try this with my Kentucky ancestors, the little known place they inhabited their whole lives.  Thanks for the link.  

Bettyann Schmidt rhinegirl.blogspot.cim

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#12 [url]

Feb 10 13 6:59 AM

Blogs are great. I have one, Leaves & Branches, that tells of my research findings and struggles. I also have a web site, Our Leaves & Branches, that lists my surnames & resources. 

However, they are not permanent. For all technology's advancements I think there is nothing like a book. A book will last into the future. Look at floppy discs. Suppose all our work was saved on a floppy disc. They don't even fit into computers any more. Libraries have been around much longer.

When I finished my book, 'The Mark Family Story' I gave copies to the county libraries where I had researched the various branches of my paternal grandmother's family. My brothers, my cousins, my aunts & uncles, my children have copies. I have hopes that those copies will be passed on to the future generations.
Colleen

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#13 [url]

Feb 11 13 4:35 AM

Colleen - your blog and website are fantastic - what a huge amount of work. Your point about longevity of technology is well made - research data management is now becoming a huge issue in professional research (I work in a university and we have just started a major initiative to try to address this problem). Archiving websites and online resources is of course possible but it does either require server space (with ongoing costs) or someone committed to updating offline storage when required. A lot of data is effectively lost when storage media become obsolete and, even if it is still possible to read, no digital storage lasts forever. 

I use a "belt and braces" approach - all key material is stored in at least one online location and two offline locations as well as having paper copies. I think I will start keeping print outs of significant blog posts as well - just in case. 

One thing that does concern me is how many of us (myself included) rely on free, hosted services such as Blogger and Wordpress. There are so many examples of free services changing their modus operandi and leaving people high and dry (Ning springs to mind!). Seems unlikely with Blogger and Wordpress but is not impossible - so having back ups and being able to port content easily is really important. 

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#14 [url]

Feb 11 13 6:10 AM

Janet, thanks for visiting my blog & website. I agree that we cannot assume these online hosts will always be there in their present form. Being aware of that hopefully makes us all cautious. Colleen

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#15 [url]

Feb 11 13 7:02 AM

 One thing that does concern me is how many of us (myself included) rely on free, hosted services such as Blogger and Wordpress. There are so many examples of free services changing their modus operandi and leaving people high and dry...

-janet


Janet, I share your concern which is why I pay the few dollars a month to host my site using my own domain name. For me, it is the one place I have all of my online stuff: my new blog, my genealogy database, articles, access to photo galleries, etc.  And access is controlled based on who is accessing the information.  

This also lessens the impact of the Terms of Service and Privacy Statements on Free services.  But it does mean one has to do more work to get it to work.  My approach works for me, but there is a learning curve.  

The big benefit to me, is my information is portable, if I decide I want to use a different hosting service, I just move my information to a different service. But, if you fail to pay your bill for too long, well then one must make sure they have good backups so as to not lose their data.

As for survivability, there are at least four copies of my data: 1) Online, 2) On my Laptop and local External Hard drive, 3) A local Clone portable drive, 4) A Clone portable drive kept in safe deposit box that is rotated with 3) every month.  All Hard drives will eventually fail.  So make sure you have backups that work.  And by constantly recreating your data on newer technology, you can try to keep ahead of the obsolescense factor. 

Tom

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#16 [url]

Feb 11 13 8:25 AM

Janet, I share your concern which is why I pay the few dollars a month to host my site using my own domain name. For me, it is the one place I have all of my online stuff: my new blog, my genealogy database, articles, access to photo galleries, etc.

-tom

Hi Tom - yes I do this for my business site but am using wordpress.com for my genealogical stuff. I guess I should think about porting it across.... Went for the quick solution but will need to look at the longer term. Have plenty of server space and the domain just no time! 

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#17 [url]

Feb 12 13 5:38 AM

Unfortunately there is no easy solution, especially if you want to share your family history across multiple mediums. If you want to preserve your family history in this digital age it will take forethought and constant adaptation to our changing world. 

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#18 [url]

Feb 14 13 5:55 AM

Thanks for this discussion - it's given me a lot to think about.  I am blogging family history narratives for my family but had not considered all these "what ifs" and beyond.    

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