Moderator Control Panel ]

Digitised images: what is the point?

Share your thoughts with your fellow family historians – and the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine team – here

Digitised images: what is the point?

Postby junkers » Fri May 11, 2018 3:53 pm

I do not see what the point is (apart from protecting the documents long-term) of allowing Findmypast (or others) in digitising records (Norfolk Is the latest) and then not to index or transcribe them, as with the Leicestershire Electoral Registers. How many hours will it take researchers to browse the images, imagine the 1921 Census without indexing/transcribing. In my view these companies should be stopped from making money at reseachers' expense.
junkers
 
Posts: 996
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:59 pm

Re: Digitised images: what is the point?

Postby Guy » Fri May 11, 2018 8:13 pm

junkers wrote:I do not see what the point is (apart from protecting the documents long-term) of allowing Findmypast (or others) in digitising records (Norfolk Is the latest) and then not to index or transcribe them, as with the Leicestershire Electoral Registers. How many hours will it take researchers to browse the images, imagine the 1921 Census without indexing/transcribing. In my view these companies should be stopped from making money at reseachers' expense.


I suggest you either do not understand the full processes that a dataset undergoes from digitising to indexing and transcribing or that you are not looking at the benefits from the point of view of the archive which holds the records.

In order for a record to appear online it has to undergo a number of separate processes.
In no particular order-
1 Scanning or digitising
2 Transcribing
3 Indexing

Process 1 is costly in terms of man hours involved plus requires expensive machinery.
Process 2 is labour intensive but such labour may be volunteer labour and possibly free but it could be costly
Process three (linking the indexed names to the images) is skilled and costly.

No company can afford to pay to digitise, transcribe and index the numbers of records becoming available in the last few years without spreading the costs and labour over a period of time, meaning the processes have to be spread out.
The companies that licence the datasets also have to pay royalties (often plus a premium per image view) to the archive that holds the original records.

This means at any one time a company may have a transcription of the record licensed to the transcriber (possibly a Family History Society) before it digitises the record, or it may have digitised a dataset but has not negotiated the transcription and indexing yet. Meaning that an unindexed untranscribed record set is made available to researcher who are happy to browse the dataset to find the record of interest as we used to do with the microfilm census sets (1841, 1851, 1861, 1871) and 1881 before it became available on Cd and indeed before the advent of the internet.

The very fact that the hosting company makes money at the researchers expense allows the research to save a lot of time and money (travel costs), the archive that holds the original record benefits from royalty fees and there little or no stress on the original record plus a back up in case to fire/flood etc.
Therefore everyone benefits.

Cheers
Guy
As we have gained from the past, we owe the future a debt, which we pay by sharing today.
Guy
 
Posts: 388
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:56 pm

Re: Digitised images: what is the point?

Postby Mick Loney » Fri May 11, 2018 9:25 pm

I agree wholeheartedly with Guy. It takes time and money to transcribe and index images, and I prefer to have the images made available now, rather than wait until the companies get round to transcribing and indexing them.

Familysearch, (which doesn’t make money from the data they supply), also realise this, and they too are releasing images without transcriptions.

Junkers, before the internet, just think how much it would have cost you to visit all the various archives across the country to get at the data you want. Just be thankful that these companies have decided to release these images without transcriptions, rather than just sit on them, making you wait.
Mick Loney
 
Posts: 681
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:39 am

Re: Digitised images: what is the point?

Postby junkers » Fri May 11, 2018 10:06 pm

I did spend years going to various archive offices from Cornwall to Aberdeen and points inbetween and it was much more rewarding than trying to trace some mis/un transcribed image. If this non-indexing is so good why doesn't TNA agree to just putting the images for the 1921 Census only online or to transfer the next set of Government records without any descriptions, now that would be interesting. If the companies can't do the work properly (with indexes) then they should 'keep out of the kitchen'. It is no good they bleat over the cost.
junkers
 
Posts: 996
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:59 pm

Re: Digitised images: what is the point?

Postby meekhcs » Sat May 12, 2018 2:12 am

Well I logged on, wrote a reply to this topic, pressed send and was told I wasn't logged on!! Obviously the gremlins are still in the system.
So quick precis.
Yes the websites are trying to make money out of researchers, they are a business. I appreciate it is costly and time consuming to add just one set of records, and we should pay to access them. There will always be errors but I worry that in their haste to add records they are sacrificing accuracy, which is something every Family Historian strives for.
I dislike the number of indexes on Ancestry, very often 4 or 5 for one record, and often with differing information. However images, even if un indexed, are a luxury. 99 times out of a 100 we will have enough corroborating research to narrow down the timeframe/place. Ten minutes browsing would always be worth it to find the actual image to verify research.
meekhcs
 
Posts: 1578
Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 7:43 pm
Location: england

Re: Digitised images: what is the point?

Postby Guy » Sat May 12, 2018 6:13 am

junkers wrote:I did spend years going to various archive offices from Cornwall to Aberdeen and points inbetween and it was much more rewarding than trying to trace some mis/un transcribed image. If this non-indexing is so good why doesn't TNA agree to just putting the images for the 1921 Census only online or to transfer the next set of Government records without any descriptions, now that would be interesting. If the companies can't do the work properly (with indexes) then they should 'keep out of the kitchen'. It is no good they bleat over the cost.


The answer to that is very simple, because they would not be able to cover their costs in doing so.
The National Archives like all government departments is not allowed to make a profit or a loss it has to cover its costs, putting records online involves costs surrounding computers and webspace to host the images and bandwidth (expensive) to transport the image to the user.

Perhaps you do not remember The National Archives (TNA) used to provide (sell) unindexed census in microfilm format I still have hundreds of TNA microfilms of various census here at home which I still access if I think a page has been missed from the online offerings. These microfilms were unindexed and 3rd parties such as Family History Societies (FHS) laboured over several months and even years to provide stand alone indexes for them. How many individuals purchased those microfilms for home use rather than visited libraries, archives and FHS to access those films?
I would suggest not many.

As far as I am aware none of the companies have “bleated” about the cost they simple provide what records they can in the format they can afford at a time they can.
I for one am very happy they provide images of the original records whether unindexed or indexed as it save me the time and expence of visiting the archive that holds that particular record allowing me to use those resources on records that have not been digitised.

The Church of Latter-day Saints (LDS) since withdrawing their postal microfilm/fiche service have made most of their microfilmed parish registers available online as digital images (unindexed) paid for out of the tithes of Church members.
However due to licencing restrictions (by the archives that hold the originals) many of these are only available on Family History Center computers or in Affiliate Libraries rather than in the homes of patrons.

Cheers
Guy
As we have gained from the past, we owe the future a debt, which we pay by sharing today.
Guy
 
Posts: 388
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:56 pm

Re: Digitised images: what is the point?

Postby Guy » Sat May 12, 2018 6:24 am

meekhcs wrote:Well I logged on, wrote a reply to this topic, pressed send and was told I wasn't logged on!! Obviously the gremlins are still in the system.
So quick precis.
Yes the websites are trying to make money out of researchers, they are a business. I appreciate it is costly and time consuming to add just one set of records, and we should pay to access them. There will always be errors but I worry that in their haste to add records they are sacrificing accuracy, which is something every Family Historian strives for.
I dislike the number of indexes on Ancestry, very often 4 or 5 for one record, and often with differing information. However images, even if un indexed, are a luxury. 99 times out of a 100 we will have enough corroborating research to narrow down the timeframe/place. Ten minutes browsing would always be worth it to find the actual image to verify research.


I understand you frustrations but suggest if you view the digital image of the record then you overcome any error in transcription or indexing and retain 100% accuracy.

I am not sure why Ancestry have duplicated indexes but it is possibly due to indexing transcriptions or images from a number of alternative sources they have licenced.
It may (is) also due to hosting and indexing parish registers and bishop’s transcripts and other transcripts for the same record.

Cheers
Guy
As we have gained from the past, we owe the future a debt, which we pay by sharing today.
Guy
 
Posts: 388
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:56 pm

Re: Digitised images: what is the point?

Postby Mick Loney » Sat May 12, 2018 11:14 am

meekhcs wrote:Well I logged on, wrote a reply to this topic, pressed send and was told I wasn't logged on!! Obviously the gremlins are still in the system.


Please see my post in technical help, I have been suffering the same thing for weeks, but being a lone voice, they appear to think it is me (it happens on my PC and my iPad!)

If you add a comment too, someone may investigate.
Mick Loney
 
Posts: 681
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:39 am

Re: Digitised images: what is the point?

Postby meekhcs » Sat May 12, 2018 3:41 pm

Have added a comment in technical help. So far it has only happened once. Sally
meekhcs
 
Posts: 1578
Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 7:43 pm
Location: england


Return to Genealogy chat


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests