Saturday, March 20, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy - Challenge #12

Week 12: Check out the web sites for the Society of American Archivists (, ARMA International (, and the American Library Association ( Genealogists can benefit from the educational opportunities and publications of other information-based organizations. You may not be an archivist, records manager or librarian, but you share the same interests. Look at the events these associations hold. Find the books they publish and see if you can request them through your library via Inter-Library Loan. You may also want to check out your state’s (or country’s) library association. If you’re a genealogy blogger, write about your impressions of one or more of these organizations.

For this weeks challenge I looked at the website for the Society of American Archivists. At first I wasn't sure exactly what I was looking for but I quickly became engrossed in a study involving Web 2.0 and archives. Web 2.0 describes the shift from presenting Internet content to users as a collection of marked-up text to an interactive environment where users have the ability to create content as easily as they consume it. The study involves how Web 2.0 technology is exemplified in certain catagories including: blogs, photo-sharing sites, wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds and social networks.

All of this poses a challenge to archivists. How do archivists use this new technology to interact with their patrons? What does this mean for skills sets an archivists must have in the future?

The report goes on to list case studies of how archivists are becoming more conscious of the need to provide interactive services to their users. Included is a case study of how the Kansas Historical Society is using Podcasts to showcase their collections.

Overall, this weeks challenge opened my eyes to the role Web 2.0 technology will continue to play in genealogy research. As archives become use to the interactive nature of the internet I believe they will move towards becoming more open and willing to share their collections digitally. As new archivists enter the field they will have a comfort level using Web 2.0 technology that may not exist at this time.

I started this challenge not sure what I was looking for and ended up spending hours reading this study and becoming more knowledgable about the technology I utilize everyday. I'm much more aware of the challenges and opportunites Web 2.0 offers to museums, historical societies, libraries and research facilites. It's a conversation they are sure to continue having among themselves in the future.

Tim O’Reilly, “What is Web 2.0,” O’Reilly Media, (accessed Mar. 14, 2009).


  1. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing. I have yet to check out the challenge, so it is good to be able to read little more about it!

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience with this week's challenge. I wasn't sure how folks would react to it because it asks us to go outside the genealogy box. Glad it was helpful for you.