Thursday, January 17, 2013

New Digitized Books in FamilySearch.org

It looks that there are a lot of books being added to FamilySearch.org's Digital Book collection. Recent searches I have made show a significant increase in the number of books that return from my searches. Some of the books that are showing up online have not previously been available anywhere that I am aware. In fact, I am finding digital copies of books that do not show any other digital copies available on WorldCat.org. This is really good news but there are some limitations.

When I go to open some of the books listed on FamilySearch.org and supposedly available, I get the following error message: "Viewing this object is allowed for a limited number of users at a time within a family search or partner library. Thank you." So far, I have been unable to figure out what this means or how to view the item even when I am viewing the item from the computers in the Mesa FamilySearch Library. In searching through the Help menu I have yet to find instructions about how these particular books become available. Anyone out there have any ideas how this works?

For some years past, the Mesa FamilySearch Library has been digitizing its collection of books. These books have had some difficulty in making their way into the system, but now are finally starting to appear. Eventually, all of the books that are available to be digitized in the Mesa FamilySearch Library and other surrounding libraries will be incorporated into the online collection. There are literally thousands of books in this category and many of them are unique items that are not available in any other library. This is an area of FamilySearch.org that bears regular review, especially if you are aware of a book that may be in existence but has previously not been made available online.

In my case the book that appeared that caught my eye was the following:

Tanner, George S. Henry Martin Tanner; Joseph City, Arizona Pioneer, Born June 11, 1852, San Bernardino, California, Died March 21, 1935, Gilbert, Arizona. 1964.

This is a softbound very limited edition book. I happen to have two copies, but the book has been almost impossible to obtain. WorldCat.org has listed the book in a few libraries but because the book is still under copyright it has not gone online. Now, there has been a clarification of the law on digitized books because of the Court's decision in the Google lawsuit with the Association of American Publishers. The decision opens up the way for libraries to provide an online copy of the book as long as they have a physical copy in their collection. Hence the issue I raise earlier in this post. The number of people that can view the item at one time is restricted to the number of copies held by the library. 

Now, if I have a physical copy of the Henry Martin Tanner book, why would I want a digitized copy. The answer is simple: searching for terms. If I want to find something I read in the book but can't remember where, in essence I have to re-read the entire book to try to find the quote or whatever I am looking for. Once the book is digitized, I can then do a global search of the book. There are other reasons also, such as the ease of copying quotes and such. 

I would suggest that if you are looking for a book about your ancestors, you may wish to check the FamilySearch.org collection regularly. The number of books in the collection is growing significantly. 


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