RootsTech 2014

Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Findmypast.com adds PERSI content links

Amongst all of the announcements about new additions to genealogy websites, some need more attention than others. Findmypast.com has announced a partnership with the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center to add the PERSI Index of 2.5 million records dating back to 1800. 

OK, now why is this news? The PERSI or Periodical Source Index has been around for quite a while and copies of the Index are available on a few other websites. But historically, if you wanted to see anything you found in the PERSI, you had to hunt it down, or send away to the Allen County Public Library for a copy. Here is the announcement from findmypast.com so there is no misunderstanding:
LOS ANGELES – Findmypast.com, an international leader in online family history, today announced a partnership with the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) Genealogy Center to revolutionize the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI), the world’s largest and most widely used subject index for genealogy and local history literature. As part of the partnership, findmypast.com is enhancing PERSI, most notably by linking thousands of individual genealogical periodicals and resources to the index, allowing the original content to be accessed and connected digitally for the first time in the history of PERSI. 
Over the past thirty years, the ACPL Genealogy Center has created more than 2.5 million searchable records in PERSI, indexing every article from more than 8,000 different periodicals, including magazines, newsletters and journals, according to location, topic, surname, ethnicity and methodology. In the coming months, findmypast.comwill launch the most complete version of PERSI online. Once launched, findmypast.com will work in tandem with the Genealogy Center to provide frequent updates to the collection as new entries are added.
The operative words here are "allowing the original content to be accessed and connected digitally for the first time in the history of PERSI." This is huge. I don't think that most genealogists have ever used PERSI because having an index entry didn't help much. Part of this lack of use of the product comes from a lack of understanding of exactly what the Allen County Public Library has produced. PERSI contains information about local genealogical and historical publications from all around the United States. The impact of having all of these local publications available is incalculable. Here's a summary from the announcement that vastly understates the impact:
The future of online search through this partnership aligns with findmypast.com’s Society Data Initiative, a joint project between the Federation of Genealogical Societies and findmypast.com to preserve, digitize and provide access to the rich resources created by family history, genealogical, and historical societies over many decades.
 As far as content in the United States, this is a huge increase in usability for findmypast.com.

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