Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Premium Websites in FHCs Delayed

In May of this year, FamilySearch announced a number of partnerships allowing Family History Center (FHC) patrons access to premium genealogy websites, adding to the previously available and recently emasculated edition of Ancestry.com.

Initially, availability was expected within a few short weeks. Now, two months later, FHC staff and patrons are still waiting.

"There are technical problems with the access to the services," explains Don Anderson, head of FamilySearch Worldwide Support. "As soon as the technical problems are resolved a communication will be sent."

Signs of progress, however, are appearing. According to one source, a special website for FHCs presents a menu similar to the photograph to the left. Each of the premium websites is listed: Heritage Quest Online [sic], World Vital Records, FamilyLink, Godfrey Memorial Library, Kindred Konnections, and Footnote.com.

Patrons will merely click on the name of the site to link directly to that website. The patron is automatically logged in as described in a previous column. This interface makes it easy to add offerings and centrally manage availability.

"There are about 10 centers who have access to HeritageQuest now," says Anderson, "and a few are being added each day to ensure that there are no problems." While the rollout started slow, it is likely to accelerate as progress is made.

Godfrey Memorial Library has prepared welcome and marketing pages for FHC patrons, although login does not yet work. The welcome page is shown to the left. The marketing page is currently available at this URL.

No progress is expected today, however. July 24th is a company holiday for employees of FamilySearch, who celebrate the arrival of their ancestors to the Utah Territory in 1847. Interestingly, July 24th is also a holiday for arch-nemesis Ancestry.com.

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