Dear Ancestry Insider,
I am reading here and there that some Family History Centers [FHCs] are getting rid of their microfilm, readers, and ceasing to support ordering it, telling patrons that it's all on the internet.
This is appallingly far from the truth. Aside from the vast microfilm and fiche holdings of the Salt Lake City FHL, which will take decades to digitize and index, there are ongoing microfilming efforts taking place because of the uncertainties about actual life of digital media.
One patron who posted recently on a Rootsweb mailing list said she was told that there is an official directive telling FHCs to do this.Signed,
“There is no truth to this rumor,” said Paul Nauta, FamilySearch spokesperson, to the Ancestry Insider. “Microfilm will continue to be distributed to centers and utilized by patrons for many years to come.”
Nauta pointed out that FamilySearch does not own most of its archived records and does not have permission to digitize all the microfilm in its collection. Some parts of FamilySearch’s massive film collection will only be available on microfilm, said Nauta, and therefore only viewable in a family history center.
FamilySearch suggests that centers monitor film and computer usage, said Nauta. “Many centers have seen reduction in the use of microfilm,” he said. “They have reduced the number of readers and installed more computers.”
I can imagine that a memo on disposal policies of broken microfilm equipment might be misunderstood. I can imagine that news of centers getting rid of some microfilm readers could be misreported or misread as getting rid of all microfilm equipment.
I can also imagine that local Church leaders have needed space in Church meetinghouses for other purposes and have taken space away from some family history centers, forcing removal of some or all bulky microfilm readers, copiers, and storage cabinets.
But you are correct. We are going to continue to use microfilm for some time.
-- The Insider
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