Saturday, April 05, 2014

Take my money

Commercial genealogy providers, here's how to take my money:

1. I Always Search Individual Record Sets

I'm not a beginner, I've been at this a while. Your global search function across all your databases is only good for doing speculative searches. I almost always search by going through your lists of record sets or databases, identifying one that sounds promising then reading your blurb to find out exactly what it is, where it came from, and any search hints i.e. what their little quirks are, which fields are actually contained in it, which are indexed, whether there are any gaps in your record set. Then I search just that record set, using what I've learned to search smarter and get more results of interest.

If you don't tell me which record sets you have, in enough detail, then I won't give you money.

If you don't tell me whether I get access to a particular record set I'm interested in within the subcription/access option I'm contemplating before I give you money, then I won't give you money.

If I can't search by individual record set, then I won't give you money.

2. I Like To Search By Place.

I'm a one-place studier. I'm particularly interested in what kinds of place fields are in a record set, what level (country? county? village?) they've likely been specified to, and whether you've indexed them. I'm also interested in context, neighbours and the like, so I like to browse pages before and after any given result, just in case something illuminating pops up. Sometimes I even - egads! - browse from the beginning of the record set, in case there's general information there!

Without the background information about place fields your record set has limited use to me, and I won't give you money.

Without the ability to search by place field (alone, without forcing me to search with a surname) you tend to induce a murderous rage, and I won't give you money.

It should be pretty simple for me to give you money. Stop trying to make it harder.


Colin A said...

I thought it was just me who felt this.

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