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Sunday, 28 September 2014

Genealogy & family history research: Lessons to learn from the Aussies

Let me offer a huge recommendation for the Australian newspaper archive, Trove. It is brilliant, and I choose this word carefully.

Trove is run by the Australian National Library and if you are attempting to track down information about your relatives in Australia, it is an excellent starting point. It is free and navigation around the immensely-informative resource can be learned very quickly. Another plus is that new material is being added every day. The only downside is that it becomes quite addictive, but what fun!

Now, let me turn to the British equivalent, the British Newspaper Archive. This is no -- repeat no --  fun at all. It is infuriatingly and quite unnecessarily difficult to navigate and, further, makes corrections to the text very difficult. Add to this, you have to pay to access it. It is incredibly user-unfriendly and you have to wonder if it was ever beta tested on the public. I bet it wasn't. I spent the best part of an hour rummaging around the archive this afternoon. There is just one word to describe my experience as I bang my head against the wall in frustration: Aaaaaaaaagh!!!!!!!!

UPDATE: Coincidentally (?) my Facebook page came up with a sponsored posting from the British archive, but when I posted a complaint about the site, it was promptly deleted. And when I complained about the deletion, it was also deleted. So much for free speech at this British institution.

SECOND UPDATE: If you take out a subscription to the archive, be careful that a month's subscription doesn't become open ended. Make sure you read the small print "Your subscription is sold on a continuous membership basis, meaning it will continue until you cancel it." and hunt down and untick the automatic renewal.

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