I’ve Seen This George Before–I Need a Different George

too-many-georgesAnother website puts up free images of books that have been on GoogleBooks, Hathitrust, Archives.org, and other sites for some time.

I’m past the point of getting excited. I’m also past the point of getting in a tither because another press release has been sent out extolling how this site is better. New indexes to the same scans are probably going to give me the same results.

I understand access to information is good. Having researched some of my families for over three decades, I’m fully aware of how the digitization of records has streamlined the grunt work of record searching. I’ve lived the genealogical dream of reading the entire unindexed record in hopes of finding an entry of interest.

But finding the same thing from the same book over and over is just as frustrating as never finding it at all. The biography of George A. Trautvetter from Hobart’s 1907 book of Hancock County, Illinois, biographies comes up on most searches of digitized books when I search for George Trautvetter. I’ve seen it hundreds of times. I’ve read it numerous times. I’m not certain how many more times I really need to see it. The problem is that in any set of “search results” for a “new” site, I’ve got to manually compare the list of results with things that I’ve already seen. It’s similar to manually searching the book in the first place. While it’s not as bad as manually searching, the amount of time one has to spend eliminating things because “I’ve already got that” is higher than it should be.

The reason why genealogists flock to the new site that offers “new” data is the hope that there’s one thing there that’s not elsewhere or that there’s one word there that gets indexed in a way that makes it easy to be found. I understand that. We are all looking for our missing George.

I wish there was some way that I could tell all these sites that I’ve seen the 1907 Hobart book and the several other dozen books that have references to George or other members of the Trautvetter family. And I’ve seen it more than once. I can probably quote portions of it for anyone who is interested in listening.

What I need is a way to give these “new” sites a database of bibliographic citations for books I’ve already used and have the site not include those items in my results. That would harnessing some technology for genealogy good.

Otherwise they are just throwing the same George in my face over over.



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