5.0821 Internet for Genealogical Library (1/80)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 14 Apr 1992 20:49:56 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0821. Tuesday, 14 Apr 1992.

(1) Date: Wed, 8 Apr 92 00:18:10 EST (80 lines)
Subject: Internet for Genealogical Library

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Wed, 8 Apr 92 00:18:10 EST
Subject: Internet for Genealogical Library

This is a request for advice and assistance in trying to get
the Boston based New England Historical Genealogical Society (and its
excellent Library) connected to the Internet, hopefully through
a link (via modem) with a Boston area site, or perhaps somehow
through RLIN. The following copies of materials posted on and gathered
from the ROOTS-L genealogical discussion group should provide appropriate
background. My role is facilitator, and if I can afford it,
benefactor/funder. I have no direct connection with NEHGS
apart from being a subscribing member who is interested in
getting the Society connected electronically.
Bob Kraft, UPenn

[[initial note to ROOTS-L]]==========
Date: 7 April 1992, 01:25:28 EST
Subject: Mission to NEHGS

Opportunity Knocks! As a member of the New England Historic
Genealogical Society for several years now, it has always
concerned me that NEHGS seemed uninterested, if not even
sometimes hostile, with reference to electronic research and
publication possibilities. So when the usual request for
additional funds came around a couple of months ago, I responded
that I would be interested in contributing to getting the NEHGS
connected to the rest of us who are using electronic tools.

A reply from Ralph Crandall, NEHGS Director, arrived recently
in which he expresses the desire to "hook up to nationwide
library networks" and shows an awareness "that many of our
members are using electronic networks in their genealogical
research," allowing also that "it makes a lot of sense for us to
participate at some level in the transfer of information over
these networks." Progress! Mirabile dictu!

Mr. Crandall then suggests that since "so many are already using
Prodigy," that it might be a good way to get started -- NEHGS
already has an IBM PC. He thinks that it would cost about $300
for the Prodigy disk, splitter, and year's subscription.

Before I respond to Mr. Crandall, I wanted to draw on the wisdom
of the networked masses. My impression is that Prodigy is not
necessarily the best route to go (is there a two-way gateway between
Prodigy and the Internet? I seem to recall that there was some
problem with this earlier), but I am not conversant enough with
the alternatives to make a clear alternative suggestion (Cleveland
FreeNet? CompuServe?). I do intend to give some funds to this
project, although I may not be able to fund it completely.
I suspect that some of you may also be interested in helping to
bring this marvelous resource into electronic contact (although
I suspect that at first, NEHGS will be a rather passive
participant, especially when they see the flow of communications
that come over the nets!). Please let me know, privately or
publicly, as appropriate, what seems to you to be the best way
to proceed: specifically, what service would you recommend to
get NEHGS connected to as many of us as possible (i.e., to the
Internet, I would argue), and what will it cost to do that?
And if you would like to contribute in other ways to this endeavor,
let me know that as well.
Bob Kraft, UPenn

[[Replies to R Kraft's query]]
Summary: None of the 10 or so messages received thus far are
enthusiastic about Prodigy as the point of connection, and most
of them are explicitly negative. Other commercial and "free"
possibilities are mentioned, but the suggestion that seems to be
most appropriate is to try to find a Boston-locality University
Internet site (probably a Library) to which NEHGS can be
connected via modem. This would not only get them involved via
the Internet, but would also move them towards the highly
desirable Library connectedness. Related to this suggestion and
worth exploration in its own right is the possibility that a link
through or with RLIN can be made.

Interestingly, noone has yet offered to contribute funds to the
[RAK 7 April 1992]