Genealogy & Local History in Buffalo, NY
|What Do You Mean, The Past Is Not Online?|
It is always cool to find a new online treasure about Buffalo and add the link to one of my pages. But as a local history librarian, I have to come clean. What is online, as wonderful as it is, represents perhaps 1% of recorded knowledge about Buffalo. The vast wealth of Buffalo history is still offline--in paper, on microfilm, in libraries, archives, government offices, and historical organizations.
categories of records that we all wish were searchable free
online but just aren't. The exceptions are the fragmentary efforts by
individuals who transcribe something on their personal homepages, and
major institutions who have the funding for digital
projects. Putting stuff online is almost as labor and
resource-intensive as putting it on paper the first time.
When history does come online in systematic form, it will be through commercial sites, like Ancestry, and Heritage Quest, who produce proprietary, subscription databases. Most historical full-text databases will be affordable only by wealthy institutions like universities and large public libraries.
as you go to the
library now for books you cannot afford, in the future you'll go to the
library for databases you cannot afford. And you'll still go to the
library for all the "old stuff" that will never be digitized.
|Things That Are Not Online For Free In Any Comprehensive Sense of the Word|
What isn't online? Basically everything recorded on paper for several centuries before the invention of computers, including (but not limited to):
Where do you find these things? The same places that had them all along before the invention of the internet: Court houses, historical societies, libraries, city and town halls, state and federal archives, and LDS Family History Centers.
Updated 6 July 2011