Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Changes in "free" programs for the Family History Center Portals

FamilySearch recently announced the following:
Occasionally, FamilySearch finds it necessary to renegotiate subscription contracts. As a result of a recent contract review, ProQuest Historic Map Works will no longer be accessible on the Family History Center portal. We understand that some of you would like other ideas for map resources. You may find access to many free online map databases on the FamilySearch Research Wiki.
In this case, there is a more complex reason for the change. is a large data supplier to libraries around the world. It is a commercial venture. Here is a description of the company's offerings from their website's article entitled, "Who We Are."
ProQuest is a key partner for content holders of all types, preserving and enabling access to their rich and varied information. Those partnerships have built a growing content collection that now encompasses 90,000 authoritative sources, 6 billion digital pages and spans six centuries. It includes the world’s largest collection of dissertations and theses; 20 million pages and three centuries of global, national, regional and specialty newspapers; more than 450,000 ebooks; rich aggregated collections of the world’s most important scholarly journals and periodicals; and unique vaults of digitized historical collections from great libraries and museums, as well as organizations as varied as the Royal Archives, the Associated Press and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
ProQuest is one of many big information companies. The terms and conditions of their offerings change from time to time as do the contents of their collections. The particular product mentioned in this notice from FamilySearch is called the "Historic Map Works™ Library Edition." In this case, the Historic Map Works program is a separate entity. They have their own terms and conditions of use. Here is what Historic Map Works which is part of the Historic Map Works Residential Genealogy tm LLC has to say:
WWW.HISTORICMAPWORKS.COM may only be used for personal use. Any access to WWW.HISTORICMAPWORKS.COM by an organization, a governmental body, an educational institution, for-profit or non-profit institutions, or other non-individual entities is not permitted and is a violation of these terms and conditions. Non-personal access to Historic Map Work's collections is only permitted via Historic Map Works Library Edition TM which is distributed by our partner ProQuest who can be contacted at
All of this and much more is contained in the HISTORICMAPWORKS.COM TERMS OF SERVICELast updated on June 27th 2006.

Of course, I have no idea what precipitated the termination of the subscription maintained by FamilySearch, but it is easy to see that such arrangements will change from time to time as the rates charged change and as the entities re-define their offerings and the way they provide their services. On the Historic Map Works website, you can buy a print of a map or pay for a download. 

From my standpoint, they are selling a lot of public domain content. Many of the maps are available for free from other websites. Before paying for old, out-of-copyright copies of any document, map or whatever, I suggest doing an online search to see if it is already available for free. I am not a fan of companies or institutions that sell watermarked copies of public domain documents as if they "owned" the content. 

No comments:

Post a Comment