Friday, August 3, 2007

NARA proposes partnership with Genealogical Society of Utah, posts draft agreement for public comment

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) proposes to partner with the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU) to digitize and provide public access to certain public records held by NARA.

In a welcome demonstration of transparency, NARA has placed the text of the proposed agreement online and is seeking public comment.

The proposed agreement is nonexclusive and specifies that NARA will get copies of all digitized records GSU creates. It appears that in most cases researchers will have free access to digitized materials on the website, though in some cases FamilySearch will have a five-year window to recover costs by charging access fees. During the five-year period, digitized materials will be provided free in NARA's research rooms around the country, and, "in many cases," free online. After five years all restrictions appear to dissolve.

NARA appears to be drafting partnership agreements with the public interest in mind. I urge all interested in the "good terms" issue to review this agreement and comment as you see fit.

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