17 January 2008

Archive CD Books UK Collection

The following announcement was posted by Ancestry.co.uk, and picked up by Dick Eastman:

Leading UK family history website Ancestry.co.uk has reached an agreement with Archive CD Books to host many of its records as it has now ceased to trade in the UK following the decision by its founder Rod Neep to retire from the business.

More than 1300 Archive CD Books collections will now be hosted on Ancestry.co.uk including one of the largest collections of county and city directories going back hundreds of years, a variety of 18th, 19th and 20th Century military records, parish registers from 1500s and Gazetteers and Pedigrees from across the UK.

Ancestry.co.uk Managing Director Simon Harper comments: “Rod has built up an impressive and genuinely useful collection at Archive CD Books over the past seven years which Ancestry is delighted to host and make available to its members.

“As a great deal of work goes into digitising historical records, Ancestry is always keen to talk with those who have already taken the time to do so and who may wish to host theme on our website.”

Rod Neep started Archive CD Books in the UK in March 2000 with the aim of making reproductions of old books, maps and documents available on CD and working with libraries, museums and record offices to renovate old books in their collections.

Rod Neep comments: “I am extremely pleased that my work in Archive CD Books will continue to be made available to the widest possible audience through Ancestry.co.uk. Following my retirement this is the ideal solution for everyone.”

Archive CD Books has expanded internationally over the years and will continue to operate in Ireland, The Netherlands, Canada, U.S.A. and Australia.

It appears that Ancestry.co.uk has not purchased the collection, but will be hosting part of it. Commenting on the announcement, Archive CD Books Canada President, Malcolm Moody, said "we continue to market the all the GB CD products as before." That will include the extensive collection of UK census CDs, many of which have images of the originals of considerably better quality than those on the Ancestry site, that are not part of the agreement with Ancestry.

The announcement from Ancestry.co.uk did not indicate when the images will become available. Ancestry seems to dribble new material onto its sites rather than introduce major new datasets. Ancestry may also have problems with some of the earlier CDs which are not searchable, or for which the OCR is not up to recent standards.

Apparently the agreement with Ancestry has been in the works since at least November, and was a major part of the consideration when Rod Neep closed the Archive CD Books UK operation.

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