Sharon Sergeant, the innovative genealogy educator at ancestralmanor.com
sent along the following message recently concerning recorded lectures at FGS Boston. These lecure recordings, when combined with the syllabus material make a very practical package for self directed learners. interested? Read on.
Now that a majority of the recordings from the 2006 Boston FGS
conference are available at the Lulu.com self-publishing site, getting
the word out to mainstream genealogists is extremely important.
The $1.99/download unit pricing needs a mainstream market. The breakeven
on the direct recording creation costs requires 10 times as many
conference recording sales even though the recordings are one fifth the
price of the old media, and much of the overhead and sales
administration costs are being absorbed by FGS volunteers and the
overall FGS budget.
Thus the total dollar volume of the needed recording sales is twice as
large as the recent historical dollar average of conference recording
sales – and incurs an increase in the overhead costs and volunteer
manpower of FGS.
Volume sales to a broader genealogical market is an important way to
continue on the path of leveraging technology – and making the broad
genealogy populace aware of the unique opportunities available at
genealogy conferences or with local genealogical society programs.
FGS, NGS, regional organizations and some anonymous angels have
subsidized the transition to digital recordings in 2005 and 2006. Repeat
Performance subsidized the preceding conferences with dual recording
(both tape and digital) media before the need for digital media was
It is not likely that such subsidies can continue. The professional
community needs to contribute to expanding the market, creating
additional product distribution.
Especially, since it is a rising tide that will float all boats. Look at
the music industry patterns for an outside-the-old-genealogical-box consideration: local gigs > recording distribution > national and international gigs – repeat recordings distribution, as needed, to stay on the public radar screen.
The generic characteristics of the 2006 FGS download recordings have
advantages and disadvantages that may vary by other events and venues.
After purchasing more than 30 of the 2006 FGS download recordings, I
would say that the recording quality is likely to be excellent for any
in the Boston Hynes venue – blessed with a centralized state-of-the-art
digital recording system. There is not much need on the sound engineers’
parts to provide, and integrate disparate and replace missing hardware,
or manually correct the recording for equipment and room problems – thus
decreasing direct labor overhead. So the direct costs for capturing the
recording were only $40-$50 per session. Other venues could cost
$50-$100 per session, though the venues may cost less for overall
conference requirements based on facillity and feature market rates,
union agreements etc.
Editing of the sessions I have heard do have two minor deficiences. The
start and finish often includes pre and post informal talk, but
sometimes is truncated after the presentation begins or before it ends.
There is no professional titling and amelioration of the variations
recording by recording. The general public may not expect the
professional editing that was the norm in the old recordings, so I would
also also like to encourage listeners not to focus on the form versus
the substance of the recordings on these editing issues.
However, if a recording is highly dependent on bibliographic syllabus
details or overhead images, I would also suggest that the listener
contact the speaker and ask if the speaker provides those components –
even if it is at an additional fee.
You can provide recording reviews for these FGS 2006 recordings through
the built in mechanism on the Lulu.com site.
While I was unable to figure out how to provide an overall rating on
Lulu.com, I was able to easily create a structured review as a sample
for an excellent presentation by Ed Smith about the NY G&B :
F-258 The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society Library
by Edward H. L. Smith, III
Researchers, speakers, writers, columnists, editors, librarians,
societies, other educators and the entire professional genealogy
community should be able to benefit from a greater awareness of easily
accessible and inexpensive resources to create a broader dissemination
by referencing these recordings.
Now you can also provide inexpensive and “instant gratification”
recording resource referrals – beating the odds on the traditional
marketing saw “Cheap, fast, good – pick two”.
I will post the NY G&B review to the email lists I subscribe to with New
York research interests. I also created an entry on my own website for
the recording topics in general, plus the reviews I add or those of
others, as I encounter them.
Everyone has venues that they regular communicate with. Use this
inexpensive recording resource as an opportunity to provide a heads up
to the communities you regularly interact with.
2007 national, regional and local conferences need to look realistically
at digital recording costs and benefits. They need to be able to project
the benefit value, and minimize the past risk and investment issues.
Volume sales will need to materialize to keep this transition moving.
Get the word out there. Everybody wins when you connect the local ponds
and creeks to the rivers and oceans of the larger genealogical world.