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journalists commented. (Klein, Johnson, 2000) They also pointed to Robert Armstrong,
chief executive of Genealogy.com, who "...has helped the cause. He has marketed his site
aggressively, contracting with others to mention his site on television and sponsoring other
related sites. He even sometimes shows up at senior citizen centres (...) `They want to
understand where they came from, their roots' he says.`Particularly among women, they
want to pass it down, to their kids'."
The typical family historian seems to be most likely: American, 55+, female, and has a
enough leisure time for this hobby. Of course, not only women aged 55+ are family
historians, their large presence in this field may be due to an American cultural pattern. But
there is a lesson to learn here with regard to people in their "third age" on the net. If there
is something on the Internet that is appealing to them, they will learn to use it, and use it
heavily.
According to a NetValue-Survey the percentage and number of home-based Internet
users aged 50 and over in December 2000 (NetValue-Survey) were:
The numbers are very encouraging, and it should be highlighted that Internet users aged
50 and over are a highly interesting group for cultural heritage institutions. Summarising
some important aspects of "silver surfers", one can say: that they are most likely "cultured
and curious", feel up to 15 years younger than the previous generation did, and have some
time and money available (e.g. people in the 50-59 age group make up the richest
generation of all time). (cf. Ryll, Collier, 2001)
As people in their "third age" in particular search for things that bear meaning and
represent enduring value, cultural heritage web sites with interesting themes and relevant
content might well be places they will visit regularly.
Sources: Articles & press information
Klein, Alec; Johnson, Carrie (2000): Number of women on the Internet surpasses men. In:
Washington Post, August 9, 2000. <http://www.genealogy.com/news-081000.html>
Ryll, Christine; Collier, Phillippe (2001):Wrinkles and all. In: Connectis, September 2001.
<http://specials.ft.com/connectis/FT393C3SRRC.html>
Weise, Elizabeth (2000): In a Web first, women are in the majority. In: USA today, August 9,
2000. <http://www.genealogy.com/news-080900.html>
VIII EXPLOITATION
Country
US
UK
Germany
France
Spain
%
24,4
19,3
17,2
15,7
7,5
Number of users
20.583.000
2.235.000
2.168.000
1.077.000
216.000
Source: Ryll, Collier, 2001