An European example: Origins.net
Founded in 1997, Origins.net provides exclusive (online) access to the official,
genealogical information sources for Scotland held by the General Register Office for
Scotland as well as to important parts of the holdings of the Society of Genealogists.Via
online databases of index data, finding aids and abstracts, researchers may identify infor-
mation of interest on a pay-per-view/usage basis, and then order copies of the source
Network structure & main content
Origins.net brings together two separate web sites, Scots Origins and English Origins,
that provide fully searchable indexes of public records and other archival material.
Scots Origins provides its service on behalf of the General Register Office for Scotland
(GROS), and provides searchable indexes to the registers of births and marriages from
1553-1899, deaths from 1855-1925, and census records for 1881 and 1891.
English Origins provides indexes and abstracts from the Society of Genealogists (indexes
to Marriages,Wills,Witness depositions & Apprentice records); data sets currently online
contain over one million names covering 1568 to 1850.
Both services offer their content exclusively, i.e. not available anywhere else on the
Objectives & "business model"
Origins.net's objective is clearly not primarily making profit, but to make material more
easily accessible, recover costs, and support archival issues. Furthermore, by regularly adding
material from other important sources of genealogical information, Origins.net aims at
enhancing its position in genealogy and family history research as "the most important
resource on the Web for research relating to the British Isles".
Costing model & content delivery
Access costs are £6 for each web site, payable online by credit/debit card. On English
Origins this allows for up to 150 records to be retrieved over 48 hours. On the Scottish site,
the user gets 30 "page credits" valid for 24 hours starting from the time of payment. Each
page consists of a maximum 15 search results. Further credits can be bought on the same
Beside using the indexes, on both sites users can order copies of materials for £10: On
Scots Origins these are "extracts", being an official copy of all the information in an entry
in the original registers held by GROS. Orders are processed by GROS and the paper
documents sent by post.
In comparison, for the 1901 Census of the Public Records Office no charge for
searching the index is planned. If the search result is positive, i.e. the name of an individual
has been found, the user has two options:
"(1) View a digital image of the census return.The image will be the whole page from
the enumerator's book in which the individual's entry appears.This will cost 75p. Once you
have bought the image you can save it to your own system and/or print out a copy. (...)
(2) View the details for an individual transcribed from the census returns.This will cost
50p. If you wish to view the details for all the others in the same household you can do this
for an extra 50p." (Source: <http://www.census.pro.gov.uk/factsheet/factsheet4.htm>)