With regard to historical public records and other archive material an explorative
DigiCULT case study looked into the online genealogy and family history market. This
booming market is today dominated by major commercial players that are US based
(Ancestry.com, Genealogy.com). Furthermore, it needs to be highlighted that these players
are expanding, i.e. integrating the information of European databases into their stock.
With many European archives now starting projects to get into the online
genealogy and family history market, in-depth analysis and regular monitoring
is required, taking into account international as well as national developments.
The European Commission should commission a study on the European/global
market for genealogy.
In order not to let extra-European players completely take over the genealogy &
family history market, appropriate sector and institutional policy measures should
Public records and related archival institutions should themselves closely observe and
proactively explore their opportunities on the genealogy market.They should define
and develop their own position and strategy (depending e.g. on their holdings) as
well as favourable strategic partnerships.
Institutions in the field should also look into lessons that can be learned from the
genealogy & family history market. A key factor for commercial success in this
market is building and/or supporting communities of users.
Subscription-based virtual environments, in particular for e-learning, are today being
explored by major museums as well as new cultural heritage organisations (e.g. louvre.edu,
SCRAN, AMICO). In Europe, these projects are not commercially driven, but developed
within projects that are publicly funded.The aim of these projects is to build protected
environments that provide high-value cultural heritage resources for educational use.
Commercial ventures related to the cultural heritage sector are rare (e.g. Fathom.com) and
of questionable success.
National and regional governments should support the establishment of virtual
protected environments as the most relevant future platforms for cultural e-