ProGen Study Group #3

Thursday, 26 Jun 2008 | by Mark Tucker

Professional Genealogy
As June comes to a close, we finish the third month of the ProGen Study Group. Our assigned chapters from Professional Genealogy were:

  • Chapter 4 – The Essential Library by Joy Reisinger, CG
  • Chapter 7 – Copyright and Fair Use by Val D. Greenwood, J.D., AG

Chapter 4 begins with the phrase: “A personal library is an essential tool of every professional. As genealogists, we use the written word on a daily basis for information about unfamiliar locales and repositories, as well as for source material.”

The chapter then proceeds to break down the selection criteria for our library into three goal areas: education, efficiency, and reliability. As we then proceed to stock our library, we can do it in stages starting with a basic shelf, adding more essential materials, and finally topping it off with useful, but discretionary items. We should also have a balance of three categories of media: instructional works, general references, and source materials. Like the public and academic libraries of today, our libraries will be a mix of books, magazines, journals, maps, and digital media. This chapter helps us plan our personal library so we can then purchase our items as time and budget allows.

The majority of the chapter is a 15-page bibliography of library items to consider. It covers topics in various areas including instruction manuals, journals, source guides, and international materials.

Chapter 7 is a must read for any genealogist or family historian. Unlike chapter 5 that talks about what is ethical, this chapter talks about what is legal. Both should be considered together. This chapter presents the basics of copyright and fair use and discusses them in the context of genealogy. I definitely learned some things I didn’t know on the topic my first read through.  But I will need to read it again at least a few more times for it to really sink in.

Practical Assignment
Our practical assignment this month was to:

  1. Catalog all of our genealogy-related publications in our personal library
  2. Using Chapter 4, identify missing items in our library and create a purchasing plan
  3. Create a wish list of other items to add to the purchasing plan

Here is my assignment:

Items in My Library Today

Items I Plan to Purchase

Peer Group Assignment
Our assignment for this month is to share our catalog of our personal library as well as our purchasing plan with our peers.  This gives our peers a chance to learn from our library as well as share some knowledge about items in our purchase plan.  For example, suppose that I feel PERSI is important to my library so it is part of my purchasing plan.  A peer might know that besides being part of a paid subscription at Ancestry, PERSI can be accessed for free (and often in our own homes) as part of Heritage Quest.  My wise peer might also then point me to an Encyclopedia of Genealogy entry for Heritage Quest Online that identifies libraries by state that offer free in-home access.

Discussion Group
The discussion topic for this month will be at least 5 questions dealing with copyright and fair use.

I usually write the ProGen post after we have had our online discussion, but this month I am doing it before for two reasons.  The first is that next week is Independence Day and I am not sure how many people will be available for our chat.  The second is that I thought I would just include my practical assignment as part of this post and send a link to my peers to review.

Depending on how (or if) the chat occurs this month, I might create a follow-up post with anything interesting I learned.

Here is a link to my ProGen Study Group #2  post for those interested.


  1. Keep up the good work, Mark. I see we have 5 books in common on LibraryThing, even though I am in Australia.


    Comment by Carole Riley — 26 Jun 2008 @ 3:36 pm

  2. By the way, doing the assignments in the blog is a great idea, I may do the same in mine!

    Comment by Carole Riley — 26 Jun 2008 @ 3:37 pm

  3. [...] Scout camp is over and the children are back in school.  July was a busy month.  It is already mid-August and I haven’t yet posted the July happenings for the ProGen Study Group.  For any newcomers, here is a link back to last month’s post: ProGen Study Group #3. [...]

    Pingback by ProGen Study Group #4 | ThinkGenealogy — 14 Aug 2008 @ 11:32 pm

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