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Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Monday, September 5, 2011

In pursuit of books, genealogy and otherwise

I have spent a great deal of my life in libraries. One of the many reasons I don't live in a small town is the lack of access to larger libraries. But as times change, I am finding that physical access to libraries is becoming less and less of an issue. However, as I began to focus more and more on genealogy, to the exclusion of some of my many other interests, I found that even the larger libraries in a huge city like Phoenix, Arizona are not much help when it comes to genealogically related items. By this, I don't mean that the libraries do not have research resources, but what they lack are books I find pertinent to learning more about genealogy in general. For example, here are few books of the many that I have purchased because copies were not readily available in libraries near me:
  • Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. Baltimore, Md: Genealogical Pub. Co, 2007. 
  • Fraser, Bruce, and Jeff Schewe. Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS4. Berkeley, Calif: Peachpit, 2009.  
  • Rahman, Mizanur, and Jeffrey T. Orloff. MediaWiki 1.1 Beginner's Guide Install, Manage, and Customize Your Own MediaWiki-Based Site. Birmingham, U.K.: Packt Pub, 2010.
  • Buzbee, Bruce. Getting the Most Out of RootsMagic. Springville, Utah: RootsMagic, 2000.  
  • Stauffer, Todd. How to Do Everything with Your Web 2.0 Blog. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008. 
  • Smith, Bud E., and Michael McCallister. WordPress in Depth. Indianapolis, Ind: Que, 2010.  

Some of these books are on subjects related to my blogging and also my interests in photography and scanning. They all have one thing in common, they are not available in the library. Since I purchased all these books, I now find that two of them, the Blog book and Evidence Explained have shown up in libraries.

One thing I have found is that some of the above books and many others are now being made available online in some sort of downloadable format. I really don't mind reading books on my iPhone or on an iPad, but many of the reference type books are only useful if I can look at the book and work on my computer at the same time. So having a copy on an eReader doesn't really work too well. I can run two computers at once but I don't do well running the iPhone and my computer at the same time, since they both require me to use both hands. (I have been know to operate three computers at once but that is usually when I am loading files or searching online or something doesn't take three hands).

One great boon to my use of books has been  First of all, it has almost anything I can think of somewhere in its vast catalog. As a bonus it tells me if a library close to me has the book. It also tells me if the book is available in an eBook format. Finally, if all else fails, links me to, or where ever else the book might be purchased. When I see the price of the book, I can decide whether to purchase it or try to get the book through Inter-library loan. But now, in ever increasing numbers, books are available to check out online. has a huge selection of digitized books, but also has the where you can check out over a million books. is wiki and you can contribute new information or correct existing information. They are seeking to have a web page for every book ever published. Interestingly, I can find some of the books available to borrow from that I cannot find in my local libraries.

So my use of libraries is slowly evolving. Now, I check for the book online before going to the library, especially for genealogy related books when the library's collection is rather limited. If I can find an eBook version and I am so inclined, I will read it online on my iPhone or other device. If I cannot find the book in an eBook format, I will consider purchasing the book. What has changed is that the library, rather than my major source for books, has become just another source.


  1. The Phoenix Public Library inter-loans books from other libraries in the United States as do most libraries and library systems. I do the ILL for a very small library, and have gotten a wide variety of books for other patrons and myself. Give it a try - most are free!The following url takes you to the information needed for Phoenix:

  2. Thanks for the book information! It will be very useful.