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2010 in review and 2011 in prospect

2011 is now upon us. We want to consolidate following a very busy and formative 2010 for Unlock the Past (UTP). In many ways we were pioneering with a number of new and innovative ventures. We have gained more experience, new skills, knowledge etc. to make 2011 better again. 

Click here for a handy PDF version of this blog post.

New web site - www.unlockthepast.com.au
In December 2009 - web site launched in its current form to allow easy management of a wide variety of content, including user contributions to the directory and events sections.

In 2011 - this will be redesigned for better access to the key site content and more flexible sorting and filtering of our growing online lists of events, directory and free content

Events Calendar - click here
In 2010 - well over 300 events were listed by event organisers during the year. It is a convenient guide to coming (and past) events and also used by some as guide to suitable dates when planning their own special events.

In 2011 - our target is to double or treble the number of events listed to make this even more useful. Please use this to advantage to list any event you are responsible for - or suggest to the organisers that they list their event there. It is free and easy to use. Although you can enter an isolated event as a "visitor" it is far better to register first (and log in) to enable you to update your own events. If you have already entered an event without registering why not register now and advise us which events you have previously entered - we can then link this to you as a registered user. We will develop better and more flexible sorting and filtering options in the first half of 2011.

As well as listing hundreds of events and supporting them with publicity (and often sponsorship), we plan a few of our own, including:Sydney Expo

Directory - click here
In 2010 - well over 200 societies, libraries, archives, museums, other relevant organisations as well as product and service suppliers were listed since online listing opened in August 2010.

In 2011 - our target is a tenfold increase to 2000 organisations and product and service suppliers - to make this a truly useful guide to resources and help. Please use this to advantage (to you and users) by listing your organisation, business or service. It is free and easy to use - and unlike many online directories can be kept up to date by the person submitting the entry. If you register first (and log in) you can then update your own entry whenever you need to. Although you can make an entry as a "visitor" it is far better to register first (and log in) to enable you to update your own details. If you have already made an entry without registering why not register now and advise us what you have previously entered - we can then link this to you as a registered user. We will develop better and more flexible sorting and filtering options in the first half of 2011.

The key directory information submitted online will also be included in the directory section of the soon to be released History and Genealogy 2011: Australia and New Zealand. Information added during the year will be in the 2012 edition.

Online book/products directory or catalogue - we are considering developing an online catalogue of books, data CDs etc for sale - new and used. This in its basic form would likely be a free service to contributors and users - with all orders being placed direct with the contributor. This will be fully categorised and searchable and likely run as a separate site.

Historical and Genealogical Research Directory (RD) - coming soon
This will be based on the highly useful GRD (International Genealogical Research Directory) published in print form (and CD for later years) by Johnson and Sainty from 1981-2007. Although it could be accommodated in the existing UTP directory, which already lists a few research interests, it is intended to make this a separate site dedicated to research interests. We recognise the online era is somewhat different from pre-internet days and that there are a multiplicity of online genealogical tree sites. But this multiplicity is itself a problem - if you don't know and check ALL that exist. And research interests extend far beyond names. There are a number of advantages of on online research interests directory.

  • research interests are much broader than names on a family tree.
  • as well as surname interests the RD will include place, subject and any other interests you have in the history, genealogy and heritage fields.
  • some people will use several online tree products - the RD can include all you use.
  • unlike family tree sites you are not just putting your data up there for any one to use, without needing to contact you, listing your research interests only, rather than family trees requires them to contact you to exchange information.
  • the RD is free to submit to, and free for anyone to use, unlike some sites where you need to pay to see the information.
  • the RD is quick and easy to submit to - and maintain.
  • the RD is always up to date with research interests and submitters details (as far as maintained by submitters).

Publishing - click here
In 2010 - our first two Unlock the Past publications appeared in April. By the end of 2010 we had 10 titles in print and another 6-8 in preparation. The latest list of titles in print with full descriptions can be seen here.

In 2011 - several new titles will appear in early 2011 and many more from then on. Our major publication will be History and Genealogy 2011: Australia and New Zealand - due at the end of January 2011. This inaugural annual edition will feature:Cover

  • 66 articles on a wide variety of topics - click for full list.
  • printed in full colour throughout.
  • a directory of organisations and product and service suppliers.
  • advertising of organisations and product and service suppliers.
  • a vouchers section - hundreds of dollars worth of discounts.
  • approx 250 pages.

New authors and topics wanted - if you feel you have expertise in your topic, and as a writer, we would like hear from you. Unlock the Past can help make your expertise more widely available. You can get some financial return by selling the book yourself and from royalties from sales by other. We are preparing some guidelines for authors, but in the meantime we can give you further information. Contact Alan at (08) 8395 7476 or alan@unlockthepast.com.au. Why not develop a talk you give into a booklet. Many on our current list are developed from our speakers’ talks.

Resellers - Unlock the Past publications are available at reseller discounts to societies and others who wish to resell them. We particularly commend History and Genealogy 2011: Australia and New Zealand (due end Jan. 2011) to any society (no matter how small), business or person to resell to members or others as a revenue earner. Discounts ranging from 15% to 40% will be available for orders of three or more copies.

Online resources
These sections of our web site are in their early stages, but a good range of free information is already there:

  • blogs - 55 blogs were published from September 2009 to date - research tips, poll results, event reports etc.
  • free samples of CD data - hundreds of samples from the Archive Digital Books Australasia range of historic data CDs.
  • polls - 24 polls were conducted from September 2009 to date. See results of all polls here.
  • free articles - this section will be developed much more in future.

In 2011 - we expect this whole section to develop significantly. We welcome submission of articles or shorter items of interest for our blogs. This is a good place to introduce your expertise to a wider audience. If anyone would like to be the lead contributor to a particular blog theme we would be pleased to hear from you (e.g. a state, county, country or other subject). If you don't already run your own blog this is a great place to start to get good exposure of your expertise - with a site that already has considerable traffic. If you already have your own blog, then you may consider running a parallel blog on the UTP site to reach a different audience.

Social media
UTP is a user of social media - as are some of our major partners and team members. Gould Genealogy and Shauna Hicks regularly feature UTP (and many other) interests and are highly recommended.YouTube

Alan Phillips and the Unlock the Past team