I came across the site today through a news article which suggested they added 3 million Revolutionary War pension files, thanks to a deal with FamilySearch. currently adds about 2 million documents each month from the National Archives. let’s users annotate entries, tag them and create communities around historical topics.

I had not come across the site and raced to see what they had to offer. The site looked great and the concept was a winner. So what’s my problem? Well they expect you to pay!

Site like Footnote just don’t get it. This information should be free to all.


3 Responses to “Footnotes”

  1. Bob Meade Says:

    I can see the need for a business like the footnote site to charge, because of the profit motive.

    However, I agree, access to all of the information from the U.S. national Archives should be free to all U.S. citizens, as it is part of your heritage. U.S. citizens own it and should not have to pay extra to see it. On the other hand again, the NARA website can be painfully slow, and if it were not for some private enterprise intervention, maybe lots of that content would not make it online for a long time yet.

    A balancing act, no?

  2. breathinghistory Says:

    No – the content should be free to the user. However, this dosen’t mean the website can’t make money. Look at the business model for Google or Myspace. If you can drive enough trafic to a site then you can make money without charging.

    We just need to make it clear that this kind of site has no place on the internet.

  3. G Says:

    Just to clarify the arrangement between The National Archives and Footnote. This information is available for free now and will be all free in 5 years in your homes with millions on tax dollars saved.

    “By February 6, (2007) the digitized materials will also be available at no charge in National Archives research rooms in Washington D.C. and regional facilities across the country. After an interval of five years, all images digitized through this agreement will be available at no charge through the National Archives web site.”

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