A piece of good news for future genealogists, in a press release about the National Archives announcing an Advisory Committee for Electronic Records Archives, there was this little gem:
The ERA system will be a comprehensive, systematic, and dynamic means for storing, preserving, and accessing virtually any kind of electronic record, free from dependence on any specific hardware or software. ERA, when operational, will make it easy for NARA customers to find the records they want and easy for the National Archives to deliver those records in formats suited to customers’ needs.
Obviously it will be quite some time before we see some of the benefits of this, but the important thing is that they are doing this now, and not five or ten years from now when they have who knows how many documents locked into some proprietary format (there are probably a lot locked into proprietary formats as it currentl stands). Hopefully the states will follow their lead.
Now if only the major genealogy sites would follow their lead, and make their data (that you pay for) available in non-proprietary formats, we’d all be happy.