Today I went to do a search on The Scotsman Digital Archive website. I clicked on my bookmark link and got a message that a password and user name was required.
A little research online provided the answer. ProQuest has obtained The Scotsman Digital Archive and this means the only way to access it is through their site. The problem with that is the only way to access their site is through an institution or library that has a subscription to their service.
This means that I won’t have access to this site anymore. My local library can’t afford this service. To my knowledge the nearest institution that has a subscription is the University of Toronto Library system. The problem is being able to access the information at the University of Toronto Library if you are not a student.
My last experience trying to access newspapers from ProQuest was that a student ID card and password were required. Since I don’t have one the staff told me I could sign in using a guest name and password but it expired after thirty minutes and the process had to be repeated. Access to computers for the general public is limited.
I am very disappointed that The Scotsman decided to do this with their digital archive. It has made it unavailable to many people. It may be time for ProQuest to open up their subscription service to the general public. They may be pleasantly surprised at the response if they provided a subscription at a reasonable rate.
Genealogists are fighting to have records released to the public, digitized and put online. It is a sad state of affairs when records important to genealogical research were accessible and are now being made inaccessible.
The Scotsman used to have a free search and then you would pay to access a digital image. The subscription price was very reasonable. Now researchers will be lucky if they can access this information at all.
This is a sad day for people researching their Scottish ancestry.
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