Economics of Genealogy Data

Brief report on the economics and licensing of the digital genealogy sector in England and Wales (Proposed Terms of Reference)

Purpose of the report

This report is produced by volunteers to help the work of the Open Genealogy Alliance. The most common objection or concern in relation to the OGA's call for open licensing of genealogical materials is the perceived negative economic implications. This report will help understand the context of these claims and inform proposals for alternative models.

Proposed scope

  • mapping the key actors in the sector: public, commercial and volunteer groups
  • mapping flows and repositories of data, revenue and intellectual property rights
  • general analysis of how value is created and added to public records: distribution of costs and benefits
  • detailed analysis of the processes of digitisation and transcription
  • evaluation of the contribution of volunteers
  • overall public funding for digital genealogy
  • rough assessment of the overall economic contribution of the sector
  • trends
  • compliance with best practice recommendations
  • pointers for future research

Specific research required

  • Commercial actors
    • Company public accounts (including foreign): websites, magazines
    • Press releases with value of contracts
    • Market research available (limited)
    • Interviews in small independent sector.
  • Voluntary groups
    • Public accounts charitable organisations
    • Detailed information on data revenues from selected organisations (interview)

Out of scope

The report will focus on the current status quo, and will not look at alternative scenarios. The following will not be included here, but will be the focus of future work:

    • potential effects of open licensing
    • loss of opportunity for innovation
    • alternative business models