The advent of easily accessible, affordable, user-friendly technology has changed the field of family history forever. While there has been constant change and improvement in access to genealogical learning materials in the last three decades, the last three years accelerated access to expert instruction via webinars exponentially. Today, webinar libraries have become a critical component of genealogical learning. See my recommendations at the end of this article for some excellent webinar library collections you can explore.
Are Webinar Libraries New?
The concept of webinar libraries in the form of recorded lectures has actually been developing ever since non-print media became available to capture lectures by subject matter experts. The National Genealogical Society was one of the first organizations to recruit and audio-record experts talking on a wide range of topics at large-scale conferences. Some of us still have our own libraries of tapes and CDs we purchased at NGS and other genealogy conferences, so we didn’t miss sessions presented at the same time. Many of these recorded lectures remain viable and interesting today, as they were given by genealogical experts with encyclopedic knowledge of the history, people, and records for parts of the United States.
When the media delivery systems grew better, we had the option of seeing lectures by live streaming and on-demand delivery. But those options were expensive and difficult for smaller societies and organizations to afford. The advent of webinar platforms offering easy, non-technical producer and user access has been a game changer to build webinar libraries of content. For most of us, our first webinar lecture experience was with Go-To-Webinar or Go-To-Meeting, now re-branded as GoTo or GoToWebinar and GoToMeeting. By early 2020, Zoom and Microsoft Teams were growing significantly and then exploded with the virtual needs by schools, businesses and yes… us little ol’ genealogists. WebEx by Cisco has been a favorite of governmental governments and agencies. Newer platforms with lots of marketing and interactive features are becoming preferred platforms, including Whova, Demio, Webinars On Air, Click Meeting, Ever Webinar, and its companion, Webinar Jam.
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