Monday, August 20, 2012

New CHL Online Catalogue

Several weeks ago, the Church History Library released its new online catalogue. Having already worked with the library remotely, I thought I would try out the new program.

The website, (, was easy to use. I searched through the documents I have been considering looking up the next time I was in Salt Lake City, and picked one I thought was reasonably small: a page or two. Near the top of the page was a link for requesting that the document be scanned. The exact wording was "Request this item to be digitized"

I clicked on the link and was taken away from the church site, (with a prompt asking if I was sure I wanted to do that) which I thought was odd at first. The page that eventually opened gave me three choices, depending upon my request. The first was a general request, which seemed the most appropriate for me. I don't recall the other two. (This has actually been altered since then. Now it takes me directly to the correct request form. It even fills out the form, partially. And there is a note about a Digitization Fee, which I didnot get whan I made my first request).

Even though I am signed into my LDS account, I still had to fill out my name, email, phone number and zip code. Really it was very easy, so no complaints. I filled out the general request form and sent it off. Almost right away (less than 10 minutes), I got an reply, probably automated, saying I should have an answer by a certain date which in my case was 7 days out. I have no idea whether that is programmed into the reply or if that was an estimate based on the simplicity of my request. Maybe it is not automated.

Just six days later came the reply. A pdf file showing a scanned image of the file I wanted. It was one page and the scan was definately good enough to read.  I was pleased with the whole process. I needed no guidance or instruction, and I got exactly what I asked for. My only issue was I was given the impression that the image would be made available for vewing online. Instead I received an email attachment. I'm left to wonder if I misunderstood the intended process (which would not be unusual), or whether a different process was followed for some unknown reason. But my confusion on that point doesn't reduce the usefulness of this new service, and my excitment over new material to work with. Easily 9 out of 10. Maybe even 9.5!!! Thanks to the CHL!

OK! For those wondering about what I requested, it is a letter. I think the writer and the recipient might still be alive. So I was going to track them down. More on that on my next post.

No comments: