In recent postings on the Australian boards (e.g. the repetitious Mr.Briggs – Au/General), transcribers and their work have come under severe and unwarranted criticism. All those researchers who have transcribed their own family documents will know very well that it is a tedious, time-consuming occupation. They know that it means painstaking detailed work and will be appreciative of the efforts of those who give of their time to transcribe millions of detailed items all for the benefit of others. At the present time, the English FreeBMD site contains somewhat more than 230 million individual records.
Entirely unjustified is the criticism of the National Library of Australia newspaper beta site. It appears to arise from the individual's failure to recognize that the search criteria are based on the work of a text recognition programme and not on transcriptions by individuals. The search programme is very successful in finding, perhaps not all, but most of the relevant records and of course provides an image of the article, which they themselves can transcribe.
The National Library of Australian is to be congratulated on its work in establishing this site, which adds a new, a third dimension to research into normal Australian life in bygone years. It is apparent that some people may have difficulty in using this resource but the NLA is deserving of the gratitude of all serious researchers wherever they may be.
Denis Poole Switzerland