- How can I help other genealogists without doing anything beyond whatever I happen to be doing for myself?
- How can I get help from other genealogists on a regular basis at no cost to me and no inconvenience to them, especially help I don't even know I need?
The first key to what I call passive RAK and research is to join and participate in an active Diigo group. Moultrie Creek (of Family Matters fame) created the Genealogy Research Resources group in February 2007. As of today, the group has grown to 134 members, and they have shared 1890 bookmarks with the group.
The second key is to download and install the Diigo toolbar, which enables your passive RAK (Random Acts of Kindness). As you do your own genealogical internet surfing, you'll find websites that may be of interest to another researcher, and using the toolbar, you can quickly bookmark and share them to the group in just a couple clicks. When I bookmark a site, I often copy and paste into the bookmark a little of the introductory material from the page. If none is available and the title of the page doesn't provide enough of an explanation of the site's content, I write a very brief explanation of my own.
The third key, which provides your passive research, is to enable a daily or weekly email digest of websites your group members have shared. You can do this when you join a group, and if necessary, you can change your setting later on the My Groups page. I choose to receive a daily digest. The digest, delivered to your email inbox, has clickable links to all websites shared to the group that day, along with any descriptive material the bookmarker added. I can easily ignore any site that clearly is of no use to my own research, but I click on any link that may interest me.
I can't begin to tell you how many times I've found items I didn't know existed. On one memorable occasion, a group member shared a newspaper website to the group and before the day was over, I had unearthed dozens of newspaper articles and one-liners about my great-grandmother, including minute-by-minute descriptions of her graduations from both high school and, the following year, normal school.
There's no need to worry that you'll be overwhelmed with email. After all, 1890 websites have already been shared to the group. You'll have to go looking for those. At Family Matters, Digital Archives Exploding Online explains how. And for more help, visit my Diigo list entitled Diigo Tips for Genea-Bloggers, which has links to additional helpful articles at Family Matters and elsewhere.
Am I preaching to the choir here? If you're not already singing Diigo's praises, you might be missing out on just the help you don't know you need. Join us!