Friday, June 28, 2013

Collaboration Doesn't Have to Be Hard

I'm curious about the amount of collaboration between major, and not so major, genealogy repositories. How much is there? Is there enough?

I know we can't make all of the people happy all of the time (I'm speaking for myself here for sure). However, I do believe in the power of numbers and that reaching more people creates the potential for more happy people. I also believe that cannibalism leads to fewer happy people. What in the world? How am I equating cannibalism with genealogy repositories? I will tell you.

I recently attended what should have been a major event at a well-known, state-of-the-art genealogy library. However, on that very same day a federally operated repository right across town was also hosting an event. The result was they both lost out on attendance and exposure. They cannibalized each other.

How do things like this happen? Did somebody try to reach out to the other and they just couldn't get other dates to work? Did nobody reach out because they are a "competitor" and think "why would we try to work with them?" Or did nobody even think to reach out?

Let's say they didn't want to reach out, for whatever reason, did they try to research online to see what the other repository is doing? Did they visit an event aggregator such as Conference Keepers to see what is listed and make sure their event is listed? Maybe they did. Maybe their hands are tied by some old-school, out-of-touch marketing director who thinks collaboration is "tipping your hand."

No matter the circumstances of how things played out, it's an interesting situation. I'm seeing more and more event options that overlap and/or are scheduled on back-to-back weekends that create conflicts. If that's how it has to be fine, I just want to know that someone actually put some thought into it.