Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Keeping up to date

The recent availability for on-line purchase of digital images of historical Queensland BDM registration documents has caused a flurry of renewed interest in what is now open but then (predictably) focused our interest on those things that remain inaccessible.

Policies to protect the private information of living individuals mean that there are time limitations on what information is on open access. The site sets out that

You can search for births which occurred more than 100 years ago; marriages which occurred more than 75 years ago and deaths which occurred more than 30 years ago.

So if a death occurred in January of 1984, you can not yet obtain the details without a special application (citing an appropriate relationship and justification). But just when will its status change to become available as an historical record?

Users certainly hope that the next update cycle is shorter than the last when online availability of the index to Death Registrations jumped from 1963 to 1983 in one step. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any statement that indicates when the next batch of records will be transferred from closed to open (that is, historical) status.

If the Attorney-General is looking for an example of world-leading practice in the field to emulate, I commend to him the following

The records available are updated nightly as the embargo period is reached.

Yes, you did read that correctly. BDM records in New Zealand are updated every 24 hours, so that you can access grandfather's birth registration on the day after the 100th anniversary of the event. There is no further waiting period.

I learned this from what I consider an exemplary model of how to present a "how to use the ... records". If you have any interest in the area, devote twenty minutes to a look at the presentation New Zealand Births, Deaths, and Marriages Online from the Family Search Learning Center.

1 comment:

  1. It may be like in NSW where the next year becomes available on January 1 each year. Hope that's the case.


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