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Digitised microfilm viewing restriction query

Catalogue entry
An East-India register and directory
https://www.familysearch.org/search/c...
This is a collection of a number of books on microfilm.

The microfilms which have been digitised show the icon of a camera with a key. Previously I had a note which said these books could be viewed at a FamilySearch Centre, or FamilySearch Affiliate Library.

As a non Church member, I now get the message
"Image Unavailable. This image is unavailable for online viewing at this time".
This seems to apply to all the digitised microfilm in this record set, so presumably not a technical fault.

Does anyone get a different message? Any suggestions why these books would be withdrawn? As far as I am aware, all the digitised microfilms would be in the public domain as far as copyright is concerned.
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  • Yes there are restrictions according to various agreements made with record owners. Please see this; https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/...
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  • 1
    I get the same message as a member.

    Several possibilities exist, but considering that only a few of the films are indicated as to having digital images, my guess is that this set of records is currently unavailable because the digitizing process is incomplete.

    But I really don’t know what the situation is.
    • I saw a similar situation to this while serving as staff at my local FHC. Same problem... image not available.

      In other words there is some kind of restriction on the digital images that is likely a contractual issue that the owners of the original records has placed on the images that may not have existed for the films. It is a legal situation.
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  • I took another look at the catalog entry. This started life as a physical book or series of books or magazines. As such availability may be a matter of having only one copy. There was no indication of when the physical work was publisher and as such, the work may be still protected by copyright laws. We don’t have publication dates, only the dates for the records.

    The books are not available anywhere but at the main library in Salt Lake City and never were loaned to FHC or affiliate facilities.
    • What surprises me is that the work was filmed, but there is no WorlCat reference. Having submitted a personal work to the FHL, I signed a release allowing the Genealogical Society of Utah (now FamilySearch) to use the material as they best determined.

      I have no idea what conditions were established for the filming of the material and any provisions that may have been made for the digital images of each work. That may be affecting the availability of the images, which hopefully is a matter of finalizing a contractual agreement.
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  • Maureen

    It looks like some of the material is available at https://archive.org/search.php?query=....

    I typed "The India list civil and military" into the Search field of https://archive.org and got to the above page, which appears to have at least some of the books available from this collection.
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    Weird - I tried the very first one (1803-1805 editions) and got the message "can be viewed only at a FamilySearch Centre, or FamilySearch Affiliate Library".

    The rest came up "This image is unavailable for online viewing at this time."

    Then I retried the first and got "This image is unavailable for online viewing at this time."

    To be honest - if it really did behave like that (i.e. if I'm not going daft) - that behaviour and the error message sound more like an error??
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    This should probably be reported on the catalog page with the "Errors?" button. With the other record that behaved inconsistently, that's what I did but instead of writing down what record I was reporting, I just reported the problem. This one, because it is appearing in this forum, can be checked a week or so after reporting the inconsistent behavior.
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  • Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. In terms of Tom's last post, I have reported this issue on the catalogue page using the Errors button.

    I look at this catalogue entry from time to time to check on the digitisation of the microfilms, as FamilySearch has a very extensive collection of this publication, The East-India Register & Directory

    There are a number of editions online (even including Ancestry), and in fact FamilySearch elsewhere has the 1808 version online, https://www.familysearch.org/search/c...,
    but FamilySearch appears to have the most complete collection, so I am hoping in time the whole collection will become available.

    (For those interested in sources for the British in India period, see
    https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Directories_...
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  • The error button on the catalog page is not for reporting problems with the films or digital images. The "Error " button is used for reporting catalog errors meaning mis- spellings, years wrong, titles etc. When you click on it it indicates " Please report any problems with this record. If there is a note indicating that it is a preliminary description, corrections may not be made until later." Really not clear and it has been requested to clarify it better but when you report problems with the films , images or permissions using this method it's not forwarded. The Knowledge article gives the following reason for usage of the Error button:
    Possible Problems
    Errors in catalog titles
    Entry is wrong. For example, the catalog entry shows the record covers a span of years, but the actual content covers different years or some years are missing. Or a patron clicks a link to a record and a different collection appears.
    The red link in the catalog does not take the patron to the online record.
    The catalog search is not working properly, going to the wrong location
    • view 3 more comments
    • 1. It's already been beta tested. This is to see the kind of responses and if they are of value, make a difference or if not needed. You can't really get that from the non-production site.
      2. I have no control over this. I am just passing the word along what the function does and doesn't do.
    • Phil

      Are you a FamilySearch employee, then? I understand employees have been directed to indicate this fact in their logo / profile.
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  • 1
    Phil, if the system is indicating that the images are viewable in the catalog and they come up with "This image is unavailable for online viewing at this time," then the entry needs to be looked at with respect to the images. The general blurb about why digital images are not available is fine until there is a conflict between the catalog and the images.
    • Oh, and how would we find that knowledge article? Or even know of it's existence?

      The ka's cannot listed and the search system in the help system is still pretty much, "guess the right keyword to find what you want."
    • They should be looked and the current process is to call in or use the feedback button to generate a case. The error button is a test cataloging is doing to see if it has value. The message "This image is unavailable for online viewing at this time," has many meanings including a new feature that is being tested.

      You are right finding the right keyword in the KA's can be hard. FS is looking at other ways to make it easier and complete re-writing of the KA's is being done currently to standardize and add keywords so the search KA feature finds KA's better.
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  • 1
    This entry - https://www.familysearch.org/search/c... - comes up with a list of films - when tried at a FHC - with my LDS account - the first film displayed ok - but all others came up with the "Image Unavailable" message . . . as did a re-try to view the first film.

    However . . . repeated attempts to view any of the films did actually successfully display each of the films correctly.

    Just like an old motor car - seems to need warming up - Technology! :-)
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  • 1
    The problem seems to be partially resolved.

    I just checked the catalogue entry, and all the digitised microfilms, except one, now show the restriction, as in the past, that these films could be viewed at a FamilySearch Centre, or FamilySearch Affiliate Library.

    One still showed the message "Image Unavailable. This image is unavailable for online viewing at this time". However, when I accessed this record a second time, it
    then showed it could be viewed at a FamilySearch Centre, or FamilySearch Affiliate Library. This changing message is consistent with Adrian's experience, when he said
    the error message sound more like an error.

    While pleased that the message about restricted viewing is mainly correct now, it's too bad if some one goes to the trouble of visiting a FHC or Affiliate Library, and the error message comes up there, and they can't view the film.

    I just see that Stewart Millar has posted a reply which confirms you can get varying messages. Thanks to Stewart for trying out these films at a FHC and confirming that the films became viewable.

    Presumably this situation could happen with any film viewed at a Family History Centre or Affiliate Library. How is one supposed to know that you need to keep trying?

    This seems to me to be a problem that needs to get fixed.
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  • 1
    I decided to plan my next visit to my local Affiliate library so went to the Catalog to check-out availability of a number of films I wish to view. In spite of only recently having viewed some of them there everything seems to be displaying the, "Image Unavailable. This image is unavailable for online viewing at this time" message.

    Is this indicative of a return of a previous bug or are all digitised films with restricted access now appearing with this message when being checked, say, from home?

    Two examples are Film # 100267775 and one at https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/619..., which does not have a film number against it.

    It would be good to know in advance what chances there are of viewing this material at the Affiliate.
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  • 1
    Here are the screen shots to illustrate the problem. Taken within minutes of each other, they show the same film number but with two different messages.

    Would be grateful if FamilySearch engineers can investigate and/or advise what is causing this. Many users would have given up with a search on getting (as I have) the second message first! (Please see Stewart Millar's comments of 1 month ago.)



    • I have just looked at some records (Catholic German church records) which are restricted to FHCs and ALs only (for both Latter Day Saints and non-members) and from a home computer get the second message that you got.

      See also https://getsatisfaction.com/familysea... where the "image unavailable for viewing at this time" mislead me into believing that record access restrictions had been changed.

      I hope that FS can fix the problem quickly. I also think that the wording "image unavailable for online viewing at this time" should not be used due to its vagueness. If a temporary bug is causing the problem, the message should be something like "these images are temporarily unavailable, please try again later". If permanent, a microfilm symbol should appear beside the film in the catalog.
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    I am still having the problem illustrated above. Stewart Millar has given the good advice to repeatedly click on Reload / Refresh when the "This image is unavailable for online viewing at this time" message appears, but this problem really does need to be resolved.

    Tonight I reloaded the page about ten times before I finally got the correct message ("To view this image....."). Surely most users are believing the original message and giving up straight away, thereby missing out on the opportunity of viewing these (albeit restricted access) images.

    Very sad the engineers have not been able to fix this problem.
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