The Family History Dept in SLC has informed us that FH Centres
across Canada will change to Online Microfilm ordering possibly as
early as mid July 2010. FH Centre Directors should have received a
The online ordering system is already in place in Ausralia, New
Zealand, and the UK. Eventually it is planned to introduce the system
to the United States.
Features of the new system
1. Microfilms and microfiche will be ordered by FH Centre patrons using
a secure web site (part of LDS distribution system).
2. FH Centres will have administrative access to the web site to see
details of films that have been ordered into their centre, to record
that film have been received, later to record that they have been
returned and other information regarding films and their centre.
3. After implementation the current Inventory Manager software used by
FH Centres will no longer be needed.
What are some of the advantages of the Online system?
1. Anyone â€“ either member of the public or member of the church -
will be able to order a film from home instead of going to a FH Centre
to fill out a paper form and pay for their order. For some people this
could be a huge time and money saver. You will create an account for
yourself on the website using your email address and password of your
choice (this in not using LDS or FamilySearch Accounts). After you
place your order you can check the status on the website â€“ has the
order been processed or is it going to be delayed? As currently happens
only the FH Centre will be able to tell you that the film has actually
arrived. You will still need to go to a FH Centre to view microfilms.
As before films should not be removed from the FH Centre.
2. This will eliminate paper forms for placing orders and reduce the
amount of money being handled by FH Centres.
3. The FH Dept in SLC will set the price for rentals â€“ there will no
longer be any need to try keeping up with the fluctuations in the
Canadian dollar exchange rate. There will be one fee for all centres in
4. FH Centres will be able to upload their current film inventory to
the new system and also patron information.
5. The change is taking place over the summer when film traffic at FH
Centres is at a low level.
6. There will be no additional fees charged when films being returned
are held up at the border. Once the system is told that the film has
been returned (i.e. go on the web site and check returned) then there
is no penalty for delays in shipping.
This is a major change for FH Centres. Inevitably there will be some
challenges especially during the transition. Try to remember that the
objective is to improve the system. Be especially kind to your FH
Centre Director and their staff during the transition!
1. The new system needs either a credit card or debit card. What if a
patron has neither or doesnâ€™t want to order over the Internet? (note:
I personally have a separate low limit credit card that I reserve for
telephone and Internet ordering).
2. The system will need you to have an email address. What if the
patron doesnâ€™t? (note: perhaps they could create a free email account
or use the email address of a family member such as a son or daughter).
What if the patron doesnâ€™t have a computer at home and canâ€™t access
email at the FH Centre?
3. The change is taking place when some FH Centres are closed for
summer holidays or on reduced hours. (note: I suppose they will return
and then start using the new system).
4. I did not hear any mention of how costs to return films would be
dealt with. Some FH Centres use access to shipping companies used by
the church and do not pay a fee. Some FH Centres pay postage to send
the films to the shipping company used by the church â€“ in those cases
sending several films back at once appears to cost the same as sending
one film back.
5. The proposed cost for ordering microfiche is high unless you are
ordering several microfiche (same fee of $5 whether you order one
microfiche or 50). Note: rental fees are not about the cost/value of
the product bu the cost of handling and shipping.
While there will definitely be some
challenges in the transition, there are many good features to the new
No doubt we will learn of other advantages and challenges â€“ so please
share your thoughts using the Comments link on this web site.