The low roar you heard March 26 was the cheering of researchers everywhere that’s when ProQuest released its updated Periodical Source Index (PERSI) to libraries that subscribe to the company’s HeritageQuest Online <www.heritagequestonline.com> genealogy databases.
PERSI is the top tool for researching the contents of genealogical journals and newsletters. It indexes articles in more than 6,000 periodicals published since 1800 in the United States and Canada. Staff at Indiana’s Allen County Public Library (ACPL) <www.acpl.lib.in.us>, which houses that impressive periodicals collection, create PERSI. ProQuest bought exclusive rights to the index in June 2003.
Ancestry.com’s <Ancestry.com > version of PERSI is still available to subscribers while its parent company, MyFamily.com, hashes out a distribution agreement with Pro-Quest (still pending at press time). AncestryPlus, a libraries-only cousin to Ancestry.com, stopped offering PERSI in July 2003.
To search PERSI, you’ll need to visit a library that subscribes to HeritageQuest Online. You also may be able to access it from home through your library’s Web site subscribing institutions can opt to purchase remote access for their members.
Our genealogy-technology guru Rick Crume gave the new PERSI a whirl, and reports that it has a pleasing interface and researcher-friendly terminology. Search capabilities appear similar to Ancestry.com’s version, though HeritageQuest Online searches turned up more spelling variations, such as plurals (for example, missionaries in addition to missionary). HeritageQuest Online plans to link some PERSI search results to actual images of the articles referenced. (In the meantime, you can order photocopies of articles from the ACPL.) Look for a full review of PERSI in the October 2004 Family Tree Magazine.