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ericwebb

Naval & Military Press - War Diaries DVD-ROM

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Guest

Thanks Jim. I have always found them helpful. If you search for 1/6th Black Watch 13th November 1916 can you find that straight away.

Also, I know there are diaries in the wrong place,( I think they were scanned the way they came from Kew, without being sorted; can't think of an example) but if say, the 2nd Essex diary, for April 1918, was mixed up with the 7th Suffolf Regt, would a search for the 2nd Essex April 1918 find it?

Mike

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Guest

Has the pricing all changed?

I originally signed up for the online 30 day trial for £4.95 back in October. It now seems to be £25... a five fold increase

I then signed up for a year at £49.95 and it now appears to cost £95 (incl VAT).....a near doubling.

The War Diaries DVD ROM was being offered at £250 (an 'early-bird' £100 discount I recall) and is now £350 + £70 VAT = £421 - although I can no longer find it on the NMP website

The website offers access to the diaries and the campaign medals. In theory, if one bought the Campaign Medals DVD ROM (£471 inc VAT) and the War Diaries DVD ROM (£471) makes a total of £942. Given all the content in the two DVD ROMs is available online for £95 (incl VAT) via NMA the pricing suggests one could use the online access for 9 years and 11 months before buying the two DVD's makes economic sense.

Comparing the DVD ROM for the campaign medals (£471) with Ancestry's £120 annual membership (it includes the same medal data with access to the original ledgers) the maths is equally perplexing. One could get 3 years and 11 months' access to Ancestry for the equivalent price and get the same data. Ancestry's membership also includes the SWB data which NMA also sells for £174 (incl VAT). For someone wanting SWB and campaign Medal rolls it is all included in Ancestry's pricing but would cost a total of £645 via NMP's DVD ROMs. Equivalent to five years and 4 months' annual Ancestry subscription.

Am I missing anything? It seems a rather unsustainable pricing structure. MG

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keithmroberts

I don't think you are missing anything Martin, although having purchased the medal roll disk before Ancestry revealed their version of these, I think i would incline to the view that the transcription of names is generally much more accurate with N&MP. Having said which, I would have waited for Ancestry without a doubt had I realised that Ancestry were so near to publishing the same information and with images to boot.

Keith

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Guest

I don't think you are missing anything Martin, although having purchased the medal roll disk before Ancestry revealed their version of these, I think i would incline to the view that the transcription of names is generally much more accurate with N&MP. Having said which, I would have waited for Ancestry without a doubt had I realised that Ancestry were so near to publishing the same information and with images to boot.

Keith

The nice man at NMA/NMP told me on the phone that the names on the rolls were double-keyed - two independent transcribers whose work is then compared and then the differences are checked. A very sensible way of minimalising errors. The nice man also told me verbally that they have an error ratio that is a fraction of a per cent.

I am up to my eyes in transcribing 1914 and 1914-15 Star medal rolls - pushing past 10,000 named individuals, so a reasonable sample. Checking my small efforts against Ancestry and NMA's offerings, I can say with a fair degree of certainty that the NM&P transcription is no better or worse than Ancestry's and both contain levels of errors that are way too high for my needs and way off what NMA/NMP verbally claimed. Interestingly they do not make a written claim on accuracy levels. A similar proportion of errors are common to both data sets. This might simply reflect poor original material. I note that at the very bottom of the Ancestry blurb on the SWB it states:

The digitization of the SWB records is joint partnership between Ancestry and the Naval and Military Press.

That surprised me. A lot. It might suggest one would expect similar levels of transcription errors for this particular product. One thing is for sure, the price of these products can only come down over time. MG

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westkent78

Martin,

Ancestry looks to have used double keying too for the medal rolls. I've found entries in their index where the transcribers obviously differed in their interpretation of regimental numbers and so both versions made it into the online index you can bring up alongside the image.

Not happy that N&MP look to have increased their pricing on the online option for the war diaries, but I can understand why they've done it. Still more economical than downloading from the NA I suppose although all that time stitching individual pdfs together might add up.

Matthew

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keithfazzani

I never thought I'd say this but ancestry is beginning to look cheap, at least in comparative terms. You are right about muddling up of war diaries, I am not sure where it originated but it pays to look carefully.

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Guest

Martin,

Ancestry looks to have used double keying too for the medal rolls. I've found entries in their index where the transcribers obviously differed in their interpretation of regimental numbers and so both versions made it into the online index you can bring up alongside the image.

Not happy that N&MP look to have increased their pricing on the online option for the war diaries, but I can understand why they've done it. Still more economical than downloading from the NA I suppose although all that time stitching individual pdfs together might add up.

Matthew

I am not sure which institution has the most bizarre pricing policy -TNA or NMA - as both are equally nonsensical. The brigade diaries in particular are becoming prohibitively expensive. Some are split into as many as 27 separate files under TNA each costing £3.30 while others are a single file.

There is no consistency across the TNA offering in terms of pages or MB per £. The pricing structure has no 'structure'. It is a shambles. Pricing on a £ per page or £ per MB must be one of the simplest things to do, yet appears to be impossible. It is a complete lottery.

All three (TNA, NMA, Ancestry) have simply atrocious search functions that allow little or no filtering or sorting. Personally I think NMA's search function is the worst, particularly once one enters a file. Sometimes it is a magical mystery tour. Having forked out £50 I now barely use it as the navigation is far too slow and clunky. The inability see thumbnails is a huge mistake in my view. MG

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David_Underdown

This year's digitisation should be more consistently divided. It's not so straightforward though as we want to try to keep things grouped logically, and there's no piont giving people they are not actually interested in. Some units have very slim diaries, so there will still be some relatively small downloads, but the upper limit is being much mor erigorously adhered to, so you shouldn't see anything much more than 170 pages in a download. The Statutory Instrument (fees order) that defines the download fee (and also other copying charges) is based simply per file so far as digitial material in Discovery is concerned. I believe the order is being reviewed this year, but I've no idea if it will revisit the charging basis.

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Tom Lang
David Underdown, on 29 Jan 2015 - 03:46 AM, said:

<snip>

I believe the order is being reviewed this year, but I've no idea if it will revisit the charging basis.

David,

It is a very disconcerting and expensive exercise when trying to get the 'complete' Diary of a Battalion when it was moved (for military reasons in 1914) between, or back and forth from Brigades or Divisions.

As a simple example: A Battalion being moved to another Division (or Brigade) for one month, then is returned to it's original Division (or Brigade), makes the Diary (from the TNA point of view in 2015) a 3-part Diary, with 3 different files and 3 fees.

Surely, if I order the Diary of a particular Battalion, I am not asking much if I expect to receive exactly that, and not a piece-meal approach to leave the onus on me to 'know' that there are a possible endless number of parts (files) to complete a Diary.

I'd like to acquire a complete Diary - that should be a simple request, and not an exercise in military history of 100 years ago.

It just appears to me that no modern thinking has been applied to a simple problem. A 'War Diary' is a 'Diary' and not 'a set of files'.

I don't think "the charging basis" will be changed as it is such 'a good little earner'.

I do appreciate the efforts to provide us with the digital downloads.

Just my 2d worth.

Kindest Regards,

Tom.

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David_Underdown

This reflects the fundamental archival principle that you don't change the original order of the files. The National Archives have taken the files as the War Office left them, the ordering reflects the hierarchy of the army, not the outlook of an individual unit. The diaries were submitted to different HQs so they are different files. This preserves the original context in which the unit was operating at a given time, so you can work your way up the war diaries of the chain of command to really understand how it was operating.

The diaires were not written as a single continuous work, month-by-month they were sent up to the next levl of the chain of command, you need to think of the bigger picture.

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westkent78

I wish the NA would just institute a subscription service where we could download to our heart's content for a single annual fee and we wouldn't have to have 3 or more other subscriptions which have piecemealed the documents with sometimes questionable indexing.

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Tom Lang
David Underdown, on 29 Jan 2015 - 10:34 AM, said:

This reflects the fundamental archival principle that you don't change the original order of the files. The National Archives have taken the files as the War Office left them, the ordering reflects the hierarchy of the army, not the outlook of an individual unit. The diaries were submitted to different HQs so they are different files. This preserves the original context in which the unit was operating at a given time, so you can work your way up the war diaries of the chain of command to really understand how it was operating.

The diaires were not written as a single continuous work, month-by-month they were sent up to the next levl of the chain of command, you need to think of the bigger picture.

I understand that David.

But now that the Diary of a particular Battalion is in digital format, it is merely a process of putting/pulling together a set of digital files from a variety of one or more filesets into one download, no matter where they exist in the "chain of command" scheme of things.

I'd like to think that the index of the Discovery database could be used for that purpose, regardless of the "hierarchy of the army".

e.g. 14th Bn Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_col=200&_d=WO&_sd=1914&_ed=1920&_p=1900&_hb=tna&_q=14+Argyll+and+Sutherland+Highlanders+WO+95

This shows 2 files = 6.60, or my suggestion would/could be 2 files combined into 1 download = 3.30.

But it's a 'nice little earner' so we're not going to see that change.

Kindest Regards,

Tom.

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Tom Lang
westkent78, on 29 Jan 2015 - 12:18 PM, said:

I wish the NA would just institute a subscription service where we could download to our heart's content for a single annual fee and we wouldn't have to have 3 or more other subscriptions which have piecemealed the documents with sometimes questionable indexing.

Or maybe make them available via DVDs.

Kindest Regards,

Tom.

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westkent78

Or maybe make them available via DVDs.

Kindest Regards,

Tom.

Ah, but there's so much more to download which at present is prohibitively expensive if you're not after a limited number of individuals. Naval Service files, Mercantile Marine Medal Cards, Squadron records etc.... DVDs unless saddled with some awful limitations like the DRM on the N&M disks would appear to be a problematic. Subscription is the way to go, but with one single provider not the scattergun approach we currently have.

Best regards,

Matthew

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David_Underdown

I understand that David.

But now that the Diary of a particular Battalion is in digital format, it is merely a process of putting/pulling together a set of digital files from a variety of one or more filesets into one download, no matter where they exist in the "chain of command" scheme of things.

I'd like to think that the index of the Discovery database could be used for that purpose, regardless of the "hierarchy of the army".

e.g. 14th Bn Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_col=200&_d=WO&_sd=1914&_ed=1920&_p=1900&_hb=tna&_q=14+Argyll+and+Sutherland+Highlanders+WO+95

This shows 2 files = 6.60, or my suggestion would/could be 2 files combined into 1 download = 3.30.

But it's a 'nice little earner' so we're not going to see that change.

Kindest Regards,

Tom.

Discovery is designed around the archival hierarchy. In any case, the context in which the record appears is important too. Don't get fixated on the battalion record, there will be much related information in the higher formation diaries. Overall, the download service is supposed to operate on a cost recovery basis, it is not intended to be profit making as such. Digitisation is an expensive process, and obviously there are costs to maintaining an online service, it also has to be born in mind that a fair proportion of digitised material has never even been downloaded (though it cost money to digitise and tp keep it online).

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Guest

Just checked with NMP today and the War Diaries DVD ROM is £450 + £90 VAT = £540 ..... more costly than I thought. So here is the revised maths when VAT is included:



War Diaries DVD ROM £540


Medal Roll DVD ROM £471


Total:...........................£1,011



Compared to:



Website access 1 year £95



which means one could subscribe for 10 years and 7 months for the equivalent price. It will be interesting to see how pricing changes over time. I suspect in ten years time DVD ROM technology will be as obsolete as the Video Tape is now. Most forward looking companies are providing data online. The whole DVD thing seems to be looking backwards rather than forwards. IMG

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Guest

It still says £50 a year here? Click

" Pricing for subscriptions will be modest, starting from under £5 for a 24-hour period to a full year at a remarkable £50. "

Mike

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Guest

It still says £50 a year here? Click

" Pricing for subscriptions will be modest, starting from under £5 for a 24-hour period to a full year at a remarkable £50. "

Mike

On the website today it shows £95

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Guest

Yes I saw that, but if anyone wanted to subscribe for a year, today's the day to do it, when they are still advertising the original price?

Mike

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Guest

Yes I saw that, but if anyone wanted to subscribe for a year, today's the day to do it, when they are still advertising the original price?

Mike

I assumed it was an old advert that had not been changed.... seems odd that the website is not showing the 24 hour special offer... M

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Guest

I assumed it was an old advert that had not been changed.... seems odd that the website is not showing the 24 hour special offer... M

It probably is an old advert, but it's up to them to get their act together, I would have thought you could hold them to it?

Mike

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Guest macca1914

For anyone who is interested I have been offered the Battalion War Diaries DVD ROM for £280, Unfortunately I already bought it at the early bird price.

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johnreed

Which Battalion? I downloaded several years ago 18 Battalion London Irish Rifles I think it cost me about £130.00 and the time period covered was from March 1915 to January 1919.

John

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Guest

I thought macca meant the Naval & Military Press DVD CD-ROM which has every infantry battalion diary for the Western Front.

Mike

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