Issue 104, July 2004

Table of Contents

  1. Michigan's Online Local Government
  2. MDCH Website Honored by Family Tree Magazine
  3. Michigan County Histories and Atlases Online Collection Now Available
  4. Michigan eLibrary Expanding
  5. Senate Bill 15
  6. Library Logs and SB 15

(1) Michigan's Online Local Government

When it comes to e-government, most of Michigan's local governments don't have a clue.

According to the fourth annual measurement of e-government in Michigan by, a nonprofit Internet advocacy group, only 29 percent of the state's 1,859 counties, townships, cities and villages have a Web site.

That's bad enough. But the study also shows that the majority of Michigan's local government sites are confusing to navigate, and many others are filled with out-of-date information and broken links to other sites. As a result, says, local governments are missing out on the greater efficiency, citizen participation and public trust that an online presence can bring.

The full report is entitled Michigan's Online Local Government: An Evaluation of the State's Localities on the Internet --'s 4th EGovernment Review, June 2004, 22pp.

Source: Mike Wendland, Be It City, Town or Village, Michigan Not Plugged In, Detroit Free Press, July 9, 2004.

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(2) MDCH Website Honored by Family Tree Magazine
as One of the Best Of 2004

The Michigan Department of Community Health’s genealogy web site has been named one of the best annual family history sites by Family Tree Magazine. An honorary notification has been included in their August 2004 issue, which was mailed to subscribers and made available at newsstands on June 22nd, 2004.

According to Janet Olszewski, MDCH Director, “Michigan is pleased and honored to be recognized by Family Tree as one of the best. By putting some of our state archival data online, we have made searching for family histories more convenient. As the collection grows and additional years are added to the database, we hope more people will invest in learning about their families’ roots.”

MDCH provides Internet access to information from archived death records through the Genealogical Death Indexing System (GENDIS). This system allows the user to search for records using key pieces of information such as the decedent's name, father's last name, and year of death. The GENDIS site can be accessed through a quicklink on the right side the home page of the MDCH Web Site at Or you can go to it directly at,1607,7-132--14297--,00.html.

The MDCH site is listed in the Regional and State Sources category of honorees in Family Tree. The full list of honorees, including the MDCH site, can be found on the Family Tree Magazine Web site at

Family Tree is America's largest-circulation genealogy magazine, helping readers discover, preserve and celebrate their family history. The magazine has a broad consumer audience, and it helps make genealogy accessible.

The State of Michigan Vital Records Office has records of births, deaths, and marriages that occurred in Michigan and were filed with the state as early as 1867, and divorce records as early as 1897. Records can be ordered online using a debit or credit card, or an application can be printed to order by mail or to change a record. Information is also online about the office’s other services.

Source: Michigan Newswire, June 29, 2004.

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(3) Michigan County Histories and Atlases Online Collection
Now Available

Department of History, Arts and Libraries (HAL) Director Dr. William Anderson today announced the free, public availability of the Michigan County Histories and Atlases online collection, an assortment of books fundamental to local-history and genealogical research. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Library of Michigan, Michigan’s Council of Library Directors (COLD) and the Michigan Library Consortium, the collection is available at no charge through the Michigan eLibrary ( and at:

The Michigan County Histories and Atlases online collection is projected to provide access to 192 histories and 169 atlases dating from 1866 to 1926. There are 146 histories (in 172 volumes) currently online. The collection offers keyword and page-by-page access to digitized reproductions of Michigan county histories (and eventually atlases) as a resource for historical and genealogical research.

“A partnership like this proves that, even in lean economic times, leaders in education and cultural arts can come together to produce a resource that exists solely to meet our residents’ needs,” said Dr. Anderson. “The organizations that contributed to this effort – especially the Council of Library Directors – should be commended for their forward thinking.”

“This is a powerful tool for historians and genealogists at all experience levels,” said State Librarian Christie Pearson Brandau. “We cannot underestimate how the digitization of collections like this is going to revolutionize the way people conduct research.”

Initial collection content comprises titles selected from Frances Loomis's Michigan Biography Index (Detroit: Detroit Public Library, 1946), Bentley Historical Library holdings, and the Research Publications microfilm publication County and Regional Histories of the Old Northwest. Additional content selected from titles listed in Michigan Atlases and Plat Books by William Miles (Lansing: State Library Services, 1975) will be added as funds permit.

The Michigan County Histories collection is fully searchable and freely available to the public. The digitization project was conceived by the Michigan Council of Library Directors as a service to the citizens of the State of Michigan in 2003 and is being managed by the University Library at the University of Michigan. Work continues on the collection; more histories and the atlases will be added over the 2004-2005 period. The Library of Michigan, the Michigan Council of Library Directors and the Michigan Library Consortium each contributed significant time or funding resources to this project.

COLD is composed of the library directors of the following institutions, all of whom have contributed time and funds toward this project: University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Central Michigan University, Grand, Valley State, Eastern Michigan University, Western Michigan University, Michigan Tech, Ferris State, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Oakland University, Northern Michigan University, University of Michigan-Flint, Lake Superior State University and Saginaw Valley State University.

The Library of Michigan is part of the Department of History, Arts and Libraries (HAL). Dedicated to enriching the quality of life for Michigan residents by providing access to information, preserving and promoting Michigan’s heritage and fostering cultural creativity, HAL also includes the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Michigan Film Office and the Michigan Historical Center. For more information, visit

The Michigan Library Consortium is a non-profit membership organization comprised of all types of libraries in Michigan. A convenient, single point of contact for training, support and group purchasing of library products and services, MLC saves member libraries time and money. For more information, visit

Source: Michigan Newswire, June 29, 2004.

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(4) Library of Michigan Partners with Innovative Interfaces and
and Michigan Library Consortium to Expand Michigan eLibrary

The Library of Michigan today announced the State Administrative Board had recently approved two contracts – one with Innovative Interfaces, Inc. and the other with the Michigan Library Consortium (MLC) – for development and operation of the Michigan eLibrary (MeL) search gateway for all Michigan residents and MeLCat, the statewide resource-sharing program for all Michigan libraries.

Participation in MeLCat will be voluntary, and Innovative and MLC will help Michigan’s libraries implement this new model for statewide resource sharing. The MeL gateway and MeLCat are key components of the multi-year expansion plan for the Michigan eLibrary (

Currently, the Michigan eLibrary includes a collection of Internet sites selected by librarians; Library of Michigan-funded databases of magazines, newspapers and electronic books; and a beginning collection of digitized local materials. Starting this month, the project with Innovative Interfaces will lay the groundwork for adding the following components to the Michigan eLibrary:

State Librarian Christie Pearson Brandau said Innovative’s software, guidance and expertise and MLC’s management of the implementation are essential to the successful launch and growth of the MeL gateway and MeLCat. “Innovative and MLC are the perfect partners to take the Michigan eLibrary to the next level in customer service,” she said.

“If Michigan residents want to be effectively prepared to live and work in the 21st-century economy, equal access to the best information – wherever it resides – is essential,” said Brandau. “By teaming with MLC and Innovative, we will eventually be able to open the virtual door to many unique, local library resources. This access, while seamless to the user, brings with it a brand new world of possibility.”

“We’re excited to be the automation partner in this collaboration which will provide unprecedented library access to every citizen statewide,” said Jerry Kline, chairman and CEO of Innovative Interfaces.

The first phase of the statewide, online library catalog is set to go live by January 2005 with the total holdings of approximately 50 libraries included. More libraries’ holdings will be added quarterly over the next several years.

Additionally in January 2005, the “face” of MeL will change when the new statewide gateway goes live. Patrons will be able to conduct searches across all MeL components, rather than performing separate searches in the MeL databases, the MeL Internet collection, the digitized collections and the statewide online catalog.

“This major project to expand statewide library cooperation and to provide equitable access to information resources across Michigan has taken several years — and the efforts of many dedicated people — to design,” said Randy Dykhuis, executive director of the Michigan Library Consortium. “It is a significant achievement of Michigan’s librarians, with the leadership of Christie Brandau, that our dreams are finally becoming a reality. MLC is proud to be a partner in this exciting project.”

For more information about the MeLCat project time line, visit

Source: Michigan Newswire, June 15, 2004.

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(5) Senate Bill 15

Many MSU librarians have asked me in the past why they should bother to join the Michigan Library Association. As outgoing chair of the MLA membership committee, let me point to a textbook case that illustrates the answer: you should join MLA because MLA lobbies on your behalf against legislation like the following bill, now working its way through the Michigan Senate. That's what your dues pay for. --Steve Sowards, Head, Main Library Reference, MSU Libraries
A bill to amend 1982 PA 455, entitled "The library privacy act," (MCL 397.601 to 397.606) by adding section 5a


1   Sec. 5a.  (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), a                        
2   library shall require the user of any computer, computer program,            
3   computer network, or computer system that the library makes                  
4   available to the public for internet access, sending or receiving            
5   electronic mail, or any other use to do both of the following                
6   before he or she is allowed to use the computer, computer                    
7   program, computer network, or computer system:       
8       (a) Provide his or her name and address to a designated                      
9   library employee.  The library shall maintain a log or register              
10  that contains the name of each user, the computer or computer                
11  system used, and the date and time of use.                                   
1       (b) Provide to the designated library employee for inspection                
2   the user's official Michigan operator's or chauffeur's license,              
3   official Michigan personal identification card, or other bona                
4   fide identification that confirms the identity of the user.      
5       (2) Subsection (1) does not apply if the user logs onto or                   
6   accesses the computer, computer program, computer network, or                
7   computer system utilizing a password or user name previously                 
8   granted, registered, or authorized by the library, from which the            
9   library may determine the identity of the user from its records.

Source: Senate Bill 15.

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(6) Library Logs and SB 15

Several libraries (public and community college) across the state have received a survey from Sen. Ron Jelinek asking for information about how the proposed Senate Bill 15 would affect their libraries. Karoub Associates, MLA's lobbying firm, plans to personally meet with Sen. Jelinek to discuss the reasons for the survey.

There is no specific date for the survey to be returned and after Karoub speaks with Sen. Jelinek, it may not be necessary to complete it. However, if you wish to do so at this time, please consider using the following talking points in your responses to question 7. Thanks to ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom and Judith Krug for assistance in developing these talking points.

Talking Points
Privacy of Library Records in All Formats
July 2004