Peter McCracken, the reference librarian who founded Serials Solutions, is moving on to a new entrepreneurial venture. Today he announced the launch of ShipIndex.org, an online research database focused on maritime and vessel history. McCracken is also a frequent contributor to Sea History magazine.
What began as a favorite pastime has grown into the largest free online index of vessel information. 'While doing research in a maritime museum library, I frequently found myself going from book to book checking indexes for mentions of ships. I realized there was a need for a central index, which I created and am now enhancing further,' said McCracken.
From this research grew ShipIndex.org, a database now offering more than 100,000 vessel citations. Aimed at professional and occasional genealogists, maritime historians, model makers, researchers, and reference librarians, the site tells users which books, journals, web sites, and other resources mention specific named vessels. The site is particularly useful for locating information on less-famous vessels that are only occasionally mentioned in books or journals, but are of particular value to genealogists and researchers. Content on ShipIndex.org is compiled from books on whaling, warfare, fishing, immigration, trade, disasters, slavery, and much more.
For example, a researcher may be working on a paper about ships sailing the barrier reef in 1809, or looking for information on a vessel named 'Susan.' Prior to ShipIndex.org, tracing each vessel reference would be a timely task often fraught with many wasted hours chasing each and every lead. ShipIndex.org delivers that researcher a list of results covering the nearly three dozen entries on vessels with the name 'Susan,' as well as hundreds more where 'Susan' is present in some part of the vessel's name. From this information the researcher can quickly assess whether the 'Susan' he is looking for was a slave trading vessel or cannery tender and can trace its route across time and geography.
Currently all research data and citations on the site are free. ShipIndex.org plans to supplement the database with an additional 400,000 citations toward the end of 2009 that will be available for a fee to individual and institutional subscribers.
ShipIndex.org, LLC is the premier online resource for vessel research in all media. Designed by a librarian and maritime historian to dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to research nautical vessels, ShipIndex.org's database contains more than 100,000 references from books, journals, websites and other sources. For more information, visit http://ShipIndex.org.
For more information about ShipIndex.org, contact Peter McCracken, peter(at)shipindex(dot)org, (206) 304-0825 or Shannon Yost at CapacityGroup, Inc. syost(at)capacitygroup(dot)com, (206) 219-5378.
Web Site: www.shipindex.org