As some of you know, Lee and I worked on some of the transcriptions for the 1940 Census project that Steve Morse advertised. I just received this email tonight..
Hope everyone is doing fine.
"OMIT" shared some information with us. See:
Basically, the National Archives has decided not to put out film for the 1940 census, but to scan the census sheets and put them online. They have asked for a preliminary plan to not only do that, but to name index the census as well.
Basically, it looks like the company (like Ancestry) that eventually gets the bid for this project (proposal slated to go out in 2008) will do both the scanning and indexing. They then would have exclusive rights to the index (and resultant images?) online for a certain time period, after which the index would revert back to NARA. However, the index and images would be available for free at all NARA branches. This is the current model for the agreement between Footnotes and NARA.
Also note that the release date is 72 years plus one day. That is, instead of April 1st, 2012 which is a Sunday, the census will be released on Monday, April 2nd. We are going to have to change some of the FAQs, countdown clock, and some powerpoint slides to catch up with that information.
Finally, your collective effort to come up with an address index for the 1940 census is still going to be VERY VERY valuable in 2012. You all should be proud of that. We all know the problems that a name index poses, and that an address based finder aid is also indispensable for genealogists facing negative results with name indexes. So we are in a very good position now... and can relax (and not be frantically trying to complete that project) before the 2012 release.