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Although of fairly recent origin (mid-20th century), the word online has become almost a household word, denoting the transmission of electronic information over telecommunications lines, referring most commonly to the Internet. Online access allows for the almost instantaneous sharing of information around the world.

Today, online access to genealogical information has changed the way people do research, enabling researchers to access information from home or at their nearest library. Online access is can save both time and money spent in travel, and is imminently convenient. Many private and commercial genealogy information providers have an online presence. Online access has paved the way for organizations and archives such as the LDS Family History Library to scan and digitize their records, making them more accessible to researchers regardless of where they live.

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