I think that the question that Helen asks has been discussed umpteen
times amongst many of us who have been doing research for some time.
I know that there has been no real resolution. Perhaps it is a
situation whose time has come to be resolved as so many researchers
are coming of an age to make plans for the "adoption" for their
life's work in family research.
In my own situation, I donated my genealogy books to several JGS
libraries including those in America and overseas as well as
donating databases to several different organizations such as the
Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Israel
and to a number of Holocaust museums. Where possible, I donated
information to the JewishGen kehilalinks and other things on
JewishGen. In case you weren't aware of it, the Mormon Family
History Library accepts family histories which you can see by going
to their catalogue.
In addition, those things such as databases that I had not been
able to complete up to now I arranged with other interested
researchers to complete for me in the future. I also solicited
family members to see if others could continue my research and
therefore be the recipients of what I had done.
At the moment, I am going through my photographic collection or
other graphic representations and disbursing those to appropriate
parties either in my family, other researchers or to kehilalinks
where appropriate. You may see postings I will be making for these
for specific families in the near future on JewishGen.
This cannot be done all at once, but has to be carefully planned
over time. In addition, there is no one place to donate materials,
especially since many institutions neither have the monetary resources
or staff (or even interest) in what you may have to give them. It is
important to first determine possibly what you have (and the condition
it is in), what community resources there are which relate to family
history research and then go >from there and investigate with these
resources what they are able to accept.
The best thing to do is collaborate with others, speak to other
researchers and gain knowledge about this topic . . . perhaps by
discussing it on the JewishGen digests or having your JGS discuss this
at a meeting or it can be a topic at an IAJGS Conference. All are
valuable resources to pinpoint.