You’ve probably read yesterday’s posting in Ol’ Myrt’s blog about Mark Tucker’s proposal to automate citations for online genealogy sources.
Amazingly, Dick Eastman has been oddly silent on the subject, particularly since he is our resident techie genealogist. Randy Seaver wrote that he watched Mark’s video proposal, but that he felt like he was missing something important. YES, Randy, this is important:
Mark’s proposal could literally revolutionize the online genealogy world, if a grass roots effort overwhelmingly pressures websites to come into compliance with uniform citation models, such as provided in Evidence Explained.
Elizabeth Shown Mills, author of Evidence Explained, wrote “What Mark is proposing is that online sources have a downloadable citation that follows the humanities style for genealogy software programs to utilize. I don't see a conflict with the quick sheets. For those that use these programs, this would be faster. I believe when the citations get too complicated, the programs will not be able to handle them either. The ability to manipulate the downloaded citation would be a "must." See full context here.
Ol’ Myrt’s comment yesterday was that as researchers, we wouldn’t really learn how to construct source citations if it is all done automatically, but we'd free up more time for offline, in-person research. A friend from Virginia offered a differing opinion via Skype yesterday. He felt as we download citations automatically when we download the scanned images mentioning our ancestor, we will begin to learn about the format of a proper citation merely by viewing them before we hit the “save” button in our genealogy management programs.
To follow the discussions on this important, ground-breaking topic, visit the archives of these genealogy mailing lists. When you get to the archives, scroll down and select April 2009 to find the posts. This topic is sure to spill over into May 2009 and beyond, so check back to view postings in the archives if you don’t already subscribe to these free mailing lists:
- Transitional-Genealogists-Forum (This is where I found Elizabeth Shown Mills' response listed above.)
- APG Association of Professional Genealogists (Only Mark's announcement is there at this point, but knowing the APG listers, they are sure to speak up on the topic.)
Once genealogists understand the possibilities, we can unite in our efforts to encourage genealogy software publishers and genealogy website programmers to use this new technology.
Newbies are the only ones who can get away with saying “I found it on the web”. On day two as family historians, we must all learn the importance of specifically stating where we obtained our information. For my newbie DearREADERS, here are some important resources for you to get up to speed on the topic of citation:
- EVIDENCE: Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian
- EVIDENCE EXPLAINED: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace
- QuickSheet: Citing Online Historical Resources Evidence! Style. First Revised Edition
- QuickSheet: Citing Ancestry.com Databases & Images
Happy family tree climbing!
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© 2009 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.
This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to http://blog.dearmyrtle.com. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.