Take one! Take two! Take three!
Yup, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
Uh huh, “The third time’s a charm!” But…..I am hoping it doesn’t take me three times to get my sources correct.
In my last post I shared my transition over to Leister Pro’s Reunion software for the Mac. I’ve been spending a lot of time on the Reunion Talk discussion board, learning from other users how they utilize the software. I’ve also been conversing on the DB about sources. Lots of dialog about sources! There are the supporters of Evidence Explained, and the naysayers as well. Unfortunately, it seems like those outside the EE camp don’t understand the concepts behind Elizabeth Shown Mills’ citation formats, nor that she states citation is an art, not a science. In other words, there is not a one-size-fits-all way to cite our sources.
Previously I relied heavily on my RootsMagic’s source templates. This was quick and easy, and generally captured what I wanted to note for my citation. However, when it came time to complete a family sketch with citations, I had to spend an inordinate amount of time to reformat the source citations, as templates will never be able to place the information in the appropriate format. It made sense to me to re-write my sources when switching to Reunion, one at a time.
On the surface, may not seem like a huge deal. I had close to 1,000 source citations in my RootsMagic database. However, because each citation was simply the root source, it could have been utilized dozens of times, appended and modified for each individual for which it was used. Some using Reunion are doing the same thing – using one source citation (1870 U.S. Census, for example) and then placing the detail for that citation in the individual’s event field (Monticello, Wright County, Minnesota, family no. 99, household 103, etc.). I’m opting, however, to write out the entire citation for each use, for each individual, saved in a single source with the accompanying digital image attached.
They say practice makes perfect, and operating on that premise, I started working on groups of citations, starting with the re-write of all sources for obituaries and newspapers, and then moving on to vital record sources.
By writing similar citations at one time, it’s allowing me to think about one type of citation before jumping to another. I’m much closer to EE standards than I would have been otherwise, as the saturation with a group of sources and the various nuances of each has caused me to stop and consider the best way to format each citation. While I often think I may have hit the mark, its not uncommon for me to read another section of EE only to find that perhaps a different format may be more appropriate, and hence require yet another revision. But hopefully as I dutifully continue on these occasions will become less and less. At the end of this exercise I will have better understanding of source citation, and will feel confident that when I share my research, others will know I’ve truly done my homework and can have confidence in my findings.