WeRelate talk:Source Committee

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::Thanks Dallan for renaming the page and thank you for creating source pages for the family search online collections. That should simplify the source selection process for users.--[[User:Beth|Beth]] 16:36, 12 April 2011 (EDT) ::Thanks Dallan for renaming the page and thank you for creating source pages for the family search online collections. That should simplify the source selection process for users.--[[User:Beth|Beth]] 16:36, 12 April 2011 (EDT)
-== Source merge [28 December 2011] ==+== Source merge [29 December 2011] ==
Is this the right place to discuss source merging? [[Source:Gendrot, Almira Torrey Blake Fenno. Ancestry and Allied Families of Nathan Blake 3rd and Susan (Torrey) Blake]] and [[Source:Gendrot, Almira Torrey Blake Fenno. Ancestry and Allied Families of Nathan Blake 3rd and Susan (Torrey) Blake, Early Residents of East Corinth,]] appear to be the same source, with one being a reprint or the like. Thanks. [[User:Colby Farrington|Colby Farrington]] 09:54, 23 December 2011 (EST) Is this the right place to discuss source merging? [[Source:Gendrot, Almira Torrey Blake Fenno. Ancestry and Allied Families of Nathan Blake 3rd and Susan (Torrey) Blake]] and [[Source:Gendrot, Almira Torrey Blake Fenno. Ancestry and Allied Families of Nathan Blake 3rd and Susan (Torrey) Blake, Early Residents of East Corinth,]] appear to be the same source, with one being a reprint or the like. Thanks. [[User:Colby Farrington|Colby Farrington]] 09:54, 23 December 2011 (EST)
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::::::*[http://books.google.com/books?id=_6pLeY4T3FsC&pg=PP9&dq=%22now+corrected+and+enlarged%22 reprint] "now corrected and enlarged" ::::::*[http://books.google.com/books?id=_6pLeY4T3FsC&pg=PP9&dq=%22now+corrected+and+enlarged%22 reprint] "now corrected and enlarged"
::::::--[[User:Jrich|Jrich]] 00:30, 29 December 2011 (EST) ::::::--[[User:Jrich|Jrich]] 00:30, 29 December 2011 (EST)
 +
 +---------
 +I call upon the contributors who actively participated in the original discussion of this matter to pick this up. My biggest concern here is that we do not revisit decisions simply because someone disagrees, however passionately, but because there has been a reasonable lapse of time (hence, real experience with the practice), or genuinely new information - that justifies re-examining the original decision. So far, I'm not seeing that - but I was an observer only of the original discussion, and am going on the basis of imperfect memory. While I support the approach, I don't think I'm a particularly good advocate - and therefore withdraw from this discussion. --[[User:Jrm03063|jrm03063]] 10:43, 29 December 2011 (EST)

Revision as of 15:43, 29 December 2011

Topics

Purpose of this Page

This project page has been created for a "Source Committee" to discuss, among other things, ways to standardize the source list. This project has grown out of a disussion that began at WeRelate_talk:Sources with additional comments at WeRelate_talk:Source_page_titles. Everyone is welcome to participate. Your input is needed and greatly appreciated.

Purpose of Sources [22 September 2008]

The discussion (below) that's going back and forth is making me realize that people use sources for different purposes. And these purposes should probably inform how we go about creating a source "index" or "library" here on the wiki:

  1. On a wiki, a source is used to give credibility to the information posted. One could argue that sources on genealogy web pages (such as WorldConnect) are also used for this purpose-- to distinguish a well-researched GEDCOM from one that was clearly and simply copied. I certainly look for that when I'm browsing WorldConnect.
  2. In genealogy research, generally, a source's primary purpose is to help either the researcher or those who come after her/him to be able to find again the source for that particular piece of information. Did I get it from looking at an article published in NEHGS Register? Did I view the actual original record?

A source is -- in and of itself -- neither good nor bad. It's WHERE we found a piece of information. In this regard, I think it's extremely important to convey the distinction. For example:

  • An IGI record on www.familysearch.org contributed by a member of the LDS
  • An IGI record on www.familysearch.org that is part of a batch of extractions from a volunteer's transcription of a microfilm of church baptism or marriage records.
  • My review of those same microfilm records.
  • A photocopy of the actual church record sent to me by a local researcher in MyAncestralHomeTown, Baden-Wurttemberg.
  • A photocopy of the actual church record that I saw with my own eyes at the Pfarramt in MyAncestralHomeTown.
  • The handwritten original marriage certificate framed in my home.

One could argue that the "source" for most if not all of these is the same, but it's not. And both the impact on its quality (Purpose #1 above) and where a researcher can go to find it (Purpose #2 above) is different for each.

Jillaine 10:20, 15 July 2007 (MDT)

Sorry to jump in the middle of an old conversation, but the above distinction is not as important as represented (in my opinion). Even assuming you hold the original item in your hand, you are of necessity entering a transcription into WeRelate. So the general user population must, and generally does, take your transcription as a good-faith effort to faithfully transmit the information contained. But we have no idea of your training in the pertinent language or customs that enable an accurate transcription. (For simplicity, I am ignoring the capability of inputting scanned images into WeRelate.)
Of the above entries, the first entry seems to me to be significantly different than the others in terms of reliability. We have no idea of its basis. It is simply an assertion. For all the others, as I understand your description of them, they show that a primary source exists, identifies it to some degree, and make possible its verification. Different users may wish to verify everything, or perhaps only facts that are contested. One of the advantages of a collaborative environment like WeRelate is that it becomes much more likely that somebody will verify any given fact, and over time the transcriptions of such sources will become generally reliable.
For every transcription error I have seen (including Quaker numerical dates), I have seen several cases of applying a valid transcription of a source to the wrong person. The cure for this type of error is to get knowledge of the sources out there and discussed by the collective user community. If a transcription is wrong, it will surely be brought up in the discussion by someone who took the time to verify it. Such an analyzed and confirmed transcription may actually be more valuable to me than having the original source in hand.
--Jrich 19:19, 17 September 2008 (EDT)
I agree -- the above distinctions could be entered in the "comments" field.--Dallan 17:15, 22 September 2008 (EDT)
I think everyone would agree that good source citation will distinguish between those six ways of finding a Pfarramt marriage record. The question before us is, where and how should we agree to show those distinctions? Should each of them have its own separately named Source Page?
My tentative first take on this question is, no. If I found the Pfarramt marriage record in a user-contributed IGI entry, then cite the source page titled "International Genealogical Index." That page would cover the whole IGI, because we'll go nuts if we try to have a separate source page for every IGI entry (for one thing, there are beaucoup duplicates in IGI). On the person page or wherever I'm citing that, I explain what kind of IGI entry it was and give its URL. Same thing if it's an extraction record. (In a perfect world, it would be nice to make separate Source Pages for different kinds of IGI entries, but then a lot of folks would have trouble figuring out what kind if was they had, or might have made no note of it in the first place.)
Again, my first take on the last four items is that they would all refer back to one source page, which since it has a title but no author, would be called "Germany, Baden-Wurttemberg, Pfarramt, Marriage Records." Again, the relevant distinctions between seeing the microfilm, seeing a photocopy sent by a third party, seeing the record itself, and possessing the original certificate, can be made where you're citing it. The Source Page would contain information about those marriage records in general, such as all the various ways and places to find them (microfilm, original repository, transcriptions), but again, I don't think we want to have individual Source Pages for every Pfarramt marriage.
I'm not suggesting we have a different source for every marriage, but I would distinguish between marriages found in the records of Schwenningen Evangelische Church as filmed on FHL# 1658748 and the extraction of same found on an IGI Batch file M123456. Having typed that, I realize it's completely reasonable for someone to use only "Schwenningen Evangelische Church Records" as their source, and then put in the page field either the IGI batch # or the FHL film # etc. Jillaine 12:55, 15 July 2007 (MDT)

--Hh219 10:45, 15 July 2007 (MDT)

Source page titles [24 September 2008]

Type Source page title
Book First author (surname, given names). Book title (no subtitle)
Article First author (surname, given names). Article title (no subtitle)
Letter/Journal Author (surname, given names). Title (e.g., "Letter to John Smith" or "Journal 1814-1824")
Government/Church records Locality covered (in reverse order; e.g., United States, South Carolina). Title of record set
Newspaper Place published (in reverse order). Name of newspaper
Message Board/Website Homepage URL (e.g., boards.ancestry.com/surnames.smith)
Family Tree Author (surname, given names). Title of the tree

NOTES

  • Censuses would fall into Government/Church records. So the 1880 US Census source page could be titled "United States. 1880 Census" or "United States. Census, 1880".
I think census pages should have their own (sub)rule as to what level they should (generally) be created (year? state? county?)--Amelia 23:40, 13 March 2008 (EDT)
How about: we create source pages for each census year, but only for the top-level jurisdiction (e.g., country for country-wide census, or state for state-wide census). We don't encourage but don't prohibit people from creating sources for lower-level jurisdictions. Thoughts?--Dallan 16:26, 14 March 2008 (EDT)
  • We need the Newspaper source so that obituaries can cite the newspaper as their source page. That way we have one source page for the newspaper, and the obituary-specific information can go into the citation.
  • Regarding message boards/websites, I know that the recommendation was to use the author and title of the page when possible. However, many websites are pretty bad about coming up with descriptive page titles, and if we stick to using the website/board homepage for the source page title, the source page title shouldn't be too long.
I understand that this solves the duplicate problem and gets around bad page titles, but it's going to be so ugly, and really hard to read. The URL is going to be no more descriptive in many cases than the page title, and there are going to be many that will look the same in a source box because they will start with the same 30 characters (freepages.genealogy.rootsweb... etc). The message board pages are all set up already, and I'd rather have what we have already than URL's. On a related note, there should be a note in the instructions/help on how to determine if a website is a source (i.e. a message board or unique cemetery transcription) or a repository (i.e. a transcription of a book or vital record set). --Amelia 23:40, 13 March 2008 (EDT)
I think you've convinced me - many of the urls would start with the same characters. And I agree that the screen for adding a source page for a website should include instructions on whether the website is a really a source or a repository. So in this case, the title of the source page would be author and homepage title if an author for the website can be found, or homepage title only if an author cannot be found?--Dallan 16:26, 14 March 2008 (EDT)
I think that works.--Amelia 22:01, 14 March 2008 (EDT)
  • Regarding family trees, I agree we should create sources for the family tree "mega-sites." These sources would fall under the "message board/website" type. But if someone wants to create a source page for the specific tree that they used, I don't think we should prohibit this, since creating a source page is the best way I can think of to get the family tree citation information (author and title) into an automatically-generated citation. I agree that family tree sources don't meet any of our other goals. But if they received a letter from their Aunt Margaret we'd allow them to create a source for the letter, so why not allow them to create a source for Aunt Margaret's tree. We'll be able to exclude family trees from searches (-category:tree) when I get the new search working.
I agree trees are a necessary evil, but why, really, are we encouraging people (by having a type) to create a source page for a letter from Aunt Margaret that most likely has information on no more than a very small number of people? It seems like that would be a great use of MySource. Same goes for a number of other pretty unique types that aren't listed -- interviews, birth certificates, pension files. If we're going to have a table listing the types, perhaps a note that such personal records with information on less than 5-10 people should not be created as source pages.--Amelia 23:40, 13 March 2008 (EDT)
There is another goal I'd like to have for the source wiki that I realize I neglected to write down. It's that source pages contain citation information for items uploaded into the digital library, or scanned images uploaded into the wiki. So if I upload scanned images of a letter or journal, I'd like to be able to tie those images to a Source page with the citation information. How about the following: if someone is going to the trouble of uploading scanned images of a letter or journal, we allow them to create a Source page for it. But if they're just referencing a letter/journal in their possession, we ask them to create a MySource or Title-only source for it? (This leads to a separate question of what MySource's are really for -- see below.)--Dallan 16:26, 14 March 2008 (EDT)
  • Is it ok to use just the first author for the page title? Doing so avoids the question of whether the second author should be listed last-name first or first-name first. I could go either way.
I think all of the authors should be included. --Beth 20:26, 13 March 2008 (EDT)
Agreed. We've got rules for everything else, just pick one way to do it.--Amelia 23:40, 13 March 2008 (EDT)
Is it possible to set up the template with ability to add more that one author? That would solve that problem --Msscarlet1957 01:12, 14 March 2008 (EDT)
  • Should we omit leading articles (a, an, the) in the book title when generating the source page title? That is, should John Smith's "A History of New York" be "Source:Smith, John. A History of New York" or "Source:Smith, John. History of New York"?
I do not support omitting leading articles in the title. Rather I see this as a search and results list function. The search function and list should ignore leading articles. --Beth 20:26, 13 March 2008 (EDT)
  • Some books don't have authors. In that case the page title is simply the book title.
  • I assume that family bibles would fall into the letter/journal category, and that the author would be the first owner/writer in the bible. It's not a perfect convention though.
  • Should we ask people to enter the book/article/letter/record-set title in sentence-case (capitalizing only the first word and proper nouns), or in title-case (capitalizing all words except short prepositions)? If the latter, should the system automatically force the title to title-case when it creates the source page (which will result in occasional mis-capitalization), or assume that the user entered it in the correct case (which will also result in occasional mis-capitalization)?
I would automatically force the title to title-case for consistency. --Beth 20:26, 13 March 2008 (EDT)
I agree with Beth on forcing the title. --Msscarlet1957 01:14, 14 March 2008 (EDT)
  • Source page titles can be a maximum of 160 characters, because titles that are longer than that are difficult for the software to handle. Source page titles that are longer than that will be truncated at the nearest blank space to make them 160 characters or less.

Hi Dallan,

Great work; much to digest. I have a few comments on source type. You need to add a source type of other or miscellaneous. Two that are not covered in your source types are tombstone transcriptions in a family cemetery and engravings on rings, bracelets, silver, etc. There would be many more; some just do not fit in any general type. --Beth 20:17, 13 March 2008 (EDT)

I can see adding a "Miscellaneous" source type for sources without authors and without a place focus. But for the above two examples, I would hope that in the spirit of creating re-usable sources, the person would create a source for the entire family cemetery (and we could include cemetery sources in the government/church records type, since they're cited similarly), with the specific tombstone transcription going into the source citation on the person/family page. Also, Amelia raises an interesting question about whether Source pages should be created for very specific sources like engravings, or whether those should be MySources. I'd like to discuss that question under the MySource heading below.--Dallan 16:26, 14 March 2008 (EDT)

I'm sorry because I know this is an old issue that has been decided, but I think adding the author as part of the title stinks, if only because the issue of what constitutes a different source has not been resolved, so existing source records are confusing and misleading.

For example, I refer to the excellent work Libby Family in America by the excellent genealogist Charles Thorton Libby and I have to scroll through Ancestry.com:Libby Family in America and another for the FHL. Why should Ancestry.com appear to be the author of this work when all they do is break it up into convenient pieces for storing in a database, destroying all the context, and taking your money for doing it? Let's give credit to the author that wrote it and realize that it is available in libraries all over instead of advertising for Ancestry.com.

Or, I refer to Genealogical Dictionary of Maine/New Hampshire, and there are three different FHL entries and none for the real work those items merely reproduce.

If a source is intended to be a reproduction of another work, without corrections or additions, then it should all be on the same page, and the usage notes should describe the different ways of accessing it, beit ancestry.com, books.google.com, FHL, your local library, or whatever. The source page should show the real author. If you insist on putting the author in the title, at least make it the real author!

--Jrich 12:39, 23 September 2008 (EDT)


I think we're in agreement -- for the Libby work, the title of the Source page should be Source:Libby, Charles Thorton. Libby Family in America. Both the Ancestry and FHL URLs should appear on this Source page, and the other Source pages should be deleted or redirected to this source page. Similarly, there should be just one Source page for the Genealogical Dictionary of Maine/New Hampshire, and the three FHL entries should all be listed as URLs on that Source page, and the other Source pages should either be deleted or should redirect to that Source page.

The only reason it's not this way currently is because most of the Source pages were created by a program that isn't smart enough to determine when two pages are for the same source, and someone hasn't merged these Source pages together yet, although I see that people have started working to merge other Source pages. If you would be willing to merge duplicate Source pages when you see them, that would be great!

(The reason to include the (real) author in the Source page title is to distinguish the case when two different books written by different authors happen to have the same title.)--Dallan 23:53, 23 September 2008 (EDT)


I deleted my statement on old titles still showing up in lists that was here because it seems to have been caused by a caching issue of some sort. Now working fine. --11:13, 24 September 2008 (EDT)

I must also wonder if some future automated match against FHL or ancestry.com catalogs will overwrite my changes at some point in the future, or since I made changes to the originals, just recreate the pages dedicated to those repository's version of the sources? I assume not, but there are history comments about automated updates, so I wonder.

Switching from titles that are preceded by repositories instead of author's name, now onto putting the author's name into the title.

I understand the idea why author names are added to titles, I just think it was not a good idea.

First, if I am searching for a title and there are two identical titles, I would like the similar titles to be listed consecutively showing the author. This suggests intuitively that search results should be sorted or scored such that identical titles might come up consecutively and authors are displayed as additional details. (Example: History of Lehigh County... by Hauser and History of Lehigh County... by Roberts. These are not exactly identical titles, but who can remember the blah-blah long subtitles?) Adding the author at the front rules out the most intuitive approach, namely sorting alphabetically by title.

As an analogy from a different namespace, when I search for a person, the title of the page is not mangled by the spouse who helps distinguish between the different people named John Doe. Instead the spouse and parents and birth and death are listed below the page title. Why can't sources be handled similarly?

Second, there is the issue of which author goes first, and hence goes in the title. A possible example may be the Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire. On worldcat there are listings that have Charles Libby listed first, others that have Sybil Noyes listed first. I believe historically, it was a solo work, so it may make sense to list Charles Libby first, since the work was originally his. Most reprints, which are common in libraries, list Sybil Noyes first. In any event, it is likely that people searching for this work may remember one author and not the other. (Poor Walter Goodwin Davis is never listed first.)

--Jrich 10:41, 24 September 2008 (EDT)


I'm trying in the automated updates not to "undo" what humans have done. There have been a couple of bugs in the past where a few changes were undone, but I believe it was limited to only a handful of pages. The FHLC sources have all been updated now; the only thing left is to rename them to add the place or author (if one exists) to the title and to remove the parenthesized number (if it exists) from the title. So if you delete or redirect an FHLC source, it won't be re-created by an automated update. The Ancestry.com sources haven't been updated yet. When I update the Ancestry source pages later this year, if the updater finds an existing source page with the Ancestry URL, it won't create a new source page for it. So as long as you keep the Ancestry.com URL in the Source page, it shouldn't be re-created.

Regarding the Person title analogy, every page has to have a unique title. In order to make Person page titles unique we have to add a unique index number. Adding an index number to person page titles has introduced it's own complications. I'm hoping that adding author to make Source page titles unique will be more intuitive than adding an index number.

Regarding the Hauser/Roberts example, if we agree that the author needs to go somewhere in the Source page title to make the title unique, then it's a question of whether the author goes at the beginning or the end. It seems to me that for many books it's easier to get the author's surname right than to get the first part of the title right -- is it "History of Lehigh County" or "A History of Lehigh County" or "A Brief History of Lehigh County"? The long-term goal is that when you want to reference a source on a person/family page, you start by typing something like "Hauser", and you should see the source you want in a relatively-short drop-down list of all books written by people surnamed "Hauser". If instead we put the author last, and you started to type "History", you would have a much longer drop-down list to review. You'd have to type more before the drop-down list became short enough for you to find the book you were looking for.

I'm willing to consider putting the author after the title, but putting it first seems to result in more-targeted drop-down lists.

For books like the Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, where it's confusing which author is listed first, it's ok to have a Source page titled Source:Libby, Charles. Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, and another Source page titled Source:Noyes, Sybil. Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire that redirects to the first source page (similar to how Place:Fort Wayne, Indiana redirects to Place:Fort Wayne, Allen, Indiana, United States). Wikipedia uses redirects a lot -- it seems like a good solution.

Another option for finding sources is to use the search screen. If you want to see all books titled "History of Lehigh County" for example, you could search for them by clicking on Search in the main menu, then WeRelate, then changing the Namespace to "Source", then entering "History of Lehigh County" (in quotes) into the title field. This gives the five sources with that phrase in the title. (I just fixed a bug where phrase searching wasn't working for the source title field.)--Dallan 17:01, 24 September 2008 (EDT)

Actually creating sources [7 June 2008]

I'm on break from school, so I decided to start adding some more people and sources, especially federal census records. So far, I've not had a great deal of success; the page name keeps coming out wrong. I click on "Add > Source" and selected "Government/Church Records." The first time, I entered Lawrence, Ohio, United States in the "place covered by the record group" field and "United States, Lawrence, Ohio. 1860 U.S. Census Population Schedule" in the "Title" field (per the WeRelate:Source page titles page.) The source page came out named "Source:United States, Ohio, Lawrence. United States, Ohio, Lawrence. 1860 U.S. Census Population Schedule".

So I tried again and made a new source (thinking I could then redirect the first page to the correct page). Second time around, I can't remember if I entered "United States, Lawrence, Ohio" or "Lawrence, Ohio, United States" in the "place covered by the record group" field. I entered "1860 U.S. Census Population Schedule" in the "Title" field. The page came out named "Source:Lawrence, Ohio, United States. 1860 U.S. Census Population Schedule".

I cancelled the second one, so I don't think the page was actually created. But the page name was definitely not correct.

I went back through the Help:Source pages and didn't see anything that shows exactly what is supposed to be entered where, and the WeRelate:Source page titles page just gives what the name should be at the end of the process.

If someone can tell me exactly what is supposed to go where in creating a census source page, I'll be happy to write up a "how to." (Maybe I'm just making myself feel better, but I can't believe that I'm the only one who will have trouble with this <g>) --Ajcrow 07:25, 7 June 2008 (EDT)

Hi AJ. Select Add>Source and select Government/Church Records. Enter county name, state, United States in the place covered by the record group. From your example you should enter Lawrence, Ohio, United States.

In the title field enter XXXX U.S. Census Population Schedule. End result should be a title of United States, Ohio, Lawrence. 1860 U.S. Census Population Schedule.

I tested this on an 1870 census and it seemed to work although I did actually create the census page. --Beth 08:38, 7 June 2008 (EDT)


Thanks, Beth! I'm going to add that to the Naming Sources page. --Ajcrow 09:58, 7 June 2008 (EDT)


Thanks for adding that! I'll add a link from the Add Source page to WeRelate:Source page titles tonight.--Dallan 10:33, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

Source page titles for websites [5 July 2008]

Question about an example at WeRelate:Source page titles: Do we want to recommend that the Source page title include the website author if it can be found; e.g., Source:Smith, Jane. Smith Family Genealogy (smithgenealogy.com)?--Dallan 10:33, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

Yes, I would think we should give the author credit.--Beth 17:19, 10 June 2008 (EDT)
I agree that an author (if indicated) should get credit, but perhaps not in the title. The thing about titles, for me, is what word first comes to mind when I'm trying to browse or bring the page up in the drop-down box? That first word is especially all important when trying to source a page using the drop-down box. In the example you gave, Smith just happens to be the author's name of the Smith Genealogy site, but what if it was Jones who was the author of the Smith site? Or Chowkowski? :) I think of titles in regards of what's easiest for us to use on WeRelate, not necessarily what's considered the "standard" in the genealogy world. The contents of the page itself can include the author's name and any other info we deem necessary. --Ronni 17:55, 10 June 2008 (EDT)
I agree with Ronni. There is too much variation on who the author of a given site is. We could easily end up with multiple pages for the same source. I think we would be better off leaving the author to one of the variables on the source's page. --Ajcrow 18:01, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

I agree that the author's name should not be in the title. I did not really catch that; but the author still should have credit in the citation if the author is known.--Beth 20:09, 10 June 2008 (EDT)

I'm renaming a Source page that was created for an online database and I want to be sure what we decided in this case. The online database is here. Note that the title of the database is "Civil War Research Database" and the author (or publisher?) is listed at the bottom of the page as "Historical Data Systems". I'm trying to decide if I should include "Historical Data Systems" in the title of the Source page. In this discussion topic we've said no, but earlier when we talked about Ancestry.com's California Birth Index we noted that Ancestry.com included themselves as the author in their recommended citation format, and it seems that the recommendation in that discussion was to include the author (Ancestry.com) as part of the Source page title. I don't have strong feelings either way, except that we should be consistent. (And perhaps for that reason I lean toward not including the author of an online database because the author is often hard to determine.) Any thoughts?--Dallan 20:44, 5 July 2008 (EDT)

Wouldn't it depend on the specific database? If its a persistent corporate database (eg, something in Ancestry), then go with the corporate entity. If its a personal database that someone has placed on line, then it might have a specific author, or perhaps just the site name---but in that case, its not going to be around all that long, so citing it is not all that useful in the first place.
By the way, an issue that is beginning to crop up is link-rot to Rootsweb pages---people are noticing that links to some pages are failing right and left. Due either to a) migration of rootsweb to their own system, and b) changes in url hierarchy at Ancestry incorporating Rootsweb sites into URL's for Ancestry.com (which is what caused item a to occur). The point here is that even something like Ancestry and Rootsweb pages are subject to link-rot. Sometimes there's no real choice but to cite these databases, but its still going to be problematic if what you are interested in is the long-haul. A possible solution would be to create a link using WebCite, or something similar---but then you are depending on a third party to persist. Q 21:41, 5 July 2008 (EDT)
As Q points out, there is a lot of variation as to who the author of a website can be interpreted as being. I think for the sake of consistency, we should leave the author out of the title and leave it as a variable on the source's page. --Ajcrow 22:41, 5 July 2008 (EDT)
I think we put the author in on books and articles because it tends to be fairly unique and recognizable, it further differentiates titles, and it's standard bibliographic practice. Databases are a weird animal that lack the standard formatting rules, so I think we can be less bound by them. In many cases, the "author" will be somewhat unintuitive (if not impossible to determine), probably not unique, will probably not have any particular meaning (as opposed to the book title) and will just add to the confusion over the proper name. And we may well end up with lots of people creating Ancestry.com sources where they shouldn't. So I vote leave it off.--Amelia 22:59, 5 July 2008 (EDT)
I'll leave it off of the title. I'm in agreement that for online sources the author is difficult to determine often enough that it's not worth including in the title. I'll include it in the Author field.--Dallan 20:26, 28 July 2008 (EDT)

Books whose title begins with a name [5 July 2008]

Hello list,

I am moderating recent changes for sources. If we format this source per the recommendations it looks weird.

Pippenger, Wesley E. John Alexander: A Northern Neck Proprietor: His Family, Friends and Kin.

The title is only in italics for clarification. --Beth 09:50, 4 July 2008 (EDT)


I agree it looks odd, but I'm not sure there's a better way to handle it.--Dallan 20:44, 5 July 2008 (EDT)

Book with multiple publishers and publishing dates [23 November 2009]

The committee made a decision to have one source page for a book title; even if the book was republished or reprinted numerous times by different publishing companies in different years.

However, the present fields seem to allow for only one publisher, one publisher location, and one publication date.

Exactly how does one enter this data? Beth--Beth Test 10:48, 8 July 2008 (EDT)

That would be one of the disadvantages of "Author Title" formats. This particular problem goes away if you use "Author Date", but then you get other problems in return. Pays yer money, takes yer choice. However, in answer to your question, one way to deal with this is to add a section describing publication history. I frequently encounter works that were republished with significantly different information, but same title, and its important to know which specific version is being referenced. The work around for this, if you need a workaround, is a) Create a main "Author title" Card, b) add a publication history giving the various versions, and then create an Author Date version of the work which redirects you to the Author title version that includes the publication history.
All in all, I suspect that there are fewer issues like this with Author Date than Author title. More people are comfortable with Author Title, but that's because they learned their sourcing from their highschool English teacher. And liberal arts folks (like English Teachers) always use Author Title---because that's what their discipline uses. For most liberal arts purposes the important thing about a reference is the work itself. Hence you refer to the author and the work, not the specific date of publication. Other areas prefer Author date because what's important there is the author and when he specifically presented his information---the work itself isn't the big thing, (except in a few specialized cases. For example "Newton's Principia" not "Newton, 1687"). But most technical work uses one of the Author Date formats. Disciplines where the evolution of an idea is important, tend to use author date. Where evolution of ideas is not the focus, (for example, "Shakespeare, The Tempest", author title works better. Q 11:42, 8 July 2008 (EDT)
Bill, Thank you I understand the workaround and it makes sense but is just not easy enough for my purposes. I am going to create a new topic regarding my tutorial and a specific source and the particular problems that I see.--Beth 12:38, 8 July 2008 (EDT)

I hadn't thought about that. Eventually it looks like I need to allow publisher, date issued, and place issued to be repeating fields. In the meantime let's tell people to put information about the first publication in the fields, and to put information about following publications in the text of the article. I'll put this on my ToDo list as a lower priority right now, and move it up if it becomes a frequent issue.--Dallan 20:26, 28 July 2008 (EDT)


Actually, the "right" way to do this would not be to have the fields repeat, but have a separate type for "book edition" or something similar which was linked to "book" (or what some library types call a "work"). Each edition would have a separate publication date, publisher, ISBN, etc.--Tfmorris 04:52, 23 November 2009 (EST)

Quick Start Tutorial for WeRelate and Source [28 July 2008]

I am writing a new tutorial Help:Entering a Family on WeRelate tutorial. My next section should be screen shots of searching for the source and adding a citation.

The source of this material is Early Settlers of Alabama by Col. James Edmonds Saunders.

  • First if you search for this title in the case above you only find MySources and an index. In order to find this you need to enter Early settlers of Alabama.
  • There are 3 entries all from different microfilm from the Family History Center; none of which are for the publication date of my copy which is 1963.
  • I decided it would be much easier for me to rename one of the pages according to the guidelines; Saunders, James Edmonds. Early Settlers of Alabama and then redo the search for the tutorial; but to further complicate matters there are multiple publishers and dates. My volume also has a Part I and Part II.

While Q gives a valid workaround in the above related topic; I don't wish to include this in the tutorial.

So how to do this and keep it simple? --Beth 13:31, 8 July 2008 (EDT)

Because it appears that these are all reprints of the same original work, I would...
  1. As you indicate, create a page with the author and title Saunders, James Edmonds. Early Settlers of Alabama.
  2. For the actual publication field, put in "Originally published: New Orleans : L. Graham & Son, printers, 1899" (at least that's what Ancestry says)
  3. In the main notes field, list all the reprints that you know of/find source pages for, i.e. "Reprinted in 1969 by Genealogical Publishing and 1961 by Willo Publishing"
  4. Under repository, list all the links that exist to various version that are currently on other source pages with Repository as, e.g., Ancestry.com and the URL as "http://content.ancestry.com/iexec/?htx=BookList&dbid=26125&offerid=0:679:0 1961 Edition" (which makes the edition note show up on the link).
  5. Redirect all the other WeRelate pages on this source to this page.
I would ignore the Part I, Part II under the same logic that we don't create separate pages for separate volumes of the same work. --Amelia 14:33, 8 July 2008 (EDT)
Thanks Amelia. I will follow your steps.--Beth 19:28, 8 July 2008 (EDT)
If we continue to follow the above system; I think some changes should made to the source edit page for books with multiple publishers, etc. For quality control, somehow the original publisher and date should remain the same. It would be helpful if one field label said original publisher and date. Then you could have a prompt for adding additional publishers and dates.
When one cited the source there could be check boxes to select your publisher and date. For my source citation; I would select the original and the year of 1963.--Beth 19:53, 8 July 2008 (EDT)

I know that this comment is late. Would having a repeating publisher, date issued, place issued set of fields fill the need here?

The new search engine is searching source titles much better, but I just noticed that the Author field didn't get indexed correctly so it's not searchable. I'm going to have to re-index all of the source pages to pick up the author field, which will take a few days, but then Authors should be searchable as well.--Dallan 20:26, 28 July 2008 (EDT)

Whatever is easier for you Dallan. I can cite the originally published date and add the new publication to the citation; but I don't know how many new users are going to cite the additonal or add the new publication data to the source. I assume that there are enough books republished in the genealogy field to warrant the addition of a repeating publisher field.--Beth 21:29, 28 July 2008 (EDT)

Index sources [20 July 2008]

Two questions for the group, specific and broad...

  1. Specifically, I've noticed that there are source pages for the census index books (i.e. the ones you [used to] use to find a head of household and a film number before looking it up at the library, like this). I've rarely seen one that gives more than name, county, and perhaps age. While these could theoretically be sources (for a residence at a time, I guess), I see no use to having source pages for them, or encouraging their use as sources. Plus, no one is going to use the FHL catalog link to find these things. Should we (can we) delete them wholesale? Flag them for Speedy Delete when we see them? Or rename them as state level census pages? Since I think that last isn't useful beside national and county-level pages, I vote for deleting them all.
  2. On a larger level, what do we do with materials that are simply indexes? Most of the same concerns apply, but there are some cases where the index has most or all the information of the original and thus is more like a transcription. Because of that, I'd treat them like transcriptions and redirect them to the page on the source itself with appropriate notations and link on that page.

What do people think? --Amelia 19:16, 20 July 2008 (EDT)

I agree with you Amelia. Delete (a) if there is no link and redirect (b). --Beth 22:27, 20 July 2008 (EDT)
I agree as well. We don't need pages for sources that nobody uses anymore. Redirecting indexes with most of the information of the original to the source itself makes sense as well. Are you then adding the URL of the index as another repository on the original Source page?--Dallan 20:26, 28 July 2008 (EDT)

Census [14 August 2008]

I've started renaming and categorizing U.S. census sources, and thought I'd set forth my logic so others can understand, comment, and follow a standard on which there's some agreement.

  1. For each census year, I edited/renamed a page to provide the general information available on that census and links to nationwide transcriptions (like Ancestry) or film collections (National Archives). (These are basic efforts that need additional comment and repositories - feel free!)
  2. Also for each census year, I created a template that links to the general page and lists the major easily accessible sources for that census - typically Ancestry, Heritage Quest, and FamilySearch online, and ordering FHL films, which can be done regardless of your online or geographic access issues.
  3. When I find an existing county census page, I rename it according to the guidelines (i.e. Source:United States, Pennsylvania, Luzerne. 1850 U.S. Census Population Schedule), add the appropriate template, check if there are any county-specific online transcriptions or images and list those under repositories, and add a category "Category:Year State census". I also search WeRelate for any other records related to that county census for that year, list them under Repositories, and redirect the record.
  4. I click on that category and edit it to make it a sub category of categories for the year and for the state. So the Category:1850 Pennsylvania census category becomes a subcategory of Category:1850 U.S. Census and Category:Pennsylvania census records. Both of those categories are in turn subcategories of Category:U.S. Census, which is a subcategory of Category:Census records (but it doesn't show up - help?)

Then there are the other "random" pages I come across that are census-related, but not county or national census pages. Some of these are resources, like census worksheets. On these, I add a link to the national census page for that year, and mark the source page for deletion. If these are statewide resources (I've found ED maps, for example), I add those as resource links on the category page. Included in that category are the pages for the FHC's census collections that list the film numbers for that state. It's far more useful to link to the catalog page that shows these numbers with their content. As we've already decided, we are not creating or using state level census because that is not a useful entity to use as a source where the county is available, and the page itself would be unlikely to provide useful information. Adding links to the category page where appropriate captures the useful information without implying that it should be cited. (Example: Category:1920 Missouri census). The index books discussed above should be marked for deletion, since the links don't serve any purpose (I haven't done this yet).

Questions, comments, problems?--Amelia 14:22, 25 July 2008 (EDT)


I can't figure out why Category:U.S. Census doesn't show up on Category:Census records. However, see below about the automated source update.

What you're doing looks like a great idea. My only concern is that people won't follow the category links often enough to see these resource links that you're adding. A couple of thoughts:

  1. What about creating a "Missouri census resources" article that contained all of these links? You could also put the article in the category.
  2. I could add Surname and Place as fields to Category pages so that the category pages would show up more often in search results.

--Dallan 20:26, 28 July 2008 (EDT)

Since categories show up in search, what are the advantages to creating an article with the same info?

I think adding surname and place might make categories less useful where people are tempted to add, say, a particular surname to a census category. Then you just have that page cluttering up searches for that surname. The majority of cases where a category is primarily about just a couple names or places will have those words in the title and lots of the content, so the field seems unnecessary.--Amelia 22:38, 28 July 2008 (EDT)


I'm using it as it is. Please tell me we're not planning another change on the census sources - at least the primary ones that will be in the Source space. I've started working through my tree jettisoning references to the mysource versions. I know I could just redirect those - but I really want to eliminate "MySource" from my tree space.--Jrm03063 23:03, 28 July 2008 (EDT)

I have also stopped adding the surname to the census source. I still add the specific place. --Beth 23:56, 28 July 2008 (EDT)

Categories do show up in search, but since they don't have "surname" or "place" fields, people who fill out the surname or place field on the main (all namespaces) search form won't see Category pages. With the new search engine, when you fill out the "place" field on the search form, it searches only place fields on the wiki pages - and doesn't match pages that have the place listed in the title or text. In general I believe this is a good thing, as it makes search more targeted now. You can still search the text of pages by entering words in the "keywords" field on the search form.

In contrast to Category pages, Articles have fields for surname and place, so they do show up if you fill out the "surname" or "place" fields on the main search form. That's why I suggested possibly using them.

I'm not suggesting that we change the census sources. I think they're great as they are. I'm just wondering if it would be helpful to put the Resource links currently included on the Category pages on an article page, or if it would be helpful to add surname or place fields to the Category pages. If we do add these fields to the Category pages, I agree that we'll have problems of people entering surnames when they don't apply to census categories. Perhaps increasing the visibility of the Category pages would be worth it; I don't know.--Dallan 01:41, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

I can see the benefit of having the resources on a page tied to a place field. I don't have a good sense as to whether articles or categories would be more used by end users, but I think better visibility for categories is worth adding the fields regardless of whether there is added content on the page, which in turn makes the article page duplicative. If there's a consensus that we can remove surnames from census categories and the like we can ameliorate that irritation.--Amelia 14:15, 1 August 2008 (EDT)

I'll put adding surnames and places to category pages on my ToDo list. (It will be a few weeks though.) And I agree that we should remove surnames from census category or source pages if they appear.--Dallan 00:31, 2 August 2008 (EDT)


Hello,

I have a few concerns on this subject. It has been a while since I entered a source or mysource for a census.

My information might be a bit outdated.

It is my impression that many people do not know or understand that there are many variety of census's available. They only seem to know about the US Federal population census.

Since we are "cleaning up" the census sources. Could we add a few categories to choose from. Such as government ie United States Federal, Norwegian, English, or Nebraska State, etc. Or a type category, i.e. US Federal Population, mortality, agricultural, etc.

Thanks, Debbie Freeman--DFree 21:02, 5 August 2008 (EDT)


I agree that there are several different types of censuses that most people are unaware of. I don't want to create new "Subjects" for each of them because I'm trying to limit the number of different subjects we have. You could create categories for the different census types. I think I'd wait though until we've automatically-updated the FHLC microfilm sources, which should be done around the end of this month. After that we'll have a search function that will let you see all of the "Census" sources.--Dallan 11:30, 14 August 2008 (EDT)

Automated Source pages update [28 July 2008]

Next week I'm planning to run a program to systematically edit all of the FHLC sources. It will

  • correct the places that they point to (some of the places are out of date after we fixed up the place wiki),
  • enter a "Subject" for them - the subject will become a searchable field, and when you search sources you'll get a linkable list of counts for the sources in each subject (like we currently show for namespaces).
  • and add some publication fields found in the FHLC that were originally omitted.

The program won't replace any information that has been human-added. Also, the program won't rename the FHLC sources yet -- that will happen in August/September.

With the new "Subject" field, I would like to remove the current categories listed in Category:Sources. Sources could still belong to user-created categories such as Category:U.S. Census, but I'd like to use the Subject field in place of the current high-level categories so that we can get the linkable list of subjects.

I'd also like to add an "Availability" field to the Repository line for each source (in addition to Repository Name and URL. I'm thinking that Availability would have the following possible values:

  • paid website
  • free website
  • FHC loan (or maybe "Family history center"?)
  • Library loan
  • Order by mail
  • Visit

The idea is that in the future people could search sources and see which sources are available online, which are available by going to an LDS family history center, which you have to drive somewhere to see, etc. I'll default all of the FHLC sources to "FHC loan".

In addition, we've hired someone to review the online sources. She'll remove the ones that point to online family trees, leaving hopefully just high-quality reusable online sources. She'll set the Availability field for those sources.

Finally, I'll run a program to delete the message board sources in August/September.

Thoughts, comments, or suggestions for improvement?--Dallan 20:26, 28 July 2008 (EDT)

Availability. I like the idea, but I see library loan v. visit being a little problematic. Do we list all the sources that NEHGS has in their lending library twice? And/or we have to make people figure out the lending policy of a particular library when adding a source? Maybe if we just had paid web/free web/FHC/other library, and then the help link could explain that all the FHC and probably most of the other library are available for loan (since not all FHC stuff goes out either, as I remember), but one needs to check the policies. Also, does "order by mail" mean "purchase"? Does that invite publishers to spam our listings? If not, I think it's not a bad idea to include.
Subject field. Sounds much more useful than the overcrowded high-level sources. When we're adding/editing sources, will this be a drop-down menu so we know what the options are?
Online. Is your employee consolidating duplicates? Like all the Ancestry book sources with the book records?--Amelia 22:31, 28 July 2008 (EDT)

Good points. I could combine library loan and visit. Not sure I like calling the combined category "other library" because I'd like it to also apply to archives, county courthouses, etc. Maybe just "Other"? (Actually, all of the FHLC films we currently have is available for circulation in the family history centers. I'd put the restricted-circulation materials in the "other" category or whatever it ends up being called.)

I was thinking that "order by mail" would be used for cases where you order records from government offices by sending a check. I don't like the name, but I can't think of anything better. I don't want to encourage spam. I think it would be ok for vendors of original content to create Source pages for their materials, but wouldn't want vendors to add themselves as repositories on thousands of sources. Thinking about it, maybe it would be better to combine "order by mail" into an "Other" category.

Subject field: yes, this is already available as a drop-down on the Source pages in fact. I added it a short time ago.

Online: ideally I want to have her merge online and offline sources. I don't know if I'll have her do that in the first pass though. It might simplfy things to do the merging in a second pass after deleting sources in the first one.--Dallan 01:41, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

New Source Types [25 August 2008]

I'm thinking about adding a couple more types to the source "Type" drop-down (the one that currently has Book, Article, Government/Church records, etc.

  • "Online collection" - this would be used for websites and online collections where you can't tell what offline source they were created from. The directions would say to enter the title of the website or the name of the online collection for the Source page title (no author). The reason for calling this "online collection" instead of "website" is because in addition to websites I'd like this type to encompass the 26,000 collections at Ancestry, and the collections at http://pilot.familysearch.org and websites like JewishGen where it is difficult to determine the offline source (if any) that these online collections are derived from. (If we later determine the offline source that an online collection is derived from, we can redirect the page for the online source to the page for the offline source.)
  • "Cemetery" - We've talked about this before as "Geographically-oriented records", but the common case for this type is Cemetery and I wonder if it would be clearer to list the common case instead. The directions would say to enter the place for the records followed by the name of the cemetery for the Source page title; e.g., "United States, Minnesota, Ramsey, Shoreview. Agape Cemetery".

If someone uses for their source an online collection of cemetery records, should the title be according to the "online collection" format, or according to the "cemetery" format? I've been thinking that we should use the former so that all online sources have the same title format.

Any thoughts on whether we should add one or both of these new types? (I wouldn't recommend going back through the sources we've already done and changing them; just for going forward.)--Dallan 11:30, 14 August 2008 (EDT)


I think "online collection" is fine if it can't be determined that the source came directly from the government, but I think they should be named using the geographical format, if applicable, for the reasons stated on the Source Review page (findability and predictabtility). Which brings us back to the question as to what purpose the "type" serves except to format the title? If none, then renaming Government/Church to Vital/Burial will fix all the problems.--Amelia 21:47, 14 August 2008 (EDT)

I thought we had said that for websites, we use the title of the website as the title of the Source page, as if the website were a book with an unlisted author? In hindsight, at least for me this rule has proven pretty useful -- give the Source page the title of the website, and put the place that it covers in the "place covered" field. Putting the place that the website covers in the "place(s) covered" field makes the source findable, and using the website title makes the Source title predictable for the drop-down list. It's also nice that the same rule can be applied to any website: one-name studies, civil war websites, cemetery transcriptions, USGenWeb sites. We could say that for websites with geographically-oriented records, we want to have the Source title be the place covered by the records followed by the title of the website, although this is more complicated.

Lately I've been thinking about online collections, like those listed at Ancestry and FamilySearch's new website. Many of these online collections are transcriptions of offline sources, but it's often difficult to determine the name of the offline source. For example, Ohio Deaths 1908-1953 is a transcription of a microfilm that we would title United States, Ohio. Certificates of death, 1908-1953 ; index, 1908-1911. But I doubt many people will go to the trouble to figure this out. One solution to this problem is to create a Source titled "Ohio Deaths 1908-1953" and have it redirect to the microfilm Source. Then people can enter a title that's simple for them (and that's meaningful to those people who want to track what online transcription they're using), and with the redirection, which could be done by a more knowledgeable person, they can see where the information originally came from.

I've been thinking about having an "online collection" type so we can give people instructions that say to title online collections like books without authors, and to created a redirect to the source for the original records when it is known.--Dallan 22:07, 15 August 2008 (EDT)


I don't think the difficulty is too different to have a rule that says "all websites" vs. one that says "all geographically oriented records". They're both easy rules. Neither case solves the problem of people figuring out if the original source is already a source page; that's a more advanced skill that will fall to others. But if we told people to name the FamilySearch record United States. Ohio. Deaths 1908-1953, the next time they started to type that in, they'd see the other record (if it had been renamed) pop up and that might prompt some learning. Same thing if they're browsing Ohio sources. Both sources would come up in a search, so that's a wash, but we'd have to explain why some sources are named differently just because of their format, which goes against the general definition of sources. I don't think we're backtracking on a previous rule so much as defining the scope of the geographic naming pattern (And, for the record, I've been renaming websites this way for a while.)--Amelia 21:18, 19 August 2008 (EDT)


So, to make sure I understand, you're suggesting that if the web page is for geographic-oriented records, we title the Source page as "place. Website name"; otherwise the Source page is titled "website name"? Is that correct?--Dallan 14:44, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

Yes, although I would phrase the rule as, for geographically oriented records, regardless of the medium, the title is "Place. Collection Name." For websites not covered by other rules (since some sites are also book transcriptions, etc.), use "Website name."--Amelia 16:24, 20 August 2008 (EDT)

I can go along with this; how do others feel?

So that we don't have to go back and rename sources we've already reviewed, and to make the source review project go faster I'm thinking I'll automatically rename the online Source pages after the review is complete. So if a Source page has a place in the place-covered field, then I'll rename it to the place-covered and source-title field. If it doesn't have a place-covered, but the page title differs from the source-title field, then I'll rename it to the source-title field.--Dallan 10:25, 22 August 2008 (EDT)


Sounds good to me Dallan. I think it'll prove to be a very handy naming convention when using the drop-down box or browsing for pages. BTW, I assume we'll still have to continue to rename the page when switching from a source type to a repository type? --Ronni 01:06, 23 August 2008 (EDT)


Ok, then I'll change the instructions on WeRelate talk:Source review. I'm thinking I'll also change the "type" field from "Government/Church records" to "Geographically-oriented records".--Dallan 23:04, 25 August 2008 (EDT)

Cemeteries

I like the idea of cemeteries themselves being source pages, which in turn have links to any transcriptions found online. But in practice this is more than a little complicated. Maybe I'm forgetting something from the previous discussions, but...

  1. Lots of cemeteries are partially transcribed on Internment.net, findagrave.com, and similar sites. Technically those are repositories, but I think they have to remain sources to capture all the small/partial cemetery info that won't correlate to a source page. Where possible, a link to the cemetery on those cites should go on a cemetery page, though.
  2. What do we do with county or state-wide transcriptions? Example, Source:Iowa WPA Graves Registration Survey. We could either make that itself a repository, or leave it as a source, and if there ends up being a source page for a covered cemetery, provide a link. Since the Iowa Graves data is searchable on Ancestry, most people citing it aren't going to have any idea whether they found data on a large or small cemetery, and we could be asking them to create a source for a single record, so the latter seems preferable even if it doesn't follow the cemetery source rule.
  3. And a related question perhaps specific to this source, but the FHC sources seem to include county-level versions of the WPA data. What to do with those?

--Amelia 21:47, 14 August 2008 (EDT)


Using the idea to title Source pages for online collections with the title of the website, we could keep the current title for Source:Iowa WPA Graves Registration Survey. Just list Iowa as the place covered and Cemetery records as the subject. (If it's hard for those of us who think about this a lot to determine how to title a source page, a new user will have real difficulty, which is wny I think simple rules need to be preferred.)

I was thinking that the "cemetery" type would apply to the case where you visited the cemetery yourself, in which case you'd want to create a Source page for the particular cemetery you visited, and you'd title the Source page as "Place. Cemetery name". But perhaps this case is covered adequately by the "government/church" record case, which would have the same title format? Alternatively, we could go with "Cemetery name (place)" where place in parentheses after the cemetery name is used to disambiguate the cemtery from other cemeteries with the same name.--Dallan 22:07, 15 August 2008 (EDT)

I don't think it makes sense to reserve whatever the cemetery format is for just visits. That would make it pretty limited, because the number of people who visit a cemetery and transcribe more than a handful of names is tiny (so they're mysources not sources), and most of those that do post the results in at least one place online, which generates a source anyway. I think "Place. Cemetery name" should apply to books that are transcriptions of a single cemetery and any online transcriptions, following the minimum records rule. "Place. Collection name" should apply to things like the WPA survey and county-wide books, etc. That's effectively the same rule as far as simplicity goes. That answers your Ohio deaths question below (please keep the department of health out if it.) As I've also noted before, I also think we should keep human "authors"/compilers out of vital record page titles, but if that's not possible in an automated renaming, so be it.--Amelia 21:18, 19 August 2008 (EDT)

I think the best way to deal with FHC sources is to title them as the author (if human-authored) or the place covered (if government/church-authored), followed by the title of the microfilm. In this microfilm for example, the author is listed as "Ohio. Department of Health" and the title is listed as "Certificates of death, 1908-1953 ; index, 1908-1911". So we could automatically title the source page as "United States, Ohio. Certificates of death, 1908-1953 ; index, 1908-1911" (what I think we've said earlier) or alternatively as "Ohio, Department of Health. Certificates of death, 1908-1953 ; index, 1908-1911". With 750,000 FHLC microfilm sources, it seems like too much work to do something that would require manual attention.--Dallan 22:07, 15 August 2008 (EDT)


Thinking more about my original question of we should deal with cemetery sources that are partial duplicates, like counties split out from a state effort, or findagrave, I think we ignore the problem as far as page naming goes. The page title is only the cemetery name if there's a standalone transcription. That page can then have findagrave, etc. links if applicable. Anything else, like the Iowa county pages, that exists as a standalone source gets a source page that, ideally, will link to the statewide source and vice-versa.--Amelia 21:18, 19 August 2008 (EDT)

Source rules are too complicated [5 September 2008]

I think the source pages and decisions for using this, that, and the other depending on the variables are too complicated. I don't have any problems with the census data or books.

But one more time I am going to suggest that other sources which are from a definite location (country, state, county, city, etc.) and record group or type (birth records, death records, deeds, wills, probate, marriages, tax lists, divorce records, court records, guardian records, etc.) be designated in that manner. Whether or not you find the information in the county courthouse, your local library, the Library of Congress, the National Archives, etc. you name the page by the location and record group. If you find the page on a web site regardless of whether it is a database, a digital image, a web page, an index it is named in the manner above. Then you name the repository and the address or web site and home page URL. You would have the ability to select your repository or add a new one and select that one. You could also add specific page URL's to the repository for information being cited and select that page. Then the additional information would be added to your specific citation.

We would then only need rules for items that do not fall into the three classifications above which are books, census data, and record groups. --Beth 22:02, 31 August 2008 (EDT)

That is the rule, except that "record groups" is "geographically oriented records".--Amelia 02:39, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
Right--Dallan 14:33, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

Well it is definitely not clear as bell to me; I don't think you understand my suggestion and there are so many variables to consider I am constantly having to reread several pages to try and remember how I am supposed to name a source.

Let's take the example of the source I created for the marriage index in Walker County. You, Dallan said it is was fine and you Amelia said an index was not supposed to have a separate page.

Then we have the Georgia deaths index on Ancestry and the Georgia Death images on Family search labs and the George Archives site. The deaths index on Ancestry is not supposed to have its on page or is it because it is a sizable database. The deaths index and the death images do not cover the same time period. So just figuring out all of these variables and when to do what is what is confusing.

My recommendation, as an example for any record found anywhere relating to Georgia Deaths would all go on one source page. United States, Georgia. Death Records

On the page you would have a place to enter the name of the collection, years covered, the URL or other reference and the repository; you also would be able to check the information on the collection that you wanted to go in your citation. In your citation you would add the details; certificate number, Book and page # etc.

You would do the same for marriage records but at the county level where applicable.--Beth 19:36, 2 September 2008 (EDT)

No rule is ever going to easily apply to the hundreds of different kinds of sources out there. Remember that the reason to have an actual source page instead of just typing the citation on a given page is to use the wiki to share information on the usefulness and location of a source. If we combine too different sources, that loses its usefulness. Conversely, if we separate what are essentially the same source, we split the intelligence on it. That's the general idea behind the rules.
As for your specific example, the question is whether the original collection is the same. If you can't tell, keep them separate. If more information becomes available, they can be redirected. --Amelia 23:22, 3 September 2008 (EDT)

I agree with Amelia's recommendation. If in doubt, create a separate source page for the collection you're wanting to cite. If you have a question about it, others will as well. Then if someone looks into it later and determines that two source pages are really for the same collection, they can redirect one page to the other. This ability to create multiple pages that can later point to the same underlying source is a powerful feature, and I think we should feel free to take advantage of it. It means that someday people will be able to look up a transcription and see that the Source page for the transcription redirects to another Source page that tells them how to access the original images. That will be pretty cool I think.

Later this Fall I'm going to create Source pages for every collection at Ancestry. (We have Source pages for many of them already.) Likewise, I'm hoping that people create Source pages for the collections at FamilySearch's record search pilot. I'm hoping that over time (probably several years actually) people will redirect these online sources to the microfilm sources in the cases where they're really the same collection.--Dallan 12:34, 5 September 2008 (EDT)

US Navy State Summary of War Casualties [12 September 2008]

I wanted to add a source page for the US Navy State Summary of War Casualties. There are books for each state available at http://www.archives.gov/research/arc/ww2/navy-casualties/index.html. I wasn't sure if I should be adding a source page for the book just for my state http://www.archives.gov/research/arc/ww2/navy-casualties/connecticut.html or one for the US. Would the title be United States Navy. US Navy State Summary of War Casualties or United States Navy. US Navy State Summary of War Casualties (Connecticut) Thank You.--JBS66 15:50, 10 September 2008 (EDT)


I don't know if everyone else would agree, but I would make just the one source as United States. US Navy State Summary of War Casualties (leaving off "Navy" in the first section). Creating source pages for each individual State doesn't add anything new as far as information goes for the researcher. Someone visiting the link you provided would be able to see the individual States. You can add "Connecticut" in your citation portion, but creating a separate source page isn't necessary, IMO. --Ronni 20:07, 10 September 2008 (EDT)


I agree with Ronni. I would add a source page for the entire US. I'd give it a type of "Government/Church records", set the place covered to "United States" and the title to "World War II Casualties" since that's what is displayed for the website in the browser's title bar. This will result in the Source page being titled Source:United States. World War II Casualties.

If you wanted to create a separate web pages for Connecticut, I'd enter the place covered as "Connecticut, United States" and the web page title "WWII Casualties: Connecticut" (again, that's what shows up in the browser's title bar for the Connecticut web page), resulting in Source:United States, Connecticut. WWII Casualties: Connecticut. This is perhaps a little redundant, so if you wanted you could call Connecticut in the web page title a subtitle -- subtitles aren't included in the Source page title, and just go with Source:United States, Connecticut. WWII Casualties.--Dallan 20:25, 10 September 2008 (EDT)


Thank you for your suggestions.

This brings up more questions though! I read the suggestions for titling a source of a Book (authored by an agency) at WeRelate talk:Source Committee/Examples. Example: United States, Bureau of the Census. Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790: Connecticut. Currently in WeRelate, there is a separate page for each state for this resource. Also, when doing a Google Book search, there are separate entries as well. Should the books for State Summary of War Casualties be any different? It just happens that all the books are available at the archives.gov website. Also, what would happen with these two sources currently in WeRelate Source:State summary of war casualties (Ohio), U.S. Navy, 1946 : (includes Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard) and Source:State summary of war casualties (Virginia), U.S. Navy, 1946?

Archives.gov lists the creator as Department of the Navy. Bureau of Naval Personnel and the title as State Summary of War Casualties from World War II for Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Personnel from Connecticut, 1946. The cover page of the book lists the title simply as State Summary of War Casualties [Connecticut] http://media.nara.gov/media/images/27/13/27-1286a.gif .

To make things more confusing, there are also a series of books for Army and Air Forces Personnel for each state!--JBS66 08:13, 11 September 2008 (EDT)


A good majority of the titles haven't been renamed yet, so you'll see all kinds of titles, especially when looking at those that came from the FHLC.

The Source Committee Examples you referred to were an earlier "model" when we were discussing Elizabeth Mills' citation rules. Some things have changed. One of those things is the suggestion that records created by a govt (i.e., whether it be country, state, city) be titled first using a geographic portion followed by the title. This same idea applies to even if its a book that is basically just a transcription of these records. For example: Source:Dodd, Jordan. West Virginia Marriage Records, 1863-1900 will probably eventually end up as Source:United States, West Virginia. Marriage Records, 1863-1900. If you want to create a page for the individual state you are interested in, that's fine, especially since the FHLC has an entry for the same source. If you choose to do it this way, the FHLC page for Connecticut could then be redirected to your new page.

Either way, don't fret or spend a lot of time trying to figure out what's "right" or "wrong" in the WeRelate community, because right or wrong are subjective. Bottom line? Whatever floats your boat. :) --Ronni 09:05, 12 September 2008 (EDT)


Thanks for the assistance, the naming scheme makes sense now. I like the idea of having one source page - like Source:United States. 1900 U.S. Census Population Schedule with the various ways to access it all together. One other question, how do you enter a subtitle?--JBS66 11:28, 12 September 2008 (EDT)


You can enter a subtitle (and any other fields that need filling in) after getting past the initial page creation form or "wizard." --Ronni 14:22, 12 September 2008 (EDT)

Source Wizard [22 March 2009]

It is very hard to summarize the above discussions. So here is my attempt to address the complexity of this discussion, as opposed to the content of the discussion.

It seems that some very hierarchical relationships are being squeezed into a flat name space, suggesting the conventions adopted will not be simple. (For example, a book has many editions.) Further, I suspect whatever set of conventions is adopted will seem unnatural and non-intuitive to some portion of the users since there are many strongly held opinions. Hence I suspect there is a desperate need for a Source Wizard to find, add, and link to sources. Then the user doesn't need to remember all the arcane rules and conventions settled on, and yet these rules will still get followed consistently.

  • When I input a source, I should be prompted for title, authors, publication year and other such discrete facts. The input wizard should build the page title however is desired. Individual fields could be reformatted (author's name last-comma-first, "a" and "the" removed from the beginning of titles, for example.) The wizard could even display possible existing matches to be reviewed prior to creating a new one. &c.
  • When I search, I should be able to input the discrete facts and search based on them.
  • A button added to the top of the input area should pop up a Source Wizard so I can input known discrete facts to identify candidate sources, and when I select one, the correct link is built for me and inserted into the text I am typing.
  • Once a type of source is identified, such as census, appropriate discrete fields are used and suitable formatting applied.

Personally, I think the user should never even see what convoluted page title is created. A little too much peeking behind the curtain for my tastes.

How to handle the situation where a person does not know all the information needed to build a correct page title or otherwise provide all information deemed necessary? For example, I want to create a source for a book called History of Podunk County, but I do not have the author.

  • Use a neutral title, like a sequence number, whose value is not derived from the discrete fields, so it is not affected by their changing. It would be neat to mouse over the link to this source and have a popup display the discrete fields but that may be asking too much.
  • Insist that all necessary data be provided before allowing the source to be created. After all, a little research on the Internet can provide the missing data.
  • Use what is known, and hope for a rename or redirect of the page later. Perhaps this would be automated when somebody edits the source page.

--Jrich 20:44, 17 September 2008 (EDT)


These are good ideas. The "Find/Add" link that you see when you add a source citation on a person or family page implements some of them already. I would say that for the situation where the user doesn't know enough information to create a "proper" Source page title, that they create the source with what they know, and then later when they find the rest of the information they can rename the Source page to have the proper title.--Dallan 17:15, 22 September 2008 (EDT)

Oh my! I am just starting to edit my new upload for missing sources. I click on the add source and want to use a mysource entry. I click on find/add and the resulting list is not helpful. Only 10 sources to a page and not in any perceivable kind of order. When I'm selecting a source to add, I don't want to scroll through 200 unordered sources! I want a drop down list of mysources with numbers at the top and the rest alphabetical. If that's not possible, then the list shoud be in a different format than the search results currently is - with only 10 results to a page. At least my desktop program lists them all alpha and everything is listed much closer together so there are not so many pages to scroll through. Maybe eventually I'll get my sources in line with werelate conventions but for right now, I am happy to just get them all entered. If I'm looking for West Virginia, Calhoun County at the bottom of a 200 source list, you know how many pages I'd scroll through at 10 per page?? I'll probably end up just leaving the source off. If I'm missing something here, please let me know or put this high on the to-fix list. --Janiejac 22:18, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
Perhaps I'm missing what you're asking, but if you know what you're looking for, why can't you put something in the keyword field, hit search, and have it find the source you're looking for? --Amelia 01:11, 18 March 2009 (EDT)
You can also click the "Exact matches only" checkbox, then click on "Sort by title" to sort the results by title. If you do that, you'll see a list of letters on the left-hand side that allows you do jump directly to the sources that start with a particular letter.--Dallan 23:24, 22 March 2009 (EDT)

Wikipedia itself as a Source [7 October 2008]

I have seen in some cases people citing a Wikipedia article as a source. According to an essay on Wikipedia the gist of which is (in my experience) widely supported among Wikipedia editors, this should not be done. My gut feeling is that complete elimination of Wikipedia articles as sources is likely not possible nor is it necessarily desirable to completely quash such usage. Rather, I think it would be good to establish a guideline that Wikipedia articles could be used as unreliable sources (which can only be done at the time of use, as I understand it). There are several arguments for this, chief among them being that there is no control over the state of the live article at any one time; this could be countered by using permalinks, but that would require vetting individual versions for factual accuracy which, though possible, is far less desirable than citing the original sources that support those checked facts. --Ceyockey 20:03, 5 October 2008 (EDT)


I agree that we should encourage people to cite original sources whenever possible, but I don't think we can exert much control over this. Most people don't list any sources at all, and many just cite things like "ancestral file" or "worldconnect". Citing a wikipedia article is better than either of these options in my opinion, although still not as good as citing the original sources (perhaps in addition to citing the wikipedia article).

Someday when the digital library is fully integrated I hope we can encourage people to upload scans of the original documents as part of their citations.--Dallan 12:48, 7 October 2008 (EDT)


I don't know why wikipedia is being singled out. I don't think it is all that bad a source for non-genealogical facts (history, etc.). It's biggest drawback is probably its potential for volatility. However, given the interest level required to get involved in the authoring process, and its implied review by millions of eyes, it would probably be hard for it to be too far off base. Most pages cite references, and its authority is based on the same principle that WeRelate runs on, so I don't think you could argue that it weakens WeRelate. --Jrich 13:20, 7 October 2008 (EDT)


Wikipedia is being singled out because that is what I am familiar with. As for most article containing references, many do but the VAST majority of factual statements on Wikipedia have no citation support. I am a contributor to Wikipedia and view it as an invaluable summary aid to human knowledge, but we all know the danger and prevalence of propagating bad facts, be they from a Wikipedia editor who just knows something is true or a recollection by an amateur genealogist (I'm one) that their 3rd cousin twice removed was Elvis' nurse. --Ceyockey 18:36, 7 October 2008 (EDT)

Time to work on the project page? [7 October 2008]

There probably has been sufficient discussion to be able to articulate some basic principles about the Source Committee. I would suggest that WeRelate:Source Committee be used to collate those principles and that discussion continue here, with consensus recorded to the project as it emerges. --Ceyockey 20:29, 5 October 2008 (EDT)


That's a good idea. I'm trying to finish up the merge screen this week, but I'll get to that next week.--Dallan 12:48, 7 October 2008 (EDT)

Census Returns of Scotland [9 October 2008]

Hello everyone,

There seems to be no consistency in sources for the census returns of Scotland. Are we following the guidelines setup for the U.S. Censuses? What about variations in spelling? See Source:1841 CENSUS OF GLENBUCKET. Note that Glenbucket, Scotland is redirected to Glenbuchat (parish), Aberdeenshire, Scotland. What title then? Perhaps Scotland, Aberdeenshire, Glenbuchat. 1841 Census of Scotland.

I have no research experience with Scottish records. Opinions. Thanks. --Beth 08:23, 9 October 2008 (EDT)


I don't have any experience with Scottish records either, but consistency is usually a good idea. "Scotland, Aberdeenshire, Glenbuchat. 1841 Census of Scotland" sounds good to me.--Dallan 23:22, 15 October 2008 (EDT)

Repository creation - need an autosearch like that for Sources [8 November 2008]

In the case of Source creation, when you try to add a Source, the first thing that happens is that a search is auto-launched to see if a Source of the same or related title has already been created, a search which is restricted to the Source namespace. I would suggest that a similar intervening auto-search be launched which restricts search to the Repository and Source namespaces; by including Source namespace, potential redirects may be identified. This dual search may be a temporary requirement until the Repository namespace becomes more mature. Thanks for considering this. --ceyockey 09:55, 25 October 2008 (EDT)

This makes sense. It will result in a bit of an awkward search string (restricting search to two namespaces requires some advanced search operators), but it's definitely do-able. And as you say, once we have finished going through the Source pages and renaming the ones that are repostories as Repository pages, we can remove it. I'll put it high on the todo list.--Dallan 11:30, 31 October 2008 (EDT)
This has been added to WeRelate:ToDo List#High priority requirements since 31 Oct. --ceyockey 15:39, 8 November 2008 (EST)

1920 U.S. Census Population Schedule -subset of Military and Naval Population, Etc. Abroad [18 November 2008]

Hello,

Would someone who has Ancestry check out a printing problem for me? Select Kyle D. Stewart in the 1920 census. Birth 1901, Texas. His home is listed as Bremerton, Washington, United States, Military and Naval Forces on Ancestry. Go to the printer friendly view and select print preview. Do you get a blank page for page 2? I do so I cannot print the page that Kyle D. (actually Kyle Osie) is on.

Now my question is how are we sourcing this census data? The census lists this by port, which in this case would be Bremerton, Washington. Then it lists the page by ship, which in this case is the USS Seattle. There were 5 or so ships enumerated at this port. The data on the sailors also gives their place of residence in the United States, however they were enumerated on the ship. I usually source my census data by country, state, and county; so exactly how would you source this one? --Beth 08:48, 17 November 2008 (EST)


I assume you are using the browser's print preview? I tried it and both of my pages were blank, but I use Firefox with an add-on that lets me view pages as though it's IE (which I use because I can't get Ancestry's viewer plugin to work with Firefox), so that may explain why my print preview showed nothing. Anyway, I simply used the print command that's available when viewing the image. It gave me the choice of printing the entire image or just a selection.

Ronnie, follow these instructions exactly to use the enhanced viewer on Ancestry with the browser Firefox.--Beth 17:38, 17 November 2008 (EST)
http://ancestry.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/ancestry.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=3809&p_created=1214337302
Thanks for the link Beth! --Ronni 11:11, 18 November 2008 (EST)


As to your census question, Mills gives this example in Evidence Explained, pg 290:

Source Entry
San Diego, California (“Seaport”). 1920 U.S. census, military and naval population abroad schedule.

First Reference
1920 U.S. census, military and naval population abroad schedule, USS Meade, TBD [Torpedo Boat Destroyer] 274, “Seaport”: San Diego, California [no ED shown], sheet 18 (stamped), 1-A (penned), Jesse T. Chadick; NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 2041.

Her explanation is this: "Beginning in 1900, separate military schedules were created for personnel on naval vessels and U.S. bases abroad—including some civilian employees and an occasional wife. If you cite your censuses by geographic location, you might have to create a different style of entry in your Source List, because the censuses conducted outside the continental U.S. are not geographic-based returns that enumerate all people in a specific locale. Rather, they record only selected people over widely scattered areas."

So for a WeRelate source page perhaps something like United States, California, San Diego, San Diego (Seaport). 1920 U.S. Census, Military and Naval Population Abroad Schedule. I added the county name to the title to keep with our naming convention.

--Ronni 11:27, 17 November 2008 (EST)

Hi Ronni, but I am not sure that one should create a separate title on WeRelate. Should we leave the title U.S. Census Population Schedule and refer to the Military Schedule in the citation? The method you used for the place part of the title seems good to me. Just have the question about the last part of the title?--Beth 17:38, 17 November 2008 (EST)

I don't see where it matters one way or the other. User's preference works here I think. It wouldn't upset the apple cart either way as far as I can tell. --Ronni 11:11, 18 November 2008 (EST)

Relationship between this page and Source Review talk page [23 December 2008]

Could the relationship between this page (and its purpose) and that of WeRelate talk:Source review be clarified? This request is targeted to revision of the scope note at the top of the Source review talk page. Thanks. --ceyockey 09:39, 14 December 2008 (EST)


This page is the result of a group discussion that took place when we were trying to figure out how to title and describe genealogical sources in WeRelate. Once this discussion had died down, we started a project to review the current Source pages. WeRelate talk:Source review is the discussion page for that project. I'll ask that future discussions not about specific sources being reviewed take place on this page and not the source review talk page.--Dallan 22:59, 23 December 2008 (EST)

Source or Repository Question; Series vs. Series items [23 December 2008]

Regarding Source:Who's who among American high school students — this is an automatically generated Source that describes the entire series of Who's who publications. I would think that each individual publication (e.g. '81–'82) would be a Source. Would it be true that both the series and each publication would be a Source? Or would it be better for the series to be considered a Repository, under the notion that Sources are where you actually get information from while Repositories are bundles of Sources that would not themselves be cited. A decision in this area would impact all series-type sources. Thoughts? --ceyockey 09:43, 14 December 2008 (EST)

Series are not repositiories; and I do not agree with indicating them as such on WeRelate. The repository is a location. The source page, as written, follows our guidelines. The researcher's citation should indicate the volume, page, and copyright date, etc.--Beth 10:33, 14 December 2008 (EST)
Would you suggest that individual books in the Series not be allocated individual Sources? The alternative would be to include on the Series page information on the individual elements of the Series — which would be ok. Just want to clarify what the consensus would be in this case. --ceyockey 10:39, 14 December 2008 (EST)
Yes, I am suggesting that individual books in the Series not be allocated individual sources. If it is easy and fast for you to add the individual elements on the source page that is great; but if not just enter the volume numbers, 1 - ? and the copyright year range. Of course, I am not a consensus.<g>--Beth 11:12, 14 December 2008 (EST)
How about this ... Source:Who's Who Among American High School Students, where I've merged and redirected the book-specific volume into the series Source. --ceyockey 12:41, 14 December 2008 (EST)
Fantastic!--Beth 21:21, 14 December 2008 (EST)

A related case for review: Compare Source:United States, Illinois, Macon, Decatur. Central Illinois Genealogical Quarterly to Source:United States, Illinois, Macon, Decatur. CIGQ 1988 v24n2. In this case, a lot of information has been added for an individual issue. Several options here:

  1. leave as is, taking into account the amount of information provided for the individual issues
  2. dramatically reduce the amount of information available for each issue and merge the individual issues into the series issue
  3. keep the information currently available for the individual issue and merge into the series issue, providing a 'hide' option for information about each issue
  4. create sub-pages of the series Source for each individual issue (e.g. Source:United States, Illinois, Macon, Decatur. Central Illinois Genealogical Quarterly/1988v24n2)
  5. other options?

--ceyockey 16:25, 14 December 2008 (EST)

I prefer the sub-page option; seems the easiest to me.--Beth 21:21, 14 December 2008 (EST)


The option that we've currently settled on is a single source page for the series, with the volume and number going into the source citation on the Person/Family page. But I like the sub-page idea as well; that seems to offer the best of both worlds. I'll enable subpages for Source pages.--Dallan 22:59, 23 December 2008 (EST)

Telephone directories and related [23 December 2008]

I am wondering about the suitability of including Sources which are current telephone directories. There are tons of these and they are typically on-line aggregators of directories from multiple sources. My point is that these are lookup resources for living people. I think that historical telephone directories would be fine to include, even if they include living people, but the primary purpose of a current telephone directory is to lookup contact information for living people, and I think that is not consistent with our overall policies here. Thoughts? --ceyockey 10:59, 14 December 2008 (EST)

I vote for deletion of these sources; they can be added on an individual basis by the user.--Beth 11:52, 14 December 2008 (EST)


I agree.--Dallan 22:59, 23 December 2008 (EST)

Book Sources (moved from user page) [20 April 2009]

Hi, Jennifer---

I started out trying to use the pre-existing "official" sources for those books, . . . but because there were so many differences among the variant descriptions of them, I postponed it. I was in the middle of creating a series of related Person and Family pages, and I didn't want to be distracted, so I simply created my own sources (in the text box) and figured I would merge the sources later. They're on my To-Do list.

Frankly, I strongly dislike the listings the LDS Library has created -- the ones available through FamilySearch. I rather wish Dallan & Co. hadn't just dumped all that stuff on the website, but I assume he had pro-LDS preferences. All those titles are from my own shelves, by the way, and I keep a database of my genealogy library, which is why they're all properly described. I can do a proper bibliography in my sleep!

The badly designed source descriptions are far worse for federal records, and county record sources, and so on, than they are for published books. They follow no coherent pattern, and none of them seem to follow accepted forms as recommended by any genealogical authority I know. I'm aware that sources are being worked on, in some way, and I'm curious to see what the outcome is. I'm willing to go back and "fix" all my sources once -- but not multiple times. --Mike (mksmith) 09:34, 14 April 2009 (EDT)


I can sympathize with your frustrations! Unfortunately, while renaming sources is on Dallan's to-do list for later this year, merging these identical resources is not - and this something that must be done manually. I am currently working on merging the Ancestry.com and FHL source pages, but there are over 17,000 of these alone! My only thought is that if users could keep an eye out for duplicates and combine/rename them whenever possible, that would be a BIG help. You are certainly more knowledge about the books that you reference then I am, and are more aware of reprint variations. I can certainly help to combine the sources I described on your user page - if you determine them to be the same! Also, since your title is the accurate one, they will be merged into your page, thus you will not need to change the person/family pages that reference it.--Jennifer (JBS66) 09:49, 14 April 2009 (EDT)


Well, the book referenced in all the variant listings is obviously the same book. It's the way the book was differently described in the listings that I didn't want to have to stop and deal with at the time. Also, I've read through the "Source Committee" thread, and it appears that the FHL and Ancestry are going to be taken as the authorities for source descriptions. Speaking academically and bibliographically, I can't say I like that idea. The FHL, as I said, is highly idiosyncratic in its descriptions. I know there are historical reasons for this, but still. (When I first visited the FHL 25+ years ago, before the catalog was available online, I was expecting the standard sort of cataloging I would find in any other library. Instead, I spent most of my day there figuring out the cataloging "system.") Anyway, I was putting off redoing & merging those sources until I was clearer on what the description was supposed to look like on WeRelate.
     I'm unclear, too, about how I'm supposed to code source statements made in the text box (where most of my work is appearing) so that the sources will show up in the "Source" form elsewhere on the page. My wife seems to be doing okay fitting practically everything into the provided forms on the pages she's working on (take a look at Thomas Root Phelps and Francis Elliott), but she's a mathematician and a techie by nature. I'm more of a freeform writer. --Mike (mksmith) 12:33, 14 April 2009 (EDT)


Mike, am I correct that footnotes such as those used here may suit your purposes better? That page shows one way to accomplish this. The way that I've more commonly seen is the use of reference tags like I've used on this place page (there's more info on that here).

Yes! The Julia Ann Stuck page, using the "Cite" template, is just the kind of thing I was looking for -- without knowing it. The method used on the Aengwirden page is much longer and more of a work-around, but the template is short and sweet. I'll go and fiddle with it until I'm sure what I'm doing. thanks! --Mike (mksmith) 13:27, 14 April 2009 (EDT)
Honestly, I didn't know about the cite template until I went to look at the featured page in more detail. It certainly would have helped when I was redoing all those Netherlands place pages!--Jennifer (JBS66) 13:50, 14 April 2009 (EDT)
I'm wondering if you might be able explain your comment "FHL and Ancestry are going to be taken as the authorities for source descriptions" a bit more. What I can do is merge one of the books from the post on your userpage, and we can discuss some of the idiosyncrasies you are referring to in relation to that.--Jennifer (JBS66) 12:57, 14 April 2009 (EDT)
Ok, I combined the sources into these two unique (hopefully!) pages: Source:Harrison, J. Houston. Settlers by the Long Grey Trail and Source:Sellards, Harry Leon, Jr. Hatfield Family History. Let me know your thoughts (including if you still feel these pages use FHL/Ancestry as an authority).--Jennifer (JBS66) 13:50, 14 April 2009 (EDT)

I've been mulling this most of the day, trying to decide how to explain my take on the problem without alienating a lot of good people I don't yet know very well. But here goes. . . .
      My concern about using Ancestry and the FHL as authorities didn't apply to books especially, but to government records, Bible transcriptions, correspondence and diaries, and all the non-book sources genealogists depend on. For books, there are several "authorities" so universal they can't be ignored.
      For American & most British publications, the Lib of Congress is the authority for what the title is. (The National Libraries of Britain, France, and Germany will include most of what the LoC doesn't cover.) For self-published books and other publications that are never noticed by the national libraries, you can easily construct a perfectly reasonable bibliographical entry by following the pattern of those that are listed. (Considerations like lower case vs. "title caps," whether to put leading articles at the front, etc. are minor and really only matter to librarians.) Note that the standard style manuals -- MLA, CSM, Turabian (really a subset of CSM) -- follow the same patterns, and we all have access to those. They also provide near-universal formats for magazine and newspaper articles, unpublished sources, and practically any other type of source you can think of that isn't unique to the genealogical world. Yes, I know you guys already know all of this. I'm just recapping the point that books and other general publications are easy.
      The problems arise when we start dealing with information sources that were never designed to be public -- records created for their own use, or for public policy reasons, by government agencies, churches, businesses, and individuals. Unlike books, these records have no innate uniformity of form or content. (Even the U.S. census differs greatly between, say, 1830 and 1930, with different kinds of information provided and different citation elements needed.) So how do you find a uniform point of description between a county record of a land transfer and a letter written by a father to his family? Especially when the letter is undated and the envelope is missing?
      The FHL began recording and describing its collection of all these non-book types of records when they began the microfilming program, back in the 1930s. They weren't trained librarians (much less catalogers), they weren't academics used to citing research, they were volunteers and appointees. And they mostly made it all up as they went along. And apparently, they still are to a considerable extent. As a result, to cite an example I came across just a few hours ago, you find a source like Source:Crown Hill Cemetery (Indianapolis), which is not for the cemetery itself but for a published collection of grave marker transcriptions -- I think. But that one's relatively easy. Look at these, from the FHL catalog:

Burial records. Crown Hill Cemetery (Indianapolis, Indiana).
Genealogical collection. Daughters of the American Revolution (Indiana).
Crown Hill Cemetery records, Denver, Denver County, Colorado.

Those are all non-book sources, all found under the subject heading "Crown Hill," which means they didn't come with any kind of standardized form built in (like a published book), they had to have the form imposed. See any uniformity of style there? They don't even follow in all cases the larger-to-smaller government entity pattern that people usually identify with the FHL. Pick any subject and check it in the FHL catalog, and you'll be amazed at the variety of ways things have been described. And this is why researchers (at least non-Mormon ones) almost never use citations as provided by the FHL. All I have to say about Ancestry is that they follow the FHL, which isn't surprising.
      This problem was addressed quite a few years ago by Richard Lackey, and Elizabeth Mills took up from him the quest for uniform citation of (let's face it) frequently weird sources. Her book, Evidence!, became the immediate standard, which tells you how badly such a standard was needed. If anything, Elizabeth tends to go to extremes, but even a somewhat simplified interpretation of her formats -- which cover absolutely everything -- will give guidance for any source you'll ever come across.
      The difference between the chaos of FHL and a well-thought-out quasi-academic approach is a practical one, though. You can dump the whole of the catalog into WeRelate and start immediately attaching citation links to it, which is what Dallan has done -- and I can't really criticize that because they don't have a large staff and they wanted to get this thing moving. Following the planned, systematic style guides, you have to built the edifice of the source database one brick at a time. (Unless the Allen County Library catalog is available for dumping?)
      So which do you want: Instant mechanical gratification? Or comparatively slow and painstaking work to develop a reliable, systematic collection of sources? When my wife and I teach classes and workshops, we (naturally) emphasize the painstaking approach. Family research isn't meant to be fast -- not real research. By which I'm saying that name-collectors who brag about how many names are in their database and how quickly they accumulate them aren't really researchers, or genealogists. Anyway, when you're talking to a small group of individuals, you can take an approach that wouldn't necessarily work with a large crowd. WeRelate is not yet a large community. (Whether it needs to be is quite a different question that I wouldn't even begin to attempt to address.) But a group of this small size can maybe accomplish things in terms of quality rather than mere quantity.
      One the other, more practical, hand -- A website that deliberately doesn't try to grow fast enough won't get the eyeballs to generate the ad revenue to pay for the servers. And that's it, guys; I'm going to bed. :) --Mike (mksmith) 00:53, 15 April 2009 (EDT)

Here's another example of a problem with a book-type source. This morning, I wanted to add the following source to a Family page: "Hasskarl, Eula Richardson (comp). Shelby County, Kentucky Marriages (Ada, OK: The Author, 1983-85)." When I clicked "Find/Add" for this, I got a bunch of FHL listings, including several that said, basically, this: "Shelby County, Kentucky, marriages." Several of the ones I looked at were descriptions of the actual marriage books at the courthouse. But one of them -- discovered entirely by chance as I was clinking on the links in the list -- was in fact this book by Haaskarl. And it was classed as "Miscellaneous," not "Book." So there was no way to tell, just by looking at the list of results of the search, that one of them was the book I was looking for. If the listing had been "Haaskarl, Shelby County, Kentucky, marriages," I would have recognized it -- although some other user not familiar with the book might well interpret "Haaskarl" as being the name of a town or something. --Mike (mksmith) 11:28, 15 April 2009 (EDT)

I hope you don't mind me entering this conversation. The template for citing sources is terrific. I did not know that it existed. Regarding the source committee, I was not in the majority in the opinions of the committee. I think that I suggested dumping many pages but was overruled. I also would prefer to follow the standards set by Mills in Evidence Explained. My hopes for WeRelate are to eventually have an interactive genie program which one can use with other researchers working on the same project. I would also like the ability to download a gedcom, but the source structure will require some type of other program to make the sources compatible with the method I use for entering my sources in Legacy. Several programs use Mills as the standard including Legacy, Roots Magic and Family Tree Maker. I am afraid that we will not attract some of the quality researchers because of our source design. I have vacillated back and forth over allowing gedcoms with no sources or only sourced by another gedcom or a tree on Ancestry or Rootsweb etc. I do access those trees and use them for clues and sometimes successfully contact the person who created the tree and sometimes there is no response. I know that there are many researchers who have sources but do not enter them intentionally, but those researchers are not really Wiki inclined. Perhaps there is some financial reason for not deleting the unsourced trees, but if not I don't think they should be on WeRelate. WeRelate is not supposed to be a dumping ground. I also support the democratic process, so if my opinions are not accepted, I still plan to continue using WeRelate. --Beth 20:37, 14 April 2009 (EDT)


Can I join the party? :-)
When you say Cite template, are you talking about this?
Could someone please explain how to use it? Thanks! -- jillaine 08:31, 15 April 2009 (EDT)

PLEASE join the party - though I'm thinking we should consider moving it somewhere else (not sure where yet)!

That is the cite template I was referring to. I accidentally discovered it while looking at this week's featured page. Here is an example of it being used on a place page (that doesn't have S1, S2 source fields). It looks like the template is an alternate way of expressing this: text<sup>[[#S1|S1]]</sup> (where sup is the code for superscript). You use the cite template by typing in {{cite|S1}}.--Jennifer (JBS66) 08:47, 15 April 2009 (EDT)

Jennifer, I made a feeble attempt to add this new method of adding references on the page Help:Formatting. I would appreciate you editing the page further. My wiki formatting is not the greatest. I also think this is worthy of mention in new tips, don't we have that somewhere? I do not know HTML and have not attempted to learn how to use the portals yet; still learning Wiki. --Beth 20:24, 16 April 2009 (EDT)
Beth - not a feeble attempt at all, I'm glad you thought of this. I went into the page and made some changes, but then I realized the template is not working correctly for me. Every time I use it, it forces the subsequent text to the next line - not very attractive. Does it work for you, as an inline citation?--Volunteer Admin - Jennifer (JBS66) 15:17, 17 April 2009 (EDT)
Jennifer, no it doesn't work for me either. How does it work on the featured page and not when we do it? Confused.--Beth 19:14, 17 April 2009 (EDT)

I'll jump in too :-). First off, I wish I had not imported the FHLC and Ancestry's catalogs so early on. I didn't realize how much of a mess it was and that I had bitten off way more than I could chew. I've thought about simply deleting the sources, but many of the sources are worthwhile and they'd just end up having to be re-created by hand someday. So it seems that automatically creating them and asking people to clean them up as they find errors, like we're doing with places, is better than asking people to start from scratch.

The problem with that approach is that while I believe places are generally fairly-usable as they are, sources are in a much worse state. A large part of the problem is my fault: I didn't include author or place in the Source page title when I imported them. They need to be renamed to include author or place to follow our standard for titling Source pages.

I've studied ESM's Evidence book a fair bit. In general, her bibliographic style cites sources in one of three forms: author. title. publication/location info for books, place. title. publication/location info for record sets or title. publication/location info for items without an associated author or place. And place is listed high-level jurisdiction to low-level jurisdiction. Our standard for titling Source pages essentially follows these formats but leaves out the publication/location info to keep the page titles short. I can't think of a better way to balance the simplicity that we need for Source page titles with ESM's book, but I'm open to suggestions.

With a wiki, every page has to have a unique title. And in MediaWiki, titles are case-sensitive. Ideally, the page title is standardized such that someone trying to add a duplicate Source page will discover that a page with that exact title already exists. This imposes additional constraints on Source page titles, which is why we say to list just the first author, because secondary authors are sometimes difficult to find and we don't want one Source page title with one author and another with several, and why we capitalize every word except short words, because the computer can standardize entered titles to this capitalization regardless of how the user enters the title.

But, each Source page contains author and title fields in addition to other fields I identified in ESM's book. (I may have missed some - if I have, please let me know.) These fields can and should contain more citation-oriented information than the Source page title. Eventually the information in these fields could be used to generate ESM-style bibliographic citations. So I'm not sure why people say that the sources at WeRelate do not follow the ESM standards. Are we missing fields on the Source page? Is it because we don't automatically-generate bibliographic citations from the fields on the Source page to display on the Person/Family pages? Is it because people are trying to make our Source page titles into ESM-style citations? I'm not sure. Long term I really want to encourage people to cite sources, which is why I did the source wiki in the first place. I'm open to suggestions here.

I agree that the title fields listed in the FHLC often leave something to be desired. If a title field can be changed to something better, feel free to change it.

Later this year, hopefully Summer, I'll rename the sources to conform to our Source page title standard. In the meantime if you see sources that need to be renamed or merged, please feel free to go ahead. I'll only automatically-rename sources that haven't been human-edited.

And yes, the Allen County Public Library Catalog is available, but I figured I needed to clean up what we already have before adding more.--Dallan 12:38, 16 April 2009 (EDT)


Thanks for joining in here, Dallan. Your comments on how the Sources namespace came to be answer many of the questions I had. I'm in the process of cleaning up (to my own satisfaction) my recent limited GEDCOM, and as I go along converting MySources into "real" Sources (which I realize I could have done in the import process, and probably will do that way the next time), I'm not trying to rewrite or rename all the Sources that refer to published books. I'm making a list of those, though, and when I finish my cleaning-up, I'll go in and re-do many of those as proper bibliographical listings with unique Source-titles (on the title line -- whatever you call that that doesn't confuse it with the actual title of the book).
      As I work my way farther and farther into WeRelate, and become more familiar and comfortable with the ways in which things are done, and with the methods used, the underlying decisions are making more and more sense from a user standpoint. Not that I necessarily agree with them all, you understand.   :)   But it means I can predict more accurately how to accomplish the next thing I attempt to do, whatever it might be.
      And yes, I think this whole thread needs to be moved to a more general forum. It's a bit lost here on the JBS talk page. --Mike (mksmith) 14:24, 17 April 2009 (EDT)--Jennifer (JBS66) 11:46, 20 April 2009 (EDT)

How to title this source page? [4 May 2009]

This is really two questions. I am not sure what to do with this type of source: [[1]]

Someone gave me a 57 pg document by pro genealogist, Leonardo Andrea, written in 1949, copied from LDS film (no number listed). The copy was in very poor condition so I have transcribed it, keeping the same format as much as possible. I had been hoping to be able to post it online here, but I have been unable to get copywrite permission. So I figured I couldn't post the whole document as a source, but I should be able to take the data from it and make person and family pages so the information would be available. Aside from the LDS film apparently the only other access to this info is from the library at South Carolina University at Columbia, SC.

Does anyone have any recommendation on how to source any person or family pages I may create or have any comments about this. I'd love to be able to post this info where folks can add to this data. I call it bits and pieces, some abstracted wills, some deeds, some church records but no large genealogy charts. Mr. Andrea just made abstracts on various Jacksons all over early South Carolina mostly from court house records.

I emailed the library curator at the college for permission to post the document but maybe that wasn't formal enough. I never heard back. I emailed LDS for copywrite permission; they said they got permission to film the records from the college and they couldn't pass on that permission; I would have to get it from the college. Bummer.

I'd love to hear any recommendations on how to go about getting permission to post the document! Also need some suggestion on how to title a source page for any person and family pages I may create. --Janiejac 00:12, 27 April 2009 (EDT)

Janie, I would write a letter and it is copyright, which I am sure that you know; just a slip in typing which I do frequently. I could really use a spellchecker on WeRelate. My worst are words not caught by my spellchecker such as there and their, etc. --Beth 19:06, 27 April 2009 (EDT)

Thanks Beth. I'm afraid even a spell checker won't help my problem. I find the older I get the more my fingers type before my brain is in gear. I type words that are phonetically similar but not the words I want! In this case, I repeated the errror over and over and I'm supposed to know better.
Not real important, but apparently when you learn to type, your muscles learn common letter combinations, i.e., mostly whole words. So your fingers want to type write instead of right because you type it frequently. --Jrich 22:32, 27 April 2009 (EDT)
Did you check the link? I still need to title that page I think. Whether I ever get the copyright or not. Or I could just leave it as MySource since at this point I haven't seen it at the college and no one else has seen my transcription. I don't even know how to determine what film number it might be at LDS site. It would work fine if I could find it and link to it. --Janiejac 21:13, 27 April 2009 (EDT)

Janie I don't know where it is on Family Search but this link takes you to all authored by Leonardo Andrea, maybe you can identify it. [2] --Beth 21:28, 27 April 2009 (EDT)

Thanks again. That's a good repository of his works, but I don't recognize any of the titles. So I've got 57 types pages and no easy way to share it! Creating person/family pages is lower on my to-do list than getting my own data base on here. --Janiejac 23:31, 27 April 2009 (EDT)

Janie, as for a source page title, I would suggest Andrea, Leonardo. The Leonardo Andrea Genealogical Collection for South Carolina or Andrea, Leonardo. Leonardo Andrea Collection, Columbia, South Carolina. Here are a couple of links for you as well: [3] [4].--Jennifer (JBS66) 05:56, 28 April 2009 (EDT)


BTW, not being able to publish copyrighted works that are no longer in print is a problem that some people have been trying to fight for several years, especially Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive. A really interesting organization that's working on this issue is the Open Content Alliance. Unfortunately, no solutions yet.--Dallan 13:05, 4 May 2009 (EDT)

I'm assuming the pages I transcribed are copyrighted. This document is the result of research Mr. Andrea was paid to do. He gave the original doc to his client. After his death, his family gave all his carbon copy documents to the University of South Carolina. They allowed LDS to film them but the university has not put any films or transcriptions online. The particular one I transcribed someone, somehow printed pages from the film but there is no film number on the copy and I don't find it listed in the LDS index. Possibly it is included among the 'Misc' papers, but there's no way to know. So I don't know if this qualifies as 'no longer in print' as it was never publically published. It is more like private correspondence between a professional genealogist and his client. --Janiejac 18:22, 4 May 2009 (EDT)
Whether or not it's copyrighted is complicated. The short answer is that it probably is. For a longer answer, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_copyright_law#Duration_of_copyright .--Dallan 11:17, 6 May 2009 (EDT)

Titles for WPA-connected sources [3 June 2009]

I'm reviewing a new GEDCOM and creating a few new Source pages in the process, one of which is to the collection of Iowa cemetery records the WPA in Iowa was collecting in the late '30s. I don't think it's ever been published as a "real" book, but the bound typescript is at the Iowa Genealogical Society library in downtown Des Moines, which is where I saw it. Doing the "Find/Add" thing, I discovered about a dozen variations on how various people have thought WPA data collections ought to be titled.

Being me, I went to the LOC site to remind myself of how the form heading for WPA looked, and I came up with the following: Source:United States, Works Progress Administration, Iowa. Cemetery Records. Note that this is for cemetery records only, though it includes the term "Iowa." It more-or-less follows the two-part form the census source pages use, which means you can repeat the standardized first part down through the state level and vary the second part -- because the WPA was involved in all sorts of things. (Unlike the census source pages, I didn't include down through the county level in the first part because the source itself covers the whole state.)

Ya'll tell me if you think this fits the need. I'm beginning to think I shouldn't have added the period to the end, though. --Mike (mksmith) 13:52, 2 June 2009 (EDT)

How about Source:United States, Iowa. Works Progress Administration Cemetery Records. This follows the Place. Record-set title format for geographically-oriented records, which this sounds like it falls under? Or maybe Source:United States, Iowa, Works Progress Administration. Cemetery Records, which would follow the Author. book title format for authored works.--Dallan 22:36, 3 June 2009 (EDT)

Source Frustration! [23 July 2009]

I just created a Source for the Strother Family Bible. I carefully put in the area these folks lived in but it didn't give me opportunity to say where to find it. (was created from the find/add feature.) So it is now a second step to back to find it and add that. But my biggest complaint is how it is titled!!
Source:United States, Virginia, Prince William. Strother Family Bible.
Think about it - if someone wants to cite this, the first thing that comes to mind is 'Strother Family Bible' and the location is secondary. When someone wants to search for the Bible, do you think they are going to start typing 'United States'? And what if they don't know the location? Then it can't be found. This to me is just not logical!

And now I just discovered that if I put a comma after Prince William instead of a period, the link won't work either!

(BTW, this is a different source from the earlier Strother Bible transcription by John Gott that I created. Not the same thing.) --Janiejac 14:12, 16 July 2009 (EDT)


I wouldn't title a family bible that way. I humbly offer the following: Source:Tuttle, Joseph Sherburne. Family Bible Entries.--Jrm03063 14:49, 16 July 2009 (EDT)

I certainly didn't mean it to be titled with the location first. It was done automatically when I filled in the area covered box. That was my complaint! This is an online image of the original page so I didn't plan an author's name entry but did expect it to use the title I gave it and an opportunity to say where it could be found. That opportunity is given when you create a Source from the add Souce blue tab, but not given when you 'add/find source' from editing a person page. --Janiejac 15:40, 16 July 2009 (EDT)


Oh, umm, well, .... can't you just rename it? --Jrm03063 20:22, 16 July 2009 (EDT)
Sure I can. But I'm saying the system needs changing so that a new source isn't automatically wrong in the first place. I didn't title it this way, the system did.
Thanks for your interest and giving me the opportunity to explain what I think is a bug a bit better. --Janiejac 21:16, 16 July 2009 (EDT)

The issue is since you didn't enter an author and you did enter a "place covered" when you added the source, the standard is to title the Source page as "Place. Title".

Currently the system titles Source pages based upon which fields are filled in on the "Add source" page. I could go back to requiring people to enter the "type" of source on the "Add source" page; then the system could determine how to title Source pages based upon the "type" that was entered. But I think we'd still probably want people to enter authors for family bibles so that we could distinguish one Strother Family Bible source from one for another family.--Dallan 13:10, 17 July 2009 (EDT)

The "authors" of various Bibles don't really change. What changes is the publication info (publisher and year, especially). --Ajcrow 15:20, 17 July 2009 (EDT)
I believe he means "author" in the sense of "owner," i.e., the person who wrote on the Family Information Page which the publisher included. I have copies of those pages from three distinct "Hatfield Family Bibles," covering different branches of the family, one in an entirely different state. "Author" can be thought of as shorthand for "person primarily responsible for or connected with." --Mike (mksmith) 17:35, 17 July 2009 (EDT)
But we need to be careful how we use the word "author" in this sense. We may know that's what we mean, but a new person coming in might see "Author" and leave it blank (or add a "theologically-correct" author). Janiejac brings up an excellent point that we need a standard way of titling Bible source pages. I hesitate to include a geographical area. One family Bible that I have copies of covers events in 4 different states. The "author" himself lived in 2. Would something like "William Skinner Bible, 1817" work (where the year is the publication date)? Of course, that presents a problem for Bibles either missing the title page or which did not have the publication date listed. --Amy (Ajcrow) 08:06, 18 July 2009 (EDT)
Not all "bible records" were recorded in bibles. Our family has one that was included in a sermon book published in the 1600's and continued in use in the family until the late 1700's. Its not a bible, but it does contain the family "bible record". In fact, family bible records appear in a great many different kinds of books, some not even remotely related to "bibles". I know of one that was created in a left over account book used by the Sheriff of a Southwest Virginia County to record fines and scuh, then appropriated by his deputy as a personal journal. He recorded his business comings and goings (mostly had to do with making and selling whiskey) Along the way he recorded his "family bible record" in it. What you are really talking about in all of these cases is a "Family Record". You probably can not create a format that fits every instance, so its probably better to use a title which distinctively identifies the item. If its known as the "William Skinner Bible", use that. If its the "William Skinner Family Record" use that. If its "William Skinner's Journal, 1817-1865" use that.
I don't think you want to get into trying to identify the specific "publication" as in "William Skinners Bible published in 1817 by the Whatnot Press"---because the Whatnot Press published no such thing, in 1817 or anyother year---they published a copy of the King James Bible (or whatever), and William Skinner included his family record on its pages as marginalia. Its the marginalia that's important, not the publication in which it was included. Q 09:12, 18 July 2009 (EDT)

I would think that a family Bible in somebody's possession should probably be a MySource, and hence, you can title it as makes sense, as Quolla says.

If the Bible is in a library or other public repository, it should have a title in the catalog and that would probably suggest how to title it.

I have seen articles go out of their way to give the publisher and year of printing of Bibles. Not sure if this is meant to be some sort of proof of authenticity (i.e., old data in a new Bible would be a copy or fraud), but provenance of Bibles is very important in proving their authenticity. --Jrich 09:46, 18 July 2009 (EDT)

For those concerned about provenance (ie, the professional genealogist), about the only thing that will do is a list of of who has owned the bible previously. "The chain of custordy" as it is known. MySource seems at the moment to be a preferrred location for family records of this sort. However, at some point I expect that MySource is going to get sorted out, and there will be a specific category for documents like this---ie, for original sources. (and what can be more "original" than a family record in your ancestors own handingwriting!? Q 10:38, 18 July 2009 (EDT)

Based upon this discussion, it seems like it would be helpful for the "Add Source" screen to have a drop-down list of common source "types" that would help the user title the source page. For example, the list could include published and unpublished family (bible) records and based upon the type chosen, the system would create a Source or MySource, display an author vs. owner field, etc.--Dallan 13:34, 18 July 2009 (EDT)


Back to my Strother Family Bible. I first found a transcription of this family record online and used it as a source. I made it a regular source, not a MySource because it is available online and I wanted to give the URL. But later found the transcription had a typo in a birth record, so I was pleased to find a image of the one page original online (no publishing date, no owner info). The handwriting is hardly legible so I'm glad the transcription is available. Even with bad handwriting, I was able to get a better birth date for my person. And for my research into this family, the area was important and I wanted to say where these folks lived - but I sure didn't want the area to be the title.

Which brings up another point. I have several books with a title similar to "Barbour County West Virginia Deaths". Are you saying now the source page should be titled "West Virginia, Barbour County Deaths"? But that's NOT the title of the book! Being place specific is handy but not accurately titled. Ah, what to do . . .

There's a difference between the title of the wiki Source page and the title of the source. There pretty much has to be, since several different sources can have the same title, and each wiki page has to have a unique title. That's why the wiki Source page title includes additional information - to make it unique.
Janiejac, as I've understood it published sources are to get the "Author. Title" treatment, regardless of what geographic area they cover. If that's not the case, I think we're going to have a real mess on our hands. The source entry page definitely needs to be clarified on this point. --Ajcrow 13:49, 20 July 2009 (EDT)
See the proposal to modify the source page title rules at Help talk:Source page titles for a discussion on this very topic.--Dallan 13:44, 23 July 2009 (EDT)

And I'm very uneasy to think about doing away with MySources. No way, am I going back to change all my sources. So what's to happen to them? Is it better to know now than to leave a mess later? I still haven't uploaded my main data base, just bits and pieces. --Janiejac 00:43, 20 July 2009 (EDT)

Janiejac. I don't think I've heard a proposal to do away with "MySource". "MySource" is fairly useful concept; but it has been put to conflicting uses. One of those uses is to house "sources" such as GedCom's, WorldTree lineages, etc: really bad sources (useful at some point to the producer of the lineage to help them track exactly where the obtained their information, but virtually useless as a formal source. Better then calling them "junk".) But its also used to house very legitimate source documents---family bibles for example. (I believe Dallan and Solveig use it in that way). And that's the problem---a very non-symmetric application, that makes it hard for folks to decide what goes into "MySource". Dallan's suggestion of a drop down menu to give folks some specific choices would help that. The other proposal that has been made is to create an additional source type "Document". That would give "Document", "Source", and "MySource" with Documents housing things images or transcriptions of family bibles, Sources housing bibliographic references to formally published materials, and "MySource" housing GedCom references and the like. I think of them as "primary", "secondary", and tertiary sources. BCG would call them "original", "derivative", and "nothing-at-all-because-we-don't- recognize-them-as-legitimate-sources-except-in-the-sense-that-you-happened-to-get-your information-there".

Dallan is at least considering this, but has said that he does not want to introduce this at the same time as a bunch of other changes are about to be put in place. Its probably a good idea to remember that this site is still in Beta development. That means "things are going to change". Things we've grown accustomed to may prove to be "in the way" of better ideas, and will be discarded. We all have different preferences; we like he way certain things work, and dislike other features. Ultimately, there's a picking and choosing process going on whose purpose is only secondarily to make us (current users) happy. While Dallan DOES go out of his way to make us happy, the main objective is to make the site work well. And so sometimes we have to accept features that we don't particularly like, or get used to changes in features that we've grown accustomed to. This is typical of a site in Beta development; the price you pay for early participation, and having the opportunity to influence the evolution of the site.

So if the "Document" proposal was adopted, your family bible would be a natural fit. In the meantime, one could create a "source" card for it, using that card as a bibliographic representation of the document---e.g., the card would be titled something like "Strother, William. Strother Family Bible". The business about "publisher, etc. Would be left blank, since the material of interest is the marginalia, not the book the marginalia were entered into. Then, one could put the contents of the marginalia into a MySource card, citing the "Source" card for the bibiographic information needed. But this is a workaround, and would eventually (I hope) be replaced by a "Source document" that would include both the bibliographic elements, AND the actual content.

Old saying: "You can always tell the pioneers from the late comers. The pioneers are the ones with arrows in their back."

Q 08:31, 20 July 2009 (EDT)

So is it being suggested, that this source:

Source:Tuttle, Joseph Sherburne. Family Bible Entries

Should be more like

Source:Elizabeth A Case Card File
Case, Elizabeth A. Research Card File

Except that the source should be more correctly titled "Case, Elizabeth A. Research Card File"?--Jrm03063 10:40, 20 July 2009 (EDT)

I agree with Q's suggestion to create a Source page for it, titled as he suggests. You could also create a MySource to contain the contents of the marginalia, or since this is a small source (it's not a vital records collection with thousands of possible images), I don't have a problem with you adding the marginalia directly to the Source page to keep everything on one page. Similarly for Source:Tuttle, Joseph Sherburne. Family Bible Entries -- I think it's ok to include the content of small sources like family bibles directly on the Source page if people want to do that, or they can create MySources with the content. I know that originally we suggested creating articles for the source content, but in hindsight I think it's better to put the content on a MySource or possibly directly on the Source page so we can leave articles for more general topics.--Dallan 13:44, 23 July 2009 (EDT)

Exhaustive Sources [7 August 2009]

Just thinking out loud.

One of the steps of good genealogy is to do an exhaustive survey of known information. So a useful function WeRelate could provide would be collecting every source that mentions a particular individual. But this gets repetitive, especially as many source clearly simply copy from others. Many sources are simply passing mentions and don't provide much information. On top of that, add the tendency of some people to include any source that mentions an ancestor or descendant of the subject, or to list all vital records in a town with the same surname, etc., and there is potential for massive clutter.

While "too many" sources is not a common occurrence at WeRelate, it sometimes occurs. I suspect some of what I have seen along these lines is a side-effect of uploading GEDCOM, where a person has been collecting all the information about a person that they can find, and then it all gets uploaded to WeRelate without any distillation.

But still, setting aside worries about clutter, I suspect listing every source is actually a useful feature. After all, it alerts readers to potentially missed sources, it may save work looking up non-useful sources, it may be educational to see where people found information about an individual, as well as to compare discrepancies side by side. And it is useful to have researchers add annotations when sources are applied to the wrong person, or have obvious errors, or discrepancies with other sources, etc. Plus, a source can be discredited, in which case one must retreat to the old sources, so there are reasons never to throw away a source.

I don't think it would be useful to simply have a list of titles and page numbers. The source listings that give no abstract or hint of how they pertain are very frustrating. Often they turn out to be a mention of the individual in a list, such as being taxed in such-and-such a year (matches by name are inherently questionable unless one is familiar with the area). Or they simply duplicate other sources. Or sometimes, they are really about an ancestor or descendant. Depending on one's knowledge of the individual in question, such information may not be worth driving to a library to look up, or ordering through PERSI, etc. On the other hand, it may be the clue that unlocks everything, perhaps showing they relocated to another town, etc. It would be my preference for people to at least abstract what a source said. I believe this can be done in every case without violating copyright law, since facts are not copyrightable.

But all this (listing all sources and adding abstracts) is asking for a lot more clutter, not less. I am not sure how to address this.

One approach that comes to mind because it is used by several websites, is to place the sources in a list on a separate page, and to have the Person page simply use footnotes. Perhaps clicking on a footnote number could pop up the indicated source with its abstract for quick reference. Footnotes for the birth date, for example, would presumably indicate only the minimum number of best sources necessary to establish the birth facts, rather than all the sources. But all sources would still be recorded on the source page, and a separate tab or menu item could let you go to the full source page, and scan or edit the list, with all its abstracts, and process all the information systematically if that is desired. --Jrich 11:40, 1 August 2009 (EDT)


I have always felt that the goal should be to add all sources to whatever possible extent. That means the good, the bad, the duplicates, and even the possibly fraudulent. We want to be in the position to write entries that comment on these issues and note where some sources are wrong, etc. It's also going to be a lot easier in the wiki-sense, where you could easily imagine different people bringing different sets of sources to their analysis of a particular person. If a person drops a poor or erroneous piece of information without comment, then subsequent researchers will not as easily be able to critique or learn from the decision to drop/discount a particular source.
If we started to routinely get in the situation of having gratuitously duplicated sources, Dallan could probably give us some way to organize the source set with less important published sources appearing later.
Another value in citing some gratuitously duplicated sources - a person's local library is certain to not contain all genealogical sources. A "duplicated" source may be their only available local source. --Jrm03063 16:15, 1 August 2009 (EDT)

Jrich might be referring to pages I contributed. Long before I uploaded my GEDCOM, I had established a format in my family tree file where the narrative of certain individuals (early colonial New Englanders) follows a particular format. See Person:Edmund_Rice_(1) as an example. You'll notice that in addition the the linked sources, I also have a section at the end of the narrative called "Additional Sources". This was done for a particular reason that made sense for another use (well, at least, I thought it did at the time). It does not make so much sense for WeRelate. And my "to-do" list includes going through each of these pages and "converting" the "Additional Sources" to their appropriate Source/Footnote. jillaine 08:07, 2 August 2009 (EDT)
FWIW, the particular page that motivated this question was Person:Thomas Pierce (24). Don't recall who was watching it. Over time, it had accumulated five or six references to NEHGR, giving only page numbers. It looked like one of the steps I do in my research for New Englanders, namely search for the name in the 150+ years of that magazine. So, as I said, a useful thing (more useful once I added abstracts). But there were over a dozen sources on this page, and since there were no abstracts for most, one couldn't tell if the sources represented repetitions of the same wrong information, or independent evidence confirming things were correct. (In this case the situation was complicated by some of the sources being wrong, but that is not the problem, expected with such a common name. Some of these and less important ones I moved to the talk page. There looked like there had been a previous problem with this page simply containing a dump of raw data.)
The question is, is there a way to catalogue all pertinent sources (there could easily be hundreds, maybe thousands, for some of the immigrant ancestors) without hiding the really important sources in a forest of passing mentions? Does that catalogue of every source need to be the main page, or can the exhaustive listing of sources be in a separate, associated namespace like, say, [[Person Sources:Thomas Pierce (24)]] so that the main page only shows footnotes to prove facts, or support the narrative? [Click on the footnote, a popup window extracts the source information from the source listing and displays the single source (or note?) connected with the footnote.]
The format of Person:Edmund_Rice_(1) is not bad. Partly because there aren't abstracts for the sources, even though there is a long list, it is not cluttered. But without abstracts, it is hard to guess how valuable any single source is. There are 10 Additional Source citations, and then 17 regular sources citations. If I want to be an expert on Edmund Rice, it is clear I need to do a lot of reading. But what I am just looking for the must-read source that is worth a trip to the library (in my case, an hour's drive)? The number of footnotes pointing back to each source might give an indication of which ones are comprehensive, and which ones simply mention Edmund in a list of inhabitants. --Jrich 10:31, 2 August 2009 (EDT)
Wouldn't this be a nice problem to have on more pages :-). Rather than put the sources on a separate page, it would probably be easier for me to hide all but the first line of each source citation if there are a lot of citations on a page, and add a "+" button that you could click on to see the full citation. Manually re-ordering sources could also be an option. Something to think about for the future.--Dallan 00:22, 8 August 2009 (EDT)

WC Topic - Large public-domain transcriptions [12 August 2009]

Would like to hear from the source people on this thread that I kicked off on the WC. I'm a big fan of big transcriptions, and I'm starting to be a little unsatisfied with my own practices. I've thought that creating such things as articles that would be referenced by appropriate source pages might work, but wanted to get feedback from the folks working sources so hard. Thanks! --Jrm03063 17:02, 12 August 2009 (EDT)

Source renaming project [19 August 2009]

We're going to kick off the automated source page renaming soon, and we'd like everyone's help to review the proposed renamings during the next week. Read more at WeRelate:Source renaming project--Dallan 14:03, 19 August 2009 (EDT)

Do you want discussion here or on WeRelate talk:Source renaming project? --Ajcrow 14:16, 19 August 2009 (EDT)
If it's related to the renaming project or the current source page title rules, which I assume it probably is, let's have the discussion at WeRelate talk:Source renaming project. Thanks!--Dallan 23:12, 19 August 2009 (EDT)

When pages point to Journal Titles as Sources [31 August 2009]

This issue comes up for me because I'm involved in the Source renaming project. And I also know that my own contributions (GEDCOMs) have this problem that I have to fix.

Here's the source page in question:

Source:New England ancestors : newsmagazine of the New England Historic Genealogical Society

And I'm sure there's an equivalent for the Register.

My understanding is that ideally pages cite the article within a journal. So first off, is that correct?

If so, and we come across pages like the above, is it also then wise to:

  1. See what links to it.
  2. Go to the page linking to it.
  3. Change the citation to the appropriate Article name within the Journal, if known?

In the example above, there is only one page that points to this "Source". And the citation is nicely done such that one can see the name of the appropriate article withing the journal.

When I'm working on cleaning up source pages for the auto-rename and see an example like this, I'm tempted to clean up the referring page -- in this case: Person:Giles_Slocum_(8).

Should I?

-- jillaine 10:02, 31 August 2009 (EDT)


While I havn't been active in this committee lately, I would say your insight is correct. The journal article is really the primary source, even if we have a source page for the journal but not the article. Amelia and I worked up some examples that are associated with the source page for NEHGR. In particular, the page for Person:Thomas Wells (14) provides an example of referencing a journal article without a source page, while still using the journal source. The other examples show citations where different source pages are active for both the article and journal in a single citation.--Jrm03063 10:37, 31 August 2009 (EDT)
You're exactly right. The periodical source page should be cited, but ideally, the article name should be there as well.--Amelia 12:00, 31 August 2009 (EDT)

Okay, I'm confused now.

SHould a page link to the periodical or to a specific article?

jillaine 12:37, 31 August 2009 (EDT)

If there is a page for the specific article, for some reason (when this is is discussed somewhere, but it's usually if someone starts a page because they have something to say about it), then both (in whatever order works for you - I use the article in the "record name" box and the periodical in the source field). Otherwise, put the article name (& author, if applicable) in the record name box, and the periodical link in the source field. You get a citation that says Article Name, in Periodical. See the links JRM gave for examples.--Amelia 12:44, 31 August 2009 (EDT)

Repositories Availability menu request [18 April 2011]

At present the choices on the Repositories availability window are limited to:

  • Free website
  • Paid website
  • Family history center
  • Other

I would like to see added as well:

  • Archives
  • Library
  • Museum
  • Society--Diltsgd 14:20, 10 February 2011 (EST)
How about just "Physical location" (or some similar term) for all of them? Or do we need "Physical location - public" and "Physical location - restricted" to cover places where you have to pay/be a member/go through hoops to get access? It seems like that would capture the important points for people.--Amelia 18:10, 12 February 2011 (EST)
This will be an easy change; I'll add whatever you all decide here.--Dallan 19:22, 12 February 2011 (EST)
I agree with Amelia's suggestion of Physical location. Some repositories are any number of combinations of archives/library/museum/society. For example, how you would categorize the Ohio Historical Society's Archives/Library? (Just from the name you'd have 3 possibilities and if you're familiar with the place, it could also be a museum!) Not sure about the "public" and "restricted" designations. The Ohio Genealogical Society's library, for example, is free to members and a small admission fee for non-members. Would that be public or restricted? -- Amy (Ajcrow) 20:17, 12 February 2011 (EST)
Well, I think I understand the intent of "Physical Location" to identify a Non-Virtual Archive, but I hate the phrase. Intuitively, it sounds like you read it off a marker on the side of a highway or a plaque at a National Battlefield, etc. Intuitively, I think you absolutely have to have Library as one of the choices. Like websites, usage of libraries has some expectation of being free, so it may be useful to distinguish between free libraries and fee libraries. I agree there is some overlap between the suggested terms in the original posting (if I use the archive of newspaper clipping stored in the library of a historical society, which do I call it?) Archive and collection are both generic words that I would use to describe something that might not seem like a library, like a museum or a file cabinet of newspaper clippings in a historical society. In this case, I think the important distinction is whether the collection or archive is institutional (maintained by an organization on a somewhat professional or expert basis) or personal (in somebody's home, maintained by an individual). Anybody that expects to go to a museum or society for free hasn't visited many, so I don't think free or fee is really a pertinent distinction for non-library repositories. But institutional archives might keep regular hours whereas arranging to visit a personal collection could present more challenges. --Jrich 22:18, 12 February 2011 (EST)
What about saying Archive/Library? Technically if a museum or society includes materials, it is the museum library, or the museum archives, isn't it? Also, Family history center should probably change to FamilySearch Center since FamilySearch has changed the umbrella term to that to cover all centers including the FHL. --Vasquezjl 13:40, 22 March 2011 (EDT)
Archive/Library works for me. Is anyone opposed to this term being added to the drop-down list of repository types on the Source page?
I'd still like to distinguish between "Family History Center", which includes films that can be sent to a FHC, and "Family History Library", which includes items that can only be viewed in Salt Lake City. Are there up-to-date terms that still allow me to distinguish between the two?--Dallan 15:01, 24 March 2011 (EDT)
I have no objections to the term archive/library. More definitions would be helpful for those using the site. I assume we can define the use of the records in the pages describing the repository.
I believe management would prefer the up to date term is FamilySearch Centers. Right on familysearch.org the tab to find the centers and the library is labeled FamilySearch Centers. For now the library in Salt Lake is still called Family History Library on the website, though my name tag and shirts say FamilySearch.--Hardestypn 23:45, 25 March 2011 (EDT)
Maybe you need an option for FamilySearch Center (for all things that can be ordered) and a separate one for SLC Family History Library? But how would that be clear so that people know that the library is only for those things that can't be ordered? (The LA "center" is also called a Family History Library, not sure why on that.) Vasquezjl 11:41, 29 March 2011 (EDT)
We currently have two separate options for FamilySearch: Family History Center (which includes only items that can be ordered at an FHC, and Family History Library, which includes items that must be viewed at the FHL. I'll change Family History Center to FamilySearch Center when I change the FHLC URLs to point to the new FHLC pages, probably sometime in April.--Dallan 23:08, 29 March 2011 (EDT)
Ahhh, that would be great. I missed that there were two options already. Vasquezjl 09:24, 30 March 2011 (EDT)

To help researcher and contributor alike I feel we still need to include the free or fee aspect of the dropdown labels for repositories selection. A wider selection of items on the dropdown to cover all the possible areas would help educate and guide us to better research. If a repository includes many types it may be best to use the free or fee site defination. But on others, such as the FHC and Family Search, seperate selection may be best. Could we update the Repository Namespace Pages to do this or would it be done with programing?Sandralpond 16:49, 26 March 2011 (EDT)

I'm not quite understanding what you mean by "If a repository includes many types it may be best to use the free or fee site definition." Because there are so many possibilities for any given repository to be free or fee (such as society libraries that are free to members, but fee for non-members), I think it would be best to include that type of information on the repository's page, rather than try to shoehorn that information into the dropdown on the Source page. -- Amy (Ajcrow) 11:30, 27 March 2011 (EDT)

Thanks Amy. I was looking to limit the selection but the choice of Archive/Library would be more useful and inclusive. We already have links back to the WeRelate Repository Page for the discription of the Repository' functions. Do we need to add to the Repository Page discription to include more info then what is there?Sandralpond 08:58, 28 March 2011 (EDT)

Repository pages already have a Text field. Admittedly, it isn't used extensively on some Repository pages. But because of the wide variety of admission policies, I'd prefer that we encourage that information to be entered in the Text field, rather than create a new field for it. -- Amy (Ajcrow) 11:02, 28 March 2011 (EDT)
It sounds like everyone's ok with Archive/Library as a new menu option. I'll add it later this week.--Dallan 23:08, 29 March 2011 (EDT)
It's a couple of weeks late, but Archive/Library is being added tonight, along with links to search google books and worldcat.--Dallan 18:54, 18 April 2011 (EDT)
In addition to the repository drop-down options, I believe we have a few different repository pages: Repository:FamilySearch Record Search, Repository:FamilySearch, Repository:Family History Center. Should the first two be merged and/or renamed? How do we then want to handle the links to them on source pages? --Jennifer (JBS66) 15:44, 30 March 2011 (EDT)

Okay, I love having to say I was wrong about the name of Family History Centers or FamilySearch Centers. Apparently, what I thought was a done deal hasn't been through the layers of management. So the Internet page heading says FamilySearch Centers, but each center seems to be going by Family History. The training material still says Family History for some of them. So the feeling I received is Family History Center is fine, so FHC is great. Sorry I jumped to quickly. Most of my unit was surprised.--Hardestypn 20:15, 30 March 2011 (EDT)

Sister-Site Template in FamilySearch Wiki [23 December 2011]

To increase linkage between FamilySearch Wiki and WeRelate, a template has been developed for use in FamilySearch Wiki to link to WeRelate pages. WeRelate is followed by a pipe, with an abbreviated page URL inside two {{}}

Example:{{WeRelate|Source:South_Carolina%2C_United_States._Compilation_of_// //the_Original_Lists_of_Protestant_Immigrants_to_South_Carolina%2C_1763-1773_%28199954%29}}

[split across two lines for readability, join and remove slashes, but see below also]

I believe Dallan has a template to link from WeRelate to FamilySearch Wiki pages in the works. Murphynw 11:43, 30 March 2011 (EDT)

I set up familysearch wiki as a sister-wiki. You can link to family search wiki by prefixing the links with fs, as in [[fs:Tennessee]]: fs:Tennessee. (I also removed the little lock-icon that used to follow https links.)

Nathan, do you mean an abbreviated page URL, or the WR title? From looking at the FamilySearch template, it appears to use this format: {{WeRelate|Source:South Carolina, United States. Compilation of the Original Lists of Protestant Immigrants to South Carolina, 1763-1773 (199954)}}

I also have a general question, how does renaming pages effect this? In your example, this page is in need of renaming and merging with duplicates. How do changes on WeRelate's end coincide with the FamilySearch wiki - especially since we tend to delete redirects when merging source pages (due to the source drop-down box)? --Jennifer (JBS66) 12:04, 30 March 2011 (EDT)

How about in the future let's not delete the redirects (I didn't realize we were doing this). I'll filter the drop-down list to exclude sources that are redirects next week. I'm thinking about doing this for places at some point in the future as well.--Dallan 23:31, 9 April 2011 (EDT)
I think we had the redirects appear in the drop-down when users wanted a choice between author first or title first. Personally speaking, when I delete source redirects, I leave the title first option, but delete all the other versions that appeare as clutter. --Jennifer (JBS66) 07:58, 10 April 2011 (EDT)
The issue is if we delete the redirects, then people linking to WeRelate from external websites will have their links break when we do a rename or a merge. I'd rather not have that happen if we can avoid it. Keeping the redirect pages avoids that.
Searching sources should be much better now than it used to be, so if people want to find a source and they're not sure whether the source starts with the author or title, they could search for it using the "Find/Add" link. Keeping redirects without their being included in the drop-down also has a benefit that when you're merging sources and both sources have incoming links, you can make one of the sources redirect to the other (so the links to that source don't break) without worrying about the redirect showing up in the drop-down list. This should also make source merging go a bit faster... What do you think? Can we keep redirects but remove them from the drop-down list?--Dallan 17:18, 11 April 2011 (EDT)
I vote to remove the redirects from the drop-down lists. --Jennifer (JBS66) 18:14, 11 April 2011 (EDT)
Thanks. Once they're removed from the drop-down lists it shouldn't be a problem to keep them around and not delete them. I'll remove them from the drop-down lists tomorrow or Wednesday.--Dallan 18:58, 11 April 2011 (EDT)
Some Help page probably needs to get updated to say not to delete them, too. Not listing redirected pages would seem to solve the problem of getting bad titling choices out of circulation. --Jrich 20:24, 11 April 2011 (EDT)

Citing South Carolina Death Records [12 April 2011]

I need to cite a death certificate image from the Family Search Record Search Database, "South Carolina Deaths, 1915-1943". WeRelate has the following source Source:South Carolina, United States. South Carolina Death Certificates, 1915-1944. The end date of the collection differs by one year. The FHL link on the WeRelate source page refers to the title "Death certificates (South Carolina), 1915-1955" and under notes refers one to the database that I wish to cite and an index. See the following on the FHL catalog page:

South Carolina death records of 1915-1943 are available online in Record Search, click here.

and

An index for South Carolina death records 1944-1955 is available online in Record Search, click here.

Has a consensus been reached on how to handle two databases on one catalog page? Ancestry.com also has South Carolina death certificate images and their database is "South Carolina Death Records, 1821-1955".

WeRelate definitely needs to make it easier for users to cite their sources. Whatever the decision if a user types in the database title; the first result should be the source page for that database. Presently it is simpler and quicker to just enter one's own source citation unless the issues resulting from the multiple databases and titles have been resolved. --Beth 10:23, 12 April 2011 (EDT)

We're slowly creating sources for each of the online collections at FamilySearch. We haven't gotten down to the S's yet. When we do, I'm not sure if we should create two new Source pages for each of the online sources or just refer to the existing Source page. I'll let others comment on that.
The problem is that FamilySearch doesn't have a problem with occasionally renaming their collections: adding new information or splitting a collection into two smaller collections. So keeping up with their changes will be an ongoing challenge. I've renamed the Source:South Carolina, United States. South Carolina Death Certificates, 1915-1944 to Source:South Carolina, United States. South Carolina Death Certificates, 1915-1955 to reflect their updated year-range for the microfilm. You're welcome to reference it or create your own MySource (which will become out of date as FamilySearch adds year-ranges to and/or splits their collections); your choice.--Dallan 15:11, 12 April 2011 (EDT)
Thanks Dallan for renaming the page and thank you for creating source pages for the family search online collections. That should simplify the source selection process for users.--Beth 16:36, 12 April 2011 (EDT)

Source merge [29 December 2011]

Is this the right place to discuss source merging? Source:Gendrot, Almira Torrey Blake Fenno. Ancestry and Allied Families of Nathan Blake 3rd and Susan (Torrey) Blake and Source:Gendrot, Almira Torrey Blake Fenno. Ancestry and Allied Families of Nathan Blake 3rd and Susan (Torrey) Blake, Early Residents of East Corinth, appear to be the same source, with one being a reprint or the like. Thanks. Colby Farrington 09:54, 23 December 2011 (EST)

Sometimes "reprints" contain additional information. Often that's simply an introduction, or a new index, or the like. Sometimes this is done simply so the publishing company can claim a copyright for their version of the work. If I'm working with the original work (in this case published in 1916) I cite the original. If I'm working with the "reprint", especially if a copyright is being claimed, I cite the reprint. In practice, I'm not much interested in the reprinted version, as it usually contains no substantive new information. Nonetheless, its useful to be able to distinguish between different versions of the same work. Sometimes there are really substantive additions in later works, but still going by the original title and author. Sometimes its hard to tell the difference between the original and the reprint except by looking at the two works side by side. Q 10:47, 23 December 2011 (EST)
Two recent postings on the Support page have addressed reprints. For what it is worth, I am pulling statements (one concerning reprints of books, the other reprints of articles) from those responses which seemed relevant, and quoting them here.
You're right on the approach to reprints - they do not get their own page. The publication information should be that of the original, and reprint information can be added free form to the text field.
I think the least confusing thing is to have one source titled Author.Title and explain what's what on that page. First, any discussion about the article and its merits or lack thereof needs to be combined, and that's (at least in my opinion) the best reason to have a source page in the first place. Second, the content is the same in each, so someone looking for a copy doesn't want to look at four source pages to figure out where to find a copy. The citation may not be academically perfect, but I think that's the least of the evils.
My personal opinion differs somewhat, but as it is probably inconsistent with current practices anyway, I am not particularly interested in pursuing it. I am interested in getting a clear guideline and consistent application of it so wanted to get the discussion all in one place. --Jrich 13:33, 23 December 2011 (EST)

As it concerns the particular sources cited, this is not a reprint issue. Both are source pages for the original 1916 work. It's just that the FHL catalog entry uses the FILM information rather than the information for the book, and the use of commas foiled the automatic merge process several years ago. They should be merged so the FHC, Ancestry, and BYU repositories are listed on one page. The correct title is the first one. Also, this isn't really the best place to ask about source merges because it's so old and not watched by many current users/admins, although I'm not sure what is - probably Support. As a general rule, you can go ahead and merge without discussion.

With regards to reprints, that rule has been discussed previously and settled: reprints under the same title do not get their own pages, mainly for the very reasons Q discusses - one page is most useful for identifying the various versions and their idiosyncracies, as well as their locations. I thought this was explained in all the various places where one might look, but please point out if there are other places it should be explained.--Amelia 15:25, 23 December 2011 (EST)

It seemed to me that if anything, Q was arguing for multiple pages: "If I'm working with the 'reprint', especially if a copyright is being claimed, I cite the reprint." You can't "cite the reprint" if there is only one page for both. "Nonetheless, its useful to be able to distinguish between different versions of the same work." Which seems to be saying there is usefulness to having multiple pages. Which is why I brought forward the other statements presenting the different viewpoint.
It is possible that repeated questions (3 in the last month on reprints) might hint that the "settled" practice isn't as intuitive as it could be. For example, intuitive might mean only expecting people to know what's on the title page in front of them when they are entering a source, and not to have to be aware of the entire printing history of a source and all the differences, or lack of differences, between reprints, etc. --Jrich 16:43, 23 December 2011 (EST)
I didn't mean that it was easy or intuitive, I meant that it has been settled. I did not intend to imply that Q was arguing for one page, I was pointing out that the difficulties that he illuminates of having multiple reprints are actually a reason to have one central page on which to discuss them. But my main point is that if this is for some reason the one issue people can't find a good answer to in the help, then we should figure out where they're looking and explain it better (because, seriously, don't we agree that we don't want to debate this again??).--Amelia 23:23, 23 December 2011 (EST)

I don't remember debating Reprints before, but regardless, I am happy to continue debating when I think things can be improved. I am a big fan of WeRelate, but that doesn't mean I don't think there have been some decisions that could have been made differently and better, and which I still would like to see corrected in some cases. So debating things more seems only natural. And reprints is not the one issue people can't find answers for, there are several of them, and that could be another thing we could debate as well. And this whole idea of "settled" is a little confusing to me because I don't remember any kind of poll, or election, nor can I tell exactly what committee it was that settled it, nor can I see a stamp on those Help pages that indicate which policies and guidelines are "settled". Maybe if the idea of settled was a little more visible, or tangible, that word would mean something to me. Besides, normally improvement is an iterative process, so does settled means it can't be tweaked or improved?

I am fairly lax on the structure of a citation, if it is effective. I am not arguing for academically correct citations. But this reprint thing is potentially creating inaccurate citations, besides as I mentioned making things harder because people only know the one reprint they used, and not how it compares to any others. So they get confused. Being conscientious, they want to know how to cite a reprint so their citation will reflects where they actually found the information, and they don't know how to do that because the citation that appears on the saved page isn't the source they used, or describes a magazine when they are using a pamphlet, etc. (I agree we don't want four different reprints cited on the page, but this is actually a different issue. I find the Torrey's Marriages style of citation inconsiderate, where one cites every source where a couple's name is mentioned even if the new citation adds no new information that wasn't covered by previous citations. This is fine in one's research log, inappropriate on a page summarizing the latest state of knowledge on a person for others to read.)

There is the question of what is a reprint and what is a different edition. For example, Source:Bond, Henry. Family Memorials. Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, Including Waltham and Weston (1855) and Source:Bond, Henry. Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, including Waltham and Weston (1860). The 1860 edition is called a second edition on the title page, but in actuality appears to be a reprint, even having title pages for volume 1 and volume 2, and keeping the same information on the same page numbers. Only some memorial articles about Dr. Bond appear to have been added as a preface. The criteria to decide whether something is reprint or edition cannot be 'is it the same' as who is going to have both copies and have the time to compare all 1000 pages? Assuming one has access to both versions. And if it is different, it seems like there is a need for the citation to distinguish which one is used (as is done for editions already) so that, since the information may not be in both, readers are directed to the correct one.

Even in the case of some faithful reprints, in the case of magazines in particular, the citations will often be wrong because an Article type of source page will pull in the name of the magazine, but the page number the poster adds might come from the reprint and be "4" or "13" which will make no sense. The problem may not become apparent until somebody goes to the library to hunt down the article and starts thumbing through bound copies of the magazine and can't find page "4". (Actually Article type of Source pages could use some debating too, but that is another issue.)

When I search for Help:reprints, I find [[Help:Source page titles] and "Note that if two 'sources' have the same title because one is a reprint or digitized version of the other, both should be documented on a single source page." This could be expanded. It could include a definition of a reprint (faithful copy, published same year, same page numbers, same format, says "reprint" on the title page, other criteria) An example of how to add a reprint to an existing source page might be useful. Not sure this is the page people would go to when their problem is "the citation I get seems to describe a different version of the source than I used". Maybe a discussion could be added to a FAQ page, or maybe since reprints have come up three times, Help:Reprints in the search could take one to a dedicated page that discusses the handling of reprints, the way Help:Guidelines for use of Wikipedia discusses wikipedia. --Jrich 10:53, 24 December 2011 (EST)

I won't pretend to be fully up on the particulars of the source merge discussion, but I think the key issue is whether or not a follow-on researcher would be helped by knowing which edition/print/version was used by the original researcher. I think the argument behind the merge is that - for most purposes - that knowledge isn't helpful and contributes needless confusion (particularly for the typical part-time researcher). Unless a researcher is actually aware of a relevant content difference between variants of a publication - and that difference is relevant to the material being cited - I would prefer use of a general source. Otherwise, explicit discussion on the person page - say in the form of a note added to the citation - seems called for. --jrm03063 11:25, 24 December 2011 (EST)
What are the limits of variation between "variants of a publication" that should fall under the umbrella of a general source page? If a reprint has different page numbering, or incorporated late corrections found after the original was published (so some different data, and possibly moving even the identical data to a different page), the citation is likely to be confusing to a person trying to track down the actual source, which verification is one of the reasons sources are cited in the first place? Most single researchers are not likely to have bothered to look up original and reprint both, so probably unable to note content differences, so this would require some follow-on researcher to add a note saying "p. 138:15 (reprint p. 3)", or "the reprint corrected the year from 1683 to 1688", etc., if they don't assume it was a typo by the original poster. --Jrich 12:16, 24 December 2011 (EST)
I think the point is that knowledge of a specific variant is more often a source of confusion than a source of clarification. There is no debate that it will sometimes matter - but is that often enough to justify more elaborate practice in the general case? WR quality research isn't publication quality. Taking work to the next level is going to require reviewing the actual citations anyway. A general source page actually provides an opportunity to describe if different editions differ in significant ways or not. --jrm03063 16:27, 24 December 2011 (EST)
All a researcher in a library may have knowledge of is a specific variant. They may not know there are other variants, they may not know whether they are the same or not. All they see is that the citation does not seem appropriate for the source they are using. Perhaps the same information is found on the same page of the variant described by the general source page, perhaps not. They don't know and probably don't have the tools to find out. So more confusion is actually engendered by having a citation generated that doesn't match. If there were source pages for distinct variants, the source pages for that variant may, if anybody happens to know, be enhanced with comments such as "faithful reprint of NEHGR article, differing only in page numbering" which would tell subsequent researchers, you don't have to get this exact variant, you can also use the NEHGR article, but the page number references will be off. --Jrich 17:05, 24 December 2011 (EST)

I was wondering if the structure used by WeRelate:Suggestions may have some potential here. For example, there could be a central page

Source:Bond, Henry. Family Memorials. Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, Including Waltham and Weston

where all the central notes are kept, and then has a list of all the revisions and editions, as in

Source:Bond, Henry. Family Memorials. Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, Including Waltham and Weston/1st ed. (1855)
Source:Bond, Henry. Family Memorials. Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, Including Waltham and Weston/2nd ed. (1860)

with each such subordinated page giving notes that pertain just to that edition, such as "Identical to first edition except for memorial dedicated to Dr. Bond included in preface".

Another example, might be

Source:Stearns, Ezra S. Fitch Genealogy

and some possible subordinate pages

Source:Stearns, Ezra S. Fitch Genealogy/NEHGR Article (1901)
Source:Stearns, Ezra S. Fitch Genealogy/Reprint (1902)
Source:Stearns, Ezra S. Fitch Genealogy/FHL filming (1988)

Implied is the idea that all variants, whether reprints, or editions, would be handled this way. That way a user could find and cite the source they are using without worrying whether they are inadvertently creating a misleading citation. But at the same time there is a centralized page where the bulk of discussion about the source probably wants to be. No software changes would be needed, it could be allowed to percolate into practice as people are willing to tackle individual cases, since it would coexist with past practices. The drop down list in the source citation would still work, though someday it might be nice to group all the variants of one work into a nested menu. For example, you start typing a source title of "Bond, Henry" and you see:

Source:Bond, Henry. Autobiographical Reminiscences of Rev. Alvan Bond, D.D., 1793-1882
Source:Bond, Henry. Bowman
Source:Bond, Henry. Family Memorials. Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, Including Waltham and Weston >>>

When you click the right arrow (>>>), the nested menu would be:

1st ed. (1855)
2nd ed. (1860).

Just a thought. --Jrich 16:54, 24 December 2011 (EST)


I believe JRM is correct in saying that distinguishing between reprints, different editions of the same work, etc. is not usually that important. In some cases it may be. In those cases what I do is to identify the various editions, reprints, etc. in the text area of the source page, and create a separate source page redirect that serves only to link to the main source page. Different editions, reprints, etc get their own year of publication. If there are ore than one version in any given year, they'd get a added "a", "b", etc. to distinguish them. Then when a particular version needs to be cited, the source title specific to that version can be cited, but a link using that title simply takes you back to the original source. There the user can see the various versions available. Q 17:43, 24 December 2011 (EST)

The flip side of "not usually that important" is that sometimes it is important. Could it be handled as JRM suggests, using notes? Yes. But going back to one of the original support postings, if a user is citing a reprint of a magazine article covering several generations of a given original immigrant, in which pages are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 instead of the magazine's volume and page number, and the reprint may or may not have corrections incorporated, does the user have to add a note on all 30 people he may want to cite that reprint for, to make it clear he is not citing the magazine article described by the source page? In that case, every single citation will be wrong unless a note is added explaining the difference in page numbering, page "4" not making sense in a multi-volume magazine.
I am having trouble understanding the point being made in the previous posting. The opening sentence seems like it is saying use notes to identify reprints when they are important (of course that implies that the researcher knows when it is important - which is probably not the case since having the reprint in hand, how many also track down the original?) But, then the post goes on to say sometimes it seems important to actually create a source page redirect (inline citation?). Which would seem to suggest there is a desire to be able to sometimes create citations that distinguish between a reprint and the original. Which, seems to be say, overall, something more than just notes are needed to fully handle reprints. --Jrich 12:59, 25 December 2011 (EST)
The decision to favor a model that unifies most versions of a source is not based on absolute criteria. Of course different versions sometimes matter - but mostly they don't. Carrying around those differences in all cases was judged to be more burdensome than treating the cases (where versions do matter) specially - even allowing that sometimes a difference that matters might be overlooked on the first few go rounds. I don't think adding a note, to indicate that a particular version of a source is needed is a burdensome approach. Indeed - it accentuates a difference that a follow-on researcher needs to be aware of - and which he is not apt to notice in an absolute environment where source editions matter. I conclude by noting that I am handicapped in this discussion by not being an advocate of either position in the original discussion, though I concur with the results. Perhaps someone else can explain the reasoning more effectively. --jrm03063 13:43, 25 December 2011 (EST)
I was going to promise to wade back in after the holidays, but instead I'm going to just say I think JRM has it just right. It usually doesn't matter, and the exception isn't worth changing the rule. If we go down the road of trying to distinguish between reprints, we're going to have to worry about which of the at least two dozen reprints of Savage and similar high profile books someone looked at. That strikes me as a completely useless result that would come at tremendous effort in the service of a tiny handful of sources where it might matter. I do like the suggestion of a help page, though - the discussions are really scattered on these kind of topics.
And for those reading this later getting completely confused, I think it would be useful to make the following points about the status quo that get somewhat muddled above:
  1. The "reprint" rule is intended to be that identical materials share a page. "Reprint" is usually intended to mean just that, a re-print of the same materials. That's different than a different "edition", it which refers to a later version of a source that isn't the same by way of new material, etc. Distinguishing between the two isn't always easy, but in theory substantively different editions get a different page.
  2. The original query was about a filming of the original, which should also share a page with the original because it has no substantive differences.
  3. Reprinted articles have never been discussed to my knowledge except in that one answer on the Support page - they present somewhat different editorial issues that haven't been hashed out other than that one opinion.--Amelia 23:44, 25 December 2011 (EST)
I guess I disagree. If documenting two dozen reprints of a few high profile books is the price for getting accurate citations, it seems well worth it. Because it is apparent that "reprints" and "identical materials" are not synonymous in practice. Personally, I don't see much distinction between reprints and editions, either, given that some nominal reprints contain different material and some nominal editions do not. The oldest of the recent reprint queries on the support page was about how to handle reprints of a magazine article, made by me, because to me that is a case where it is likely (half the time?) to create inaccurate, perhaps misleading, citations, and so to me that is where "treating the cases (where versions do matter) specially" seems called for (to use JRM's words). Terms like "substantively different" don't necessarily mean the same thing to everybody. To me, creating an inaccurate citations amounts to substantively different, so I believe, at a minimum, factors like different page numbering, or corrections incorporated into the content, if known about, should be sufficient to justify a new page. And since in most cases, I simply can't say if it is different or not, I would prefer to only worry about saying what I do know, which is limited to what one particular reprint, the one sitting in front of me, says. Personally, I really don't see why documenting that there are 20 or 100 distinctly identifiable reprints of Savage is such a bad thing as long as they can be organized somehow. Actually, I think having the full list presented to users will be somewhat self-explanatory and potentially less confusing than the current system where the citation might show up with the wrong year of publication, article instead of book, etc. --Jrich 11:16, 26 December 2011 (EST)
I like Jrich's suggestion of sub-pages for reprints. It seems like this would allow people who really want to have citations specific to a reprint to get them, and it clearly associates the reprints with the original work. We could display a message when editing a source sub-page, encouraging people to put only citation fields on the sub-page, and to keep the textual discussion on the main page.--Dallan 13:15, 28 December 2011 (EST)
I think it's bad practice for the site to change direction on a decided issue, when no new information has been put forward. All that Jrich is saying, is that he's unhappy with the decision, and that he is more persuaded by some of the counter arguments that were part of the discussion at the time of the original decision. There's nothing new here. Differences in page numbering and substantial content WERE reasons to have different source pages. Simplifying the normal source set in favor of a more convenient collection for amateur researchers - rather than the most academically stringent set - was the conscious choice that was made.
I really think Jrich has a burden to meet in offering a handful of concrete examples where:
  • There are different versions of a source that we would - never the less - want to merge
  • The versions are different in ways that are important
With such examples in hand, we can evaluate whether the concern is warranted and whether or not the approach proposed is appropriate. We shouldn't waste time solving problems that have yet to arise in practice. --jrm03063 18:02, 28 December 2011 (EST)

"Differences in page numbering and substantial content WERE reasons to have different source pages." Where is this rule stated? Amelia did say "substantively different editions get a different page", but I don't recall substantively different being defined, which may be part of the problem. And this discussion is about reprints. And there is an explicit statement about reprints that seems to rule out such leeway for reprints: "if two 'sources' have the same title because one is a reprint or digitized version of the other, both should be documented on a single source page."
As I alluded to in the discussion, there was a case that started this discussion, so it has happened, and that example can be seen on WeRelate talk:Support, currently topic 13, called "Reprints". So there is one example. The existing source page describes an article in a magazine, and the source being used by a user was a standalone reprint. You will see a response by Amelia supporting the quoted policy, namely that one page should be used for both. This will generate a citation that describes the article in a magazine, but the user is going to be referencing page numbers 1-16, instead of 47:316-332 as expected for the magazine. It turns out in this case, that pagination was preserved and there is no apparent change in content, so only page numbers are different. I can overwhelm you with examples of this type, where an article's reprint uses different page numbering.
In one of the examples I gave when proposing the subpage formatting (which probably is a way of organization that was never discussed before in connection with this issue, so at least one thing new was offered), there was an example of a reprint of the Fitch Genealogy, i.e., another example. This reprint may be found on Internet Archive, the original being NEHGR vol. 55. As above, page numbering of the reprint differs from the original article, but additionally in this case, pagination is not preserved. Did content change? Well, since pagination changes, it is nearly impossible to tell quickly. Assuming I recognized it as a reprint (there is nothing that says so or tells what it is a reprint of), and if I had access to the proper issues of NEHGR to compare it to, and if I cared to check 23 pages of dense genealogical data to see if one or two or twenty details changed, maybe I could tell if the content changed.
The only justification I have seen for the current policy is to keep discussion centralized. I believe I have proposed an organization that would make this possible. Though I believe that could have been accomplished by putting a simple template on pages describing reprints, much easier than understanding a system that seems counter to normal genealogical practices of accurately documenting one's sources.
If there is no change in direction, at a minimum, then people that support and/or understand the current direction may want to make a major addition to the Help system to make the current approach understandable. To start with, defining reprint and edition as used by WeRelate, and what "substantively different" means so it is known when different source pages are indicated, and when not. And giving examples of how to handle the sticky situations, like, say, the above examples. And it might help to include the justification for the "settled" practice so people that missed the earlier discussion can try to understand why sources are important but nobody seems to care if the citation is wrong. Or why they have to annotate their source citations on 30 different pages because they Source system isn't allowed to distinguish between an article in a magazine and its reprint.
I am not familiar with all the reprints of Savage. I would not be surprised to find that at least one incorporates the corrections that were later published in an NEHGR article, similar to a transcription that may be found on one particular website. First hand, I have been confused by such a corrected transcription on WeRelate that seemed to be identified as regular Savage because I was staring at the indicated page and what it was alleged to have said wasn't what I saw. Just to suggest that this issue isn't solely about magazine articles. --Jrich 21:06, 28 December 2011 (EST)

[This is response to JRM's post]

Agreed. There are already different rules for identical and non-identical materials, and while I understand in theory it can be difficult to tell them apart, we need concrete examples of places where there is actually a usability problem sufficient to turn those exceptions into the rule.
I would also like to make a point that crystalized for me based on the language Dallan used. I don't think it should be a goal of WeRelate to support the desires of people who want pages to reflect their own research. That's contrary to the entire point of this collaborative project - pages do not belong to one person and they do not express one person's research. Rather, listed sources only need to be as specific as necessary to encompass the cited information. Collaborators can and should find each source and look at it, but it simply doesn't matter to the collaborative page whether each individual looks at this reprint or that one or the original. Even if the pagination is different, that's merely a logistical annoyance that can be dealt with communally on the source or citation page -- if the content is the same, all of the source analysis can be based on the same text, and that's what matters.--Amelia 19:50, 28 December 2011 (EST)
There were examples before, and I have elaborated on them above, along with the lack of detail about what constitutes identical and non-identical, as well as asking the practical question of how is a person who only has one piece supposed to evaluate identical and non-identical.
It is not about reflecting one person's research, so much as being all that a researcher can honestly document, when there is a need to add a citation. I can't say all reprints/editions say the same thing, I can only honestly say what the one I saw said. Not until combined with another researcher who saw the other reprint/edition can it be determined that there are differences. And they won't be able to figure out the problem if I don't accurately document which reprint/edition I used. They'll think it was a mistake because they think they're looking at the cited source and it clearly doesn't say that. And "logistic annoyance" are the words of a person who has never driven out of their way to a library and not been able to locate a passage because of a sloppy citation. Further, outside of worrying about keeping discussion of a source in one place, what is the magnificent benefit that accrues from not allowing more precise citations of reprints? --Jrich 21:30, 28 December 2011 (EST)
More Examples
  • reprint "with large additions"
  • reprint "with corrections and considerable additions"
  • reprint "now corrected and enlarged"
--Jrich 00:30, 29 December 2011 (EST)

I call upon the contributors who actively participated in the original discussion of this matter to pick this up. My biggest concern here is that we do not revisit decisions simply because someone disagrees, however passionately, but because there has been a reasonable lapse of time (hence, real experience with the practice), or genuinely new information - that justifies re-examining the original decision. So far, I'm not seeing that - but I was an observer only of the original discussion, and am going on the basis of imperfect memory. While I support the approach, I don't think I'm a particularly good advocate - and therefore withdraw from this discussion. --jrm03063 10:43, 29 December 2011 (EST)