What to include
As with person and family pages, I wonder if source and mysource portals couldn't be combined?
Draft text for intro section [6 February 2009]
Some sources are so specific to a particular family that they do not belong in the general collection of Sources. Such sources might include:
When considering whether the source you are using should be stored in SOURCE or MYSOURCE, ask yourself if this source is likely to be used outside of your family. If not, place it in MySource. If it's likely to be useful to the broader genealogy community-- such as the last will and testament of Governor Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony-- then it should be stored in SOURCES.
Note: When you upload a GEDCOM, all of your sources are converted to MYSOURCES, whether or not they meet the above criteria. You can change them to SOURCES, but currently this must be done for each and every mention of said source in your family tree pages.
jillaine 09:30, 6 February 2009 (EST)
How would people help out in MySource? [5 March 2009]
Re: "Help Out" box/section: What would people do to "help out" around "MySource". The only obvious answer that comes to me is that they would work on converting their own "MySources" to "Sources" where appropriate. But what else could they do to "help out" in the MySource space? jillaine 13:46, 12 February 2009 (EST)
This Helping Out box is a carried over from the cut-and-paste template when I created the page. I wanted to keep the box there as a placeholder, but I should have filled it with placeholder text. But, I like your idea about encouraging people to convert their MySources to Sources!--Jennifer (JBS66) 13:57, 12 February 2009 (EST)
Definition of MySource [17 March 2009]
There's a bit of an issue here with the definition used for "MySource". The original concept was intended to capture things like "GedCom", and personal WebPages that clutter up the typical GedCom dump to this site (assuming they even pay lip service to "Sources". Originally Dallan did not want to fill the Source namespace with that type of thing. A good idea, because these types of sources are of minimal use in genealogy. They may be where most folks get their information, but they don't serve the fundamental need of a source since the user can not be confident that if they are revisited a) they will show the same information, or b) still exist.
At some point this migrated to the idea that they included "things of use to only a few people"---like bible records and the like. Personally, I liked the original concept better. A bible record, for example, is a perfectly good source, even if its really focused on a single family. (Documentation necessary to meet BCG standards may be a bit difficulty to get, but its still a good source. Consigning it to "MySource" seems to imply second class citizenship.
More to the point, if the definition is to be "Things of use to only a few people", what do you do with the original GedComs assigned to MySpace? They usually are not limited to a relatively few families, but often have broad based utility. (Personally, I'd toss them, but I'm sure that's a minority view; and also not very fair to the sincere intent of the user's who make use of these sources. For them that IS their documentation. The fact that its useless for BCG purposes is not especially germane for them.) So, are these things still part of MySource? And why is it that a perfectly good source like a will or bible record should be confined to "MySource"?
It sounds like you are proposing that we return to the original intent for MySource -- if indeed that's what it was; I'd like to read the discussion; could you point us to it?
I generally support your preference.
Unfortunately, I fear there is an even bigger problem in that a number of people who do include good source info -- myself included -- do so in a different way than WeRelate policy supports.
By example: my use of census sources is done at the state level and I place the more specific info in the citation. WeRelate source policy doesn't support such use -- census Source titles go to the county level-- so I can't even redirect my otherwise decent census MySources to a proper Source page without significant investment of time that I'd rather use elsewise.
This creates yet another unintentional purpose for MySource, which is a cachement for otherwise decent source info that does not meet MyRelate Source criteria.
-- jillaine 08:25, 6 March 2009 (EST)
Long-term, I hope that we can recommend Sources based upon the content of people's pages - for example, if someone is looking at a Person page for someone born in Minnesota 1910, and they don't have a source listed for the birthdate, that the system would recommend that they look up the birth record in Source:MHS Birth Certificate Index :: Search (I know, this needs to be renamed). Sources that are broadly-applicable would work well for this sort of recommender system; single-family sources not as well. I worry that if everyone created Source pages for their individual family bibles, these narrow sources would clutter up the Source database too much.
Another thing I'd like to try someday is the Amazon-like "people who bought this book also bought..." applied to genealogy as "people who had people that look like your person (died in the same place and time period as your person for example) referred to these sources..." In order to do this, we need to make it easy for people to match their GEDCOM sources to community Source pages. The sources would need to be something that others could look up; personal sources or GEDCOM files wouldn't work very well.
I think these source-recommender features could be huge helps to beginning genealogists. I'd like to see the Source database grow into something that supports them.--Dallan 00:47, 7 March 2009 (EST)
No, I'm not making a suggesting to return to something else. But I'd like to see some consistency in meaning, and I think part of the problem here is that the meaning of "Source" and "MySource" has NOT been well defined in the past, and MySource is not well defined even now. Part of the original discussion was "Is a source...."
Early on both definitions were being applied to "Source". Now its clear that it is the first definition that applies---a source is where you went to find a particular bit of information, not the actual document. I believe you have the same problem now with the definition of "MySource"
You have MySources that are
From a theoretical perspective I'd expect the definition of "MySource" would parallel that of "Source". That is "MySources" would be references to the source actually being used, but distinguished from a "Source" by some criteria. That's not the approach suggested here. It seems the definition here is that it is the actual document, not a reference to it. That is its for highly localized documents: Wills, Obituary, Letters, Bible records. etc. Not references to them, but images or transcriptions of the actual documents.
I think that there's a need here to set things up in such away as to make everything as intuitively obvious as possible. In this case, intuitively obvious means "Its so obvious that no one has to think about the difference". The reason that's important is that it leads to fewer mis-uses and abuses. If its intuitively obvious people just naturally fall into how something should be handled.
Currently, the distinction between "Source" and "MySource" is NOT intuitively obvious. That's why there are so many competing and conflicting uses of MySpace. Some of that is ancient history, articles added prior to the definition being solidified, but its also an ongoing issue.
Its not good to point to a problem without being willing to contribute to a solution (assuming anyone else sees that there is a problem to be solved). So I'll give one possible solution for this.
First, I think the original concept of MySource as a repository for what might be described as "less hard" sources such as GedCom's, personal websites, and even personal "Genealogy Reports, is a very useful approach. These ARE "sources", but they are distinct from things that are listed as "Sources" in that they do not meet the fundamental purpose of a source---:the ability to go back to it more or less indefinitely, and "see the same as I". That's why sources are important---you cite them not because you're supposed to, but because you HAVE to be able to show where your information came from, so others can confirm (the technical term is "verification") what you say is there. You can verify something thats said to come from a particular source by examining that source and seeing for yourself. But you can't do that with things like GedCom's, and personal websites---they are ephemeral. No guarantee that ANYONE can go there tomorrow and "See the same as I".
Second, Items like letters, Bible records, will transcripts, and the like are neither "Source" nor "MySource". They are not "Source" because they are actual documents, not references to them. They are not MySource (by my usage) since they can in theory be indpendently examined, assuming they've made their way into a repository. The problem is that they may not have made their way into a repository. Unless preserved they are "ephemeral", and lost. So the need is to create a space for preserving them. That's probably why MySource was defined the way it is now. But I don't think that's a good choice here because it lacks the parallelism with Source. The way its here defined makes it fundamentally a different kind of space, not at all parallel (hence not obvious) to Source.
So, where do you put things like this. There's an obvious need to be met. Where I think they belong is in fact already in place, and was suggested in one of the early comments made on this page---the digital library. I realize Dallan's idea for that is somewhere that organizations can use to store documents---but it also serves a real need for the the WeRelate community in general. Someplace to store that critical will, without cluttering up an article. You can then use a link to point to the item in the Digital Library. That link could either go into the narrative of an article (which is what I do routinely), or into the appropriate text box when the page is opened for editing. Doing it this way makes the item readily available for citation in ANY article where its needed. At the same time it takes it out of "Source" namespace where it definitely does not meet the definition of the space, as well as out of MySource, where the current definition leads to some confusion.
The above is "a" solution, though not necessarily the only or even the best solution. Dallan has different objectives to be met than I do, and the current approach may meet those needs better. If the current definition is to be kept, then there's a need to clarify what is and is not "MySource". There's also a need to scrub MySource for usages not consistent with the current definition, and find appropriate homes for the scrubbed items. Then theres a need to provide some coherent guidance in a readily accessible location, where people can find out how these two namespaces are supposed to be used.
Ultimately, there's a critical need to encourage people on WeRelate to source their information. There's a need to get them to cite verifiable sources (e.g., original, primary sources) rather than ephemeral sources. Having a good, coherent, clear definition of Source and MySource is part of making that happen.
Q 09:59, 7 March 2009 (EST)
Thank-you for writing your thoughts on this subject.
I think we can agree on Sources - things like books, microfilms, and certain websites. That's not a problem. The issue is what to do with everything that people want to use as sources that don't fall under our definition of Source. We could, and maybe even should, categorize the remaining things into multiple categories - things that belong as MySources, things that would go into the digital library, and maybe other categories beyond these two. But I think of MySource as a single "everything else" category - containing everything that people use as sources that don't fit the definition of Source pages. This keeps things simple for people because they only have to make one decision: is it a Source or not? MySources end up being messy, but they're likely to be messy anyway because of what comes in via GEDCOM upload.
Up until right now I have tried to describe MySources using some kind of definition as to what they are, instead of what they are not: anything that does not qualify as a Source. Defining it this way though certainly simplifies things.
Using MySource as a catchall seems reasonable enough. Just getting folks to cite sources at all would be a major accomplishment---whether they use the concepts correctly or not. However, I'm a tidy sort, that likes concepts squared away. Perhaps the underlying (unspoken?) definition of "Source" is that it is a formal published document or formal government record. It is not, for example, GedCom's, or personal WebSite's, or Family Bible's, or private, unpublished letters. (Personally, I think those latter two items ARE sources, but they are difficult to work with because of the availability question. That, however, is resolved if they go into the digital library.) What ever the definition is, I think it needs to be made clear. And doing that as an element of the namespace Portal is a good place to do it. At least once you've found the Portals you don't have to go around searching for an elusive explanation about what they are specifically about. The guidance given in the portal needs to be comprehensive and clear. Ideally, you should be able to read it, and know exactly what belongs here and what does not. Perhaps specific examples of what is "MySource", and what is not would help.
As it happens the email in my inbox just before the notification of your comment, included the following statement
Round and round we go. Who is right and who is wrong, or are either of them correct? ... Everyone seems to suggest a different line, but never seem to want to provide their sources
And that, ultimately, is the problem with genealogy as it is commonly done. People place so much effort into their research, figuring out the answers, then completely ignore the need to explain how they reached their conclusions, or cite their sources. Its as if they are saying "I figured this out. I'm right of course, and just take my word for it." When I finally looked closely at what WeRelate was doing, what I found exciting was the the emphasis on sourcing, and the opportunity to give detailed explanations as to how conclusions were reached. That's how you resolve problems my correspondent was speaking to. Q 19:23, 7 March 2009 (EST)
I like the examples idea. I'll add some.
Everyone - please feel free to edit the examples and the one-sentence definitions.--Dallan 13:38, 17 March 2009 (EDT)
Redirect code [7 March 2009]
I think the redirect code listed on the page as: [[#REDIRECT title of Source page]] should be #redirect[[title of Source page]]. - Parsa 22:35, 7 March 2009 (EST)
You are exactly right! Thanks for catching that. I made the necessary edits to the Portal page.--Jennifer (JBS66) 23:40, 7 March 2009 (EST)
Convert Source to MySource? [15 September 2012]
Is it possible to convert a Source to a MySource? I created Source:Charles Negus Carrol. Images of Small Diary of Charles Negus Carroll Mimeograph and today I realized that it should be a MySource. Please advise. Thank you! --Jcarroll 23:37, 12 September 2012 (EDT)
Thank you!--Jcarroll 10:46, 15 September 2012 (EDT)
What about french language ? [15 avril 2013]
WeRelate ne dispose pour l'instant d'aucune page en français ? Aucune amélioration ou adaptation depuis un an ou deux ? Pourrait-on envisager la chose ? J'ai vu qu'un "portail" existe en néerlandais ... Marc ROUSSEL - --Markus3 15:00, 9 April 2013 (EDT)