Portal talk:MySource


What to include

  1. Much discussion and confusion centers around the differences between a mysource vs a source and just what constitutes something being placed on "mysource" page.
  2. explain how MySources came into being (results of gedcom uploads)
  3. store mysources in the digital library?

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:

  • Birth certificates
  • A family bible
  • A personal letter from Uncle Harry, dated 11 November 1970
  • An interview with granma Bertha, conducted 15 April 1959

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)

But the primary incentive to do this (convert mysources to sources) is absent: i.e., there needs to be a tool that goes through your MySources and does a global search/replace when you've converted one MySource. Otherwise, it's just a really really ugly, slow process... jillaine 14:26, 12 February 2009 (EST)

Ah... use of redirect instead of conversion. I keep forgetting that. I think we should push the redirect option over the other. -- jillaine 14:29, 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...."

  • The name of the document information was obtained from, or
  • The actual document (say in image or transcription format)

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

  • A. The actual documents themselves (say an image or a transcription), e.g.,
MySource:Jessica/1930 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule), Marshall City, Saline county, Missouri
MySource:Obituary of Richard Borden, 25 May 1671
MySource:Solveig/Clouse Family Bible
  • B. Simple references to a limited distribution (unpublished) document e.g.
MySource:Beth/Edgar J. Stephens, Jr. Family Group Sheet
MySource:Letters of James McLean to Lachlan McLean
  • C. Extended articles about an item
MySource:William Crolius - Revolutionary War pension application
  • D. Links to Ephemeral Sources
MySource:Contact Joe Robison
MySource:Wheeler/Gedcom of Hartwell and Puffer

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)

Hi Q,

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.

Hi Dallan

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)

The only way is to delete the Source and create a new MySource. I just did that for this source: MySource:Jcarroll/Images of Small Diary of Charles Negus Carroll Mimeograph--Dallan 20:02, 14 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)

Bonjour Marc, sorry - je ne parle pas Français.
WeRelate has a Dutch portal because there are a number of active Dutch users on WeRelate who helped to create the page. We currently have very few French speaking users, so that is why WR does not yet have a French portal. If you are interested, you are welcome to create a portal page for French speaking users.
As far as the MediaWiki software and internalization, unfortunately, the version of MediaWiki that WeRelate uses is outdated. The hope is that MediaWiki will be updated this year. Until then, WeRelate is not able to offer the types of internalization that Wikipedia has. --Jennifer (JBS66) 18:02, 9 April 2013 (EDT)
WeRelate a ete fonde comme un site Web multilingue. Oui, c'est vrais, que WeRelate n'a aucune page en français - maintenant il y a seulement cinq personnes qui parler francais! Qu'est-ce que c'est les plus importants pages de traduire en francais? Pourriez-vous nous aider a traduire ces pages? AndrewRT 18:39, 10 April 2013 (EDT)
WeRelate, site "prévu" comme multilingue ? C'est bien ce que j'avais cru comprendre/deviner par le fait même qu'il utilise le même "moteur" que Wikipedia, à savoir MediaWiki. Hélas, quand j'avais cherché un site collectif de généalogie, entre 2006 et 2008, je n'avais rien trouvé de bien "attirant" dans WeRelate, en particulier à cause de ses contributeurs exclusivement anglophones et de leurs recherches géographiquement très "localisées" (Amérique du Nord + Pays-Bas). Je ne m'étais donc pas "inscrit" comme contributeur.
Les généalogistes en France sont vraiment très nombreux et très actifs. Mais ils ont été et sont encore particulièrement obsédés par "Geneanet", qui a été un outil précieux mais qui reste juste un portail/index regroupant des travaux individuels.
J'avais essayé "Roglo" (qui a une vocation collective), mais le "pouvoir" y est très pyramidal et particulièrement autoritaire ! Deux éditeurs de logiciels de généalogie très prisés en France (Généatique et Heredis) ont ouvert chacun un site où leurs "clients" peuvent déposer le résultat de leurs recherches. Mais, comme pour Geneanet, ces 2 sites sont "non collectifs". Contributeur de Wikipédia, j'y avais demandé si un projet généalogique pouvait être envisagé parmi les autres de Wikimedia. La réponse fut négative. On me conseilla de créer (seul ou avec d'autres passionnés de généalogie) un wiki généalogique. Hélas, je n'ai trouvé personne de motivé comme moi et, tout seul, je n'ai pas les compétences informatiques suffisantes.
C'est alors qu'un wikipédien me signala l'existence de "Rodovid", site très marginal et alors pratiquement inconnu de tous. J'ai trouvé le site intéressant et séduisant (en particulier car 1) les formulaires de saisie ressemblent à mon logiciel personnel favori - "Brother's Keeper" - 2) chaque fiche correspond à un numéro utilisable pour accèder à elle - ce qui est très pratique pour distinguer par exemple 18 "Nicolas ROUSSEL" différents - 3) le système utilise des info-bulles) et riche d'une multitude de possibilités, même si en mai-juin 2008, le contenu était très touffu et très brouillon. Peu de pages étaient traduites en français et il y avait de très gros problèmes d'affichage causés par l'import d'une multitude de petits fichiers Gedcom (datant de 2006-2007) dont les caractères accentués (typiquement français) empêchaient la visibilité des fiches individuelles et familiales. J'ai donc travaillé vraiment beaucoup et seul pendant 2 ou 3 mois pour rendre Rodovid enfin utilisable pour des francophones. Vers fin septembre, 2 autres contributeurs français m'ont rejoint comme contributeurs assidus. Mais hélas en décembre 2008, un tyran (alors vraiment incompétant en langage wiki mais aussi en généalogie et en histoire) s'est imposé par son arrogance, sa grossièreté et ses pratiques douteuses incompatibles avec un wiki) et a fini par manipuler les 2 autres principaux contributeurs français et à "prendre le pouvoir" (suppression définitive d'infos dans les historiques des pages de discussion, etc). J'espérais (en vain) la venue de nouveaux contributeurs et un apaisement dans les conflits ... pendant 2 ans. Et j'ai abandonné tout en avril 2011.
Depuis, je cherche un remplaçant à Rodovid ... rien, même si on m'a mis en relation depuis plus d'un an avec 2 jeunes informaticiens français motivés pour créer un nouveau site collectif ! Hélas, leurs activités professionnelles sont intenses et leur projet n'avance pas du tout comme le j'avais espéré, et je commence à perdre patience.
Donc, je retente ma chance avec WeRelate, et me suis cette fois "inscrit". Je voudrais d'abord y déposer ce que j'avais mis déjà sur Rodovid (qui ne permet toujours pas d'export de mes propres saisies). Je vais donc devoir tout retaper, fiche par fiche.
  1. 1. Non, nous ne sommes pas que 5 personnes parlant français sur WeRelate. Ce sont seulement les 5 contributeurs qui ont ajouté la petite case/info ("template" ?) "User_fr". J'ai repéré par exemple User:CTfrog qui a manifestement consulté des registres de la Belgique francophone, de plusieurs départements français (Meuse, Pas-de-Calais, Aisne). On pourrait lui demander s'il veut se joindre à nous.
  2. 2. Oui, bien sûr, je suis d'accord pour aider à la traduction/transposition en français des pages de WeRelate. Le plus important et urgent, à mon avis, ce sont les pages du formulaire de saisie. Donc, il faut intervenir, comme je l'ai écrit à User:JBS66 sur cette page. Sinon, je te laisse choisir (avec d'autres) les pages à traduire en priorité. Je ne connais pas encore assez WeRelate !
Amicalement - Marc ROUSSEL - --Markus3 01:09, 11 April 2013 (EDT)
I talked to Dallan about the idea of translating WeRelate's interface. He is going to research the possibilities of programming this. I should know more in a couple of weeks. --Jennifer (JBS66) 09:29, 14 April 2013 (EDT)
Fine ! Thank you ! I hope ... Amicalement - Marc ROUSSEL - --Markus3 01:28, 15 April 2013 (EDT)