WeRelate talk:Sources


This appears to be a historical discussion. The purpose for this page appears to have been supplanted by WeRelate talk:Source Committee. --Ceyockey 20:30, 5 October 2008 (EDT)

If you have an interest in helping to standardize the source index to make it easier to use, please leave your comments here.--Dallan 11:42, 16 April 2007 (MDT)


Miscellaneous thoughts

First of all, what exactly is a source? Surely not a library, although I've seen a page about a library used as an example of a source page. Libraries and similar repositories contain sources.

Many sources (books, websites) have parts that are more general and parts that are more specific. In the case of a book, we think of the title as designating the source, and when we apply the source to a particular person or event, we add the particular page(s) where that person or event is mentioned. Similarly with a web site -- the home page might be the general part of the source, but in most cases a diligent researcher would appreciate being given the exact URL within that web site where the particular event being sourced can be found. (In the Master Genealogist program, this distinction corresponds to "sources" and "citation details.")

But it's not always obvious where the general part of the source ends and the specific part begins. Censuses are especially tricky this way. My personal preference is to treat each census year and county as one source, with the details of location and household as details, but there are many other reasonable ways of slicing this.

I'm still having trouble with the distinction between community sources and mysources. A birth certificate is a public document and it might be relevant to several different people (even the doctor who signed it!). Maybe a mysource would be an e-mail somebody else sent me (I confess to using them as sources sometimes!) or "what Grandma Millie told Aunt Ida at the reunion," but the distinction just isn't intuitive to me yet. Maybe "birth certificates issued in Grundy County, Illinois" is a source, and individual ones would appear in the details? That seems weird.

It would seem good to distinguish between the source and the medium. Thus, a source would not normally be a Family History Library microfilm, but the work filmed, whether it's a book or a birth register. Nor would it normally be a website, I suppose, unless the web site were in fact the place where the work was created.

In terms of actually getting something done, would it make sense to start by focusing on easily understood items like books, or do we first have to understand what to do with tough ones like censuses or birth certificates or Grandma Millie?

Good points, and probably will be one of this or any other Genealogy Wiki's challenges as everyone cites sources in different ways, despite all the recommendations about the "right" way to do it. Certainly some good help language, perhaps framed as "Some things to do before you upload your GEDCOM" that includes a recommended format for Sources. Jillaine 11:37, 8 July 2007 (MDT)

Repositories as Usage Tips?

I am using a book - The Ligon Family and Connections by William D Ligon Jr, 1947 - as a source for multiple data fields in my Ligon tree. http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Family:Jonathan_Ligon_and_Lucinda_Jolly_%281%29
This book was already a Source, so I chose it off the list. When I went to the Source page - http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Source:The_Ligon_family_and_connection - I noticed that the Usage Tip listed the Family History Library as a resource. Howver, my access to the book came through Heritage Quest Online, free access with my local library.
Questions: Is the Usage Tip a place to list repositories? Should I add Heritage Quest Online? Not to mention that the book itself can be ordered through WorldCat from dozens of other libraries and delivered to your local library, which is much more convenient than FHL. Then there's Ancestry....
It might work to have repositories listed on the Source page.

Yes, by all means, please do!

online data versus where source can be found

I would like to see the Sources separated into those that contain actual data - message boards, websites, links to online books, etc - from those that list where a source may be found - Family History Libary, WorldCat Links, and other library type links. (note: I have to admit, as great as the Family History Library may be, it is not at all convenient here where I live. It would be easier to order the book through WorldCat to my local library.) It would be great to know that when you clicked on a Source you would be getting something concrete rather than just a book title and so forth. Not that those titles are not important too.--Debbie V. 18:26, 17 April 2007 (MDT)

What should the source index try to become?

I think that there are two goals for the source index:

  1. A type of page that people can use to create sources for their trees.
  2. An comprehensive index of readily-accessible resources, that people can search to see what resources are available for different places and time periods, and that programs like GenSmarts can use to get "smarter".

I hope that we can accomplish both goals. Unfortunately, the current source index isn't very good at either. I'm interested in talking about how to make it better (I've even thought about starting over from scratch).

I am concerned that if we add sources from uploaded GEDCOM's directly to the Source index without a way to ensure that the sources are in some kind of "standard" format, it will end up generating a bunch of sources that just duplicate other sources in the index and confuse people. That's the reason for creating a separate "MySource" namespace. But I'm open to other suggestions on this.

It seems like a good idea to remove repositories from the source index, and to add new fields on Source pages for "location" of the source: urls for online sources, exact titles and authors for inter-library loan, film numbers for FHC ordering, pointers to pages in a new "Repository:" namespace for repositories that you have to visit in person, etc. And we could add "location" to the search criteria for sources so that you could specify that you want only online sources for example.

It also seems like a good idea to standardize source titles according to an accepted citation scheme - maybe using "Fundamentals of Citation"?

-Dallan 18:07, 23 April 2007 (MDT)

I like the two types - Source pages and Resource pages.
Source pages might contain links to the Resource pages. For instance, I have been editing the Source:1870 United States census of Franklin County, Illinois page. I removed the initial url for the FHL library page and added it below under Repositories. But maybe I should rename this as Resource Pages. For instance, the Family History Library itself is a Resource, as well as the individual 1870 FCI page. The US Genweb FTP is a great Resource for all states and I have added the specific 1870 IL Franklin County link as well. So here I have some major Resources with additional more specific pages.
For now, the links are to outside web sites. But these could be linked to inside Resource pages by the same names.
I think that when a person like myself adds a Source to their page they are going to want to update that Source page to accurately reflect the Repository/Resource where they actually got their data. --Debbie V. 20:59, 23 April 2007 (MDT)

OK, now I understand "MySource" -- it's a place to put nonstandard sources that come in. I agree that to be useful to everyone sources need to be standardized insofar as that's possible.
There is a temptation (to which I sometimes yield) to cite online sources here by bypassing the whole "Source" template and simply doing a link to the particular page being referenced. That's convenient for the writer and perhaps the reader but it defeats the purpose of having a big list of standard sources that both human and electronic genealogists can learn from. (On the other hand, for citing the FHL's online 1880 census transcription it seems perfect.)
One reason this is so tempting is that a "Source" listing demands a URL that isn't just the particular page or place you're citing that particular time, it should be the whole book, or the whole cemetery, or the census for a certain state for a certain year -- a big enough chunk to be broadly applicable. But then you have to somewhere be able to describe where within that big chunk is the little bit you actually want to refer to! The more material is online and searchable, the greater this temptation will be to in effect dissolve what we know as "sources" (image: a book) into their component parts (image: a page, or a URL to a particular household in the 1880 US census). I'm old enough to think we're going to need the idea of sources [somewhat standard medium-sized chunks of information] for a good while yet. Does anyone think otherwise?
New fields in a revised source page: URLs, FHL microfilm numbers, catalog numbers and corresponding physical repository locations, exact title and author -- and somehow provision for a multiplicity of locations and forms of existence. Savage's classic on early New Englanders exists on line, but it's also in print in many libraries, and maybe people would like to enter those instances for their local and area libraries.
I agree that for some sources a more general Source page would work best to avoid confusion. The level of generality could be discussed. I would love to have available repository information included on the Source page as well. Repositories could be entered on a template that would capture their specifics (url, physical address, usage tips) So if a particular book was once only hard copy but now there is an online version, that could be noted. A link to the WorldCat showing which libraries have the hard copy book would also be great. --Debbie V. 06:50, 24 April 2007 (MDT)
I am not familiar with an accepted citation scheme that is flexible enough and broad enough to encompass the variety of genealogical sources: books, articles, letters, tombstones (or is the proper unit cemeteries?), institutional records of all kinds, videos, even furniture and quilts. If there is such a scheme, then it might help get us to the Holy Grail here: a source system that could act like the place system does. Once you've typed in the first chunk it can suggest the rest of the "title" (except some things don't have titles!). But while one could imagine a place system being complete, the source system will always be open-ended, and there seem to be more different ways of naming any given source than a given place (if that's possible)! And if you start typing the wrong first chunk how would you ever get put right? (E.g. even just typing 1800 US Census instead of US Census 1800).
It seems like there are both physical and virtual repositories. If virtual repositories do their own indexing -- I'm thinking of censuses in ancestry.com vs. heritagequestonline.com -- then the "same" source may start to look different in each one. Not only are some census images more readable in one than the other, but some names are indexed (or mis-indexed) differently. So naming your repository might be a more important datum for some sources than for others, where the source really is only a physical container.
Yes, I also see a difference in quality and ease of use between these two - I use both. --Debbie V. 06:50, 24 April 2007 (MDT)
Sorry to go on so long; hope this can help.--Hh219 21:14, 23 April 2007 (MDT)

I have three major pet peeves about the sources as currently used, all of which come up in this example. North Carolina Marriage Bonds 1741-1868 is a database put together by the state of North Carolina. Search for keyword "marriage bonds" located in North Carolina. [1]
- First of all, these are not useful results! The first five links don't relate to North Carolina at all. The first "correct" link is the one to Ancestry's copy of this database (which wouldn't be useful to me if I didn't pay Ancestry). Eventually, we start to get to North Carolina resources, and on page 3 there is a link to the FHL's version of this database. There may be other links later that also go to another version, I didn't get that far. (The search is actually much better if one puts "North Carolina marriage bonds" all in the keyword box.)
- Second, none of the links are a good place to discuss the source itself - the database of marriages. Or a great place to link to. One page for this database would be the ideal. (I know that that's easier said than done with many sources, and that technically, the FHC's transcription and Ancestry's are different soruces, but that detail doesn't really belong on the source page as we want to use it I don't think).
- Third, despite the "North Carolina" and "vital record" categories, there is no useful way to find North Carolina vital records.

With those in mind, I'm all in favor of some of the thoughts expressed above that would make one source page for each actualy source: the book, the article, the database. Details like where it can be found can go on the source page. Details like what particular page, URL or location were used can go in the citation detail.

I think those changes doable with the current system, albeit will take a lot of work and I don't know that they're automate-able. But if we clean up what a source page is, perhaps the search and category results will get correspondingly better. --Amelia.Gerlicher 11:37, 28 April 2007 (MDT)

Source fields on Person/Family/Place pages

What about having different types of source citations on the tree pages? Census, birth, death and burial, and marriage are a few that come to mind as requiring certain type of data. For instance, a census source citation needs to include not only the repository, but the date, page number, possibly dwelling/family number, township, city, precinct as well as notes about transcription, extra household members, etc. A birth, death or marriage source citation would include not only the repository but the record or certificate number.--Debbie V. 06:59, 24 April 2007 (MDT)

I like this idea, maybe we can generalize it. When you go to the make-a-new-source page, you could get a drop-down menu of the basic types of source -- the list can't be too long, but it has to be long enough that everything is more or less covered. My first draft of such a drop-down menu would include: Book, Journal Article, Vital Record (birth, baptism/christening, marriage, death, burial), Institutional Record (school, military, prison, etc.), Transportation List (ships mostly?), Bible Record, Manuscript, Letter, Cemetery, Census, Legal Document, Will, Property Record, Still Image, Video, Audio, Government Document, Interview, Newspaper/Magazine, Physical Relic, Web Site (only if it has original content; most web sites are really repositories I think). I can see some problems with this list already but it could be a place to start. Some of these categories are catchalls for leftovers ("Government Document" is any government document that isn't a census or property record or institutional list, for instance).
One thing at issue in this system is that you may not know what the "title" of your source is until you get into one of these categories (or get into it and decide it's the wrong one!).
One step that should be advised is the person sourcing a Person/Family page should browse to see if his source is already listed. For this the Source pages need to be indexed and categorized by type, such as those you mentioned in the first paragraph. So if I was wanting to use the Source of the "Ligon Family and Connections", a book, I would go to the Source Index, then Books, then Surnames. Another would be Locations, Countries, States/Provinces. The Index would also be searchable by keywords as it is now.--Debbie V. 15:51, 24 April 2007 (MDT)
Depending on which item you chose on the drop-down, you'd then get an appropriate set of boxes to check or fill in. Some would be particular to that kind of item (such as year, country, state/province, for census), some would apply across the board (repositories and their call numbers or URL or whatever finding aid applies to the source being cited). This is where guidance could be provided for how to title each kind of source, if it doesn't come pre-titled, as letters and census entries typically don't. Then this would also be the stage at which you discover whether the source already exists in the system. (Probably some sources would initially get mis-categorized, but that might be fixable.) --Hh219 15:18, 24 April 2007 (MDT)

My idea of the perfect Source page

User:Ameila.Gerlicher said it in a nutshell

"With those in mind, I'm all in favor of some of the thoughts expressed above that would make one source page for each actualy source: the book, the article, the database. Details like where it can be found can go on the source page. Details like what particular page, URL or location were used can go in the citation detail."

I would like to see:
One Source page for each with

  1. A description of the source - what information it contains (locale, time period, type of info, etc)
  2. The source citing info - by whom/when/where it was created
  3. A list of respositories - where one can view or get a copy. This could be arranged by type of media such as
    1. Online data - url to a search page or actual document with research tips.
    2. Hard copy - with description of type (book, journal, microfilm, etc)
      1. url to websites of places where the source is located - libraries, cemeteries, archives, courthouses, etc
      2. location information for places that do not have websites

--Debbie V. 13:12, 28 April 2007 (MDT)

Respository pages?

My last comment about the perfect Source page brings up another thought.
What about Respository pages? For instance, the Library of Congress. Now there's a repository. What about a page with an url, plus some User tips?
For out of the way places, how about directions, parking info, etc. (I am thinking of this excellent little museum/library in West Frankfort, Illinois with tons of primary documents, but it's rather difficult to find. They also serve lunch.)
THEN, on the Source pages we could just LINK to the Repository pages! Or link to them on our personal pages when we add the details of the Source (volume, page, etc). --Debbie V. 13:21, 28 April 2007 (MDT)

Straw-man proposal

I've been thinking about this for the past few days. How about the following first-cut proposal? I've tried to incorporate the suggestions above as far as I've understood them, but if I've missed something, please comment.

Source page titles

Previously posted information relocated to: WeRelate talk:Source page titles

Source page field changes

  • We should add "Location" fields to the source. A source can exist in multiple locations. There are four types of locations:
  • website, with the URL of the website
  • order through a library, with the source's WorldCat ID number
  • order through family history center, with the source's Family History Library Catalog ID number
  • repository, with the title of the Repository page

It will require human effort to merge our current source pages into one page per source.

  • We should have a "type" field, and when the user chooses a type, they are presented with a number of type-specific fields to fill in.

Source citation field changes (on the person/family page)

  • We should add a URL to the source citation.
  • We should add radio buttons for "Standard source" (Source:) vs. "Personal source" (MySource:)


  • We should have a new namespace: Repository
  • Repositories will be titled with the name of the repository
  • Repositories will have the following fields: address, phone, and URL (and of course a description field)

Bug in source search

  • There's a bug in search that if you leave the "place" field blank but enter something in the "located in" field, the "located in" field is ignored. This needs to be fixed right away.
I fixed this but forgot to mention it on this page.--Dallan 12:49, 11 July 2007 (MDT)


  • Should we say that if you can find the name of the author of an online family tree, then these sources should follow the "author, title" format, where the title is the domain name? How difficult is it usually to find the name of the author of the website?
My sense is, not very difficult. Usually easy at rootsweb worldconnect. Many sites at rootsweb and elsewhere have their own title that is distinct from the domain name, but not all do and sometimes the title is uninformative. --Hh219 20:38, 8 May 2007 (MDT)
I could see titling family histories by the author, if it's easy to find on the website. But I've seen way to many useless or empty titles on webpages to think that we could use the webpage title for the title.--Dallan 21:21, 9 May 2007 (MDT)
  • It will likely take 1-2 months to implement all of these changes. Should this be done before or after the "matching" agent that notifies people of other pages at WeRelate that their pages likely match with?

Source page title format

See WeRelate talk:Source page titles for additional discussion on the format of titles for source pages. (The comments regarding source page titles on this page need to be moved over to that page.)--Dallan 22:46, 9 May 2007 (MDT)

So where do we go from here?

I've been reading the discussions, trying to catch up on this topic. I've been focusing some time the last week or so on some particular sources and would like to make some changes to the pages or add new pages along the lines of what's been suggested as to formatting, etc. Is this something I can do now? I didn't want to make the changes if the sources were going to be completely overhauled or if the discussion is still ongoing. I also ask, because if I understand the formatting right, that a book, for instance, would be listed with author first then title. If I do that now, I'm going to look like the odd person out since all the books are listed by title only. :) --Ronni 08:46, 27 May 2007 (MDT)

Ronni, I decided to go ahead and start creating Source pages for my trees using the criteria that we have discussed so far. (ex. census pages first by place, then type, then year - United States, Illinois, Franklin, Census, 1850) I feel like in order to come up with a standard we need to plunge ahead with what we have so far. I am using WeRelate talk:Source page titles for my reference in creating new pages.
For those of us who enjoy the process as much as the results, this is part of the fun. For others who may want instant results, it won't be. Wikipedia didn't become the great resource that it is right from the start. It evolved over years. I believe that will be the case with WeRelate as well. I have already seen some great improvements in the few weeks I've been here.--Debbie V. 09:12, 27 May 2007 (MDT)
Ah, a kindred spirit! <g> Yes, I'm definitely enjoying the process. Ok, I'm plunging ahead. Let's clarify a few things for me though. One page, one source? That is, listing all repositories or locations on where to find the source on one page? Also, any discussion about book titles being especially long? Include the whole title or just a portion of those really long ones? Since author will be included now in the title bar, I'm opting for a shorter version of the title myself based on aesthetics alone. --Ronni 09:58, 27 May 2007 (MDT)
I have a book source with a really long title and it actually looks okay, although I need to redo it so that the author comes first. I guess author first is a good way standarize/categorize different types of non-location-specific sources (surname, military histories, etc) but I find it inconvenient. I would rather start with a general location (United States) and then the title, then author. That's how I did a Source page for the Source:United States, World War I Selective Service Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 using the original title from NARA with the year range added. I may redo this and move the year range to the details section.--Debbie V. 13:41, 27 May 2007 (MDT)
Yes to one page, one title with a Repository list of where the source can be found and under what other titles. For instance, the Social Security Death Index can be accessed in multiple places under various titles with virtually the same info. I find that
[Steve Morse's One-step SSDI] is good because it has multiple search fields. Some SSDI sites are updated more frequently than others. This is the kind of info all of us want and need to share. Why would we want to go to all the trouble of interlibrary loan if a book is now online? That kind of thing.
Besides repository, we can include info like how great a source is because it's indexed, has pictures, maps, bibliography, etc.--Debbie V. 14:05, 27 May 2007 (MDT)

I'm sorry for not responding sooner. I got into a bad habit of ignoring change notification emails when the changes were from User:Wrhelp or User:Solveig, without remembering that once I did that, I wouldn't get notified about later changes to the page until I visited it again. Here are some long overdue comments.

I think it's a great idea to start creating sources with the new format now.
One thing we're finding out from GEDCOM uploads is that sources with long titles (over 200 characters) cause problems for the software, so limiting source titles to say no more than 150 characters seems like a good idea.
When books have specific authors, I think it's good to list the author first so that we have a simple rule: if there's a specific author, list the author first. This will make it easier for other people wanting to cite the source to find it.
Regarding year ranges, I wonder if we should say that year ranges are part of the title if they are necessary to distinguish the source from similar sources for other years (e.g., censuses). For WWI draft registration cards for example it wouldn't be necessary.
I think listing the locations a source can be found in, and how great a source is, are excellent things to put on the source page. Toward the end of the Summer / early Fall I'll modify the source pages so that we have fields for location, and I'll make a "Repository:" namespace for pages for libraries and archives. Until then I think that listing the locations under a Repositories section as I've seen on several sources works great.--Dallan 11:02, 10 July 2007 (MDT)
About limiting titles to 150 characters ... yep, had a few problems in that area already and did shorten them. Ever notice that genealogy books have extraordinarily long titles for some reason? :)
Concerning listing books by author's name has been working great for me. I have found that while sourcing pages on WeRelate that I can remember the author's name a lot easier than the title of the book, not to mention the exact title of the book. The format I'm using is: <lastname>, <first name>. <Title of book> .... Looks good, works out great.
I've only been working with books in regard to editing the source pages on WeRelate, so can't really comment on what works best with title formats for other sources. A date range in the title might not be necessary if all the various versions of the source are included on one page. A possibility on how to do censuses would be something like: "West Virginia, Clay County, Census" and then on the page list the years instead of making a different page for each year? --Ronni 11:30, 10 July 2007 (MDT)

Searching the Source List

Ouch! I'm trying to review the list of sources but my options currently (unless this is another case of newbieness and I'm missing something) are to search for a source, display all sources, display the most recently changed sources.

Search is currently too exact. I want to see how y'all are wording the source titles for, let's say, US Census records. So I searched for "census" but it did not find what I was looking for. It looked for a one-word source page called "Census". That's all it displayed. What I want it to do is find all source titles where "census" is in the title. This will make it much easier for users to find sources relevant to their work.

As currently organized and "searchable" I can make little use of these. :-(

Jillaine 12:08, 10 July 2007 (MDT)

Ah, I see that once you're inside of Allspace inside of Sources the search box THERE lets you search for sources that "start with" some letters. That's slightly better. But it would be great if the main search page (the project page) for Source had the following search options:
  • Search for exact title
  • Search for source titles beginning with...
  • Search for source titles containing the word...
  • and/or some sort of categorization of sources. (Oh, you've talked about this elsewhere
Right now we are making some pretty big usability changes in pedigree management and navigation. We've had people in to watch them use the site and are tiring to make it easier to use. We will be working on images next. Search is also slated for a big overhaul. It's all part of developing a new site. Anyway, we really appreciate your comments. These will make our job easier and more successful. Thanks to everyone for their input and patience.--sq 23:35, 10 July 2007 (MDT)
I just want to make sure, when you're searching the sources are you going to the WeRelate:Sources page and entering the words you want to search for (e.g., census) in the Keywords box at the top of the page?--Dallan 12:49, 11 July 2007 (MDT)
Yes, I was on WeRelate:Sources and centered "census" in the search box and only got one source that happens to be called "Census" (and nothing else in its title). Jillaine 13:33, 11 July 2007 (MDT)
Please try it again and make sure you're entering "census" in the Keywords search box near the top of the screen and not in the "View or add a source page" section in the middle of the screen. I just tried it and got 55,006 sources here. I'll try to make this page less confusing.--Dallan 21:06, 11 July 2007 (MDT)
Well, go figure! You're right. It's been too many days (hours)now, and I could have sworn I did it the same way, but you're right: 55k results. I dunno... Jillaine 19:49, 12 July 2007 (MDT)
And secondly (different topic, but still related to Sources), your Source list looks like a mess. There are multiple conventions being used for census records, for example. I realize you're talking about this elsewhere, but um, I'm not feeling desirous of using these until they're more consistent. Thanks. Jillaine 13:44, 10 July 2007 (MDT)

Source Committee

I thought there was a comment here about being part of a clean up committee for the sources, but now I don't see the original comment. If such a committee is getting off the ground, I definitely want to be a part of that, so count me in. --Ronni 06:54, 11 July 2007 (MDT)

Yeah, there was a rollback and that comment (as well as an immaterial one of mine) got disappeared. But count me in too.
I've been putting off dealing with sources until Dallan's promised revision of the template (thinking that anything done before then might have to be done all over again after), but maybe there are cleanup things that can and should be done now. Of course, one person's cleanup is another person's confusion. How about finding those format changes and standardizations that everybody is comfortable with, and try to implement those first? (This should include instructional material for newbies -- the concept of standardized places can be difficult to grasp at first; standardized sources will be harder.) I like Debbie V's census setup, for instance, but others may have issues with it. Might it be easier to start with authored sources, standardizing the practice of putting author first, redirecting the variants to the standard version, and leaving the censuses and the unauthored sources for another day (or decade)?
For me, this issue spills over into an ongoing discussion over at the listserv wiki-genpages. In a nutshell, some of us have a *lot* of material in certain formats and in certain genealogy programs, and it's just really daunting to envision how much detailed rework will be required to migrate all that material on to WeRelate. Sources are a big part but not the only part. It's been years since I moved my (then much smaller) database from Legacy to TMG, and I *still* come across odd corners that I've never spruced up from that traumatic transition! No useful proposal here, just fussing... --Hh219 08:01, 11 July 2007 (MDT)
Ok, how's this sound? I'll create a new page where a "source clean up committee" can congregate and discuss where and how to start. And yep, this is going to be daunting, but I truly believe chomping away at it bit by bit is better than just wishing it was different. Having said that, I'm right there with you regarding your concerns about having any work we do turned to mush because of the future templates. So Dallan? What say you? --Ronni 08:56, 11 July 2007 (MDT)

When we adopted the source titles from the Source:Family History Library Catalog I didn't realize how non-standardized they were and how much of an impediment that would turn out to be. For now I don't see anything wrong with just using MySources. Hopefully eventually we can develop a source-matching algorithm that will suggest possible matches between MySources and Sources -- we'll have to see how feasible that is.

Regarding a "source clean up committee" I think it's a great idea! Here are a few thoughts

  • The plan is to move all of the sources over to the new format automatically, so we don't need to move anything over manually right now, although there will probably be some clean-up work afterward.
  • In order for sources to be found most easily when someone starts typing source titles in data input fields or when they search for them, we need to come up with a small set of simple rules and vocabularies for people to use when creating source titles. Ideally the title format would be such that once I've typed the first few words of the title into an input field, I can browse a reasonably-small list of titles that start with those words and find the source that I'm looking for. We have some discussion about title format on this page and on WeRelate talk:Source page titles, but I'm not sure it adequately covers all types of sources. It would be great if the committee could develop this set of rules that covers most (if not all) types of sources.
  • It would also be great if the committee could come up with a list of additional fields that we're not tracking (like location/repository) that we need to track, and perhaps some suggested templates. For example, I think that a repeatable "location" field, where the user would first select the type of location (worldcat, a library, an archive, a website, etc.) and then enter a way to find the source in that location (an ISBN number, a catalog number, a URL) would be nice. We could have the ISBN number link to online booksellers or worldcat, a library/archive link to its Repository page, etc. And since we're going to start creating Repository: records, it would be nice to know what fields we want to track for repositories.
  • I'd like to be peripherally involved in this at the beginning. I've got a lot of usability enhancements that I'd like to put in place before the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference mid-August. If the committee could do these things between now and mid-August, after FGS is over I can start writing the program to move sources over to the new format. Then there will be some clean-up work, but we should be able to automate most of it.

How does that sound? If you're willing to do this, I'll add a news item about it on the main page and see if we can get some additional volunteers.--Dallan 12:49, 11 July 2007 (MDT)

I'm in, with 2 caveats: I have to spend time working too (!) and I've never participated in a purely on-line committee! --Hh219 12:57, 11 July 2007 (MDT)
That's great! I think anything we can do between now and Aug 15th will be great.--Dallan 21:06, 11 July 2007 (MDT)
Dallan, I made a new page for a "Source Committee" at WeRelate talk:Source Committee. If you think its ok, we can ask for volunteers if you like. --Ronni 11:40, 12 July 2007 (MDT)
Thank you! I will post a news item about this tomorrow.--Dallan 23:32, 12 July 2007 (MDT)