Help talk:Source page titles


Category XXXX State Census [21 August 2009]

I don't agree with the category for the U.S. census as XXXX State Census. The state censuses were ordered by state legislatures and were not under the jurisdiction of the U.S. government. --Beth 08:05, 1 September 2008 (EDT)

"State" in that context means the name of the state, i.e. 1850 Missouri Census. That is generally understood to mean the federal census, but even if it didn't and there happened to be a state census that year, then it would still belong in the same category, as the data should be virtually identical.--Amelia 02:42, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
Okay Amelia, that seems logical. The state censuses were generally conducted in years other than the US census. Is it necessary to type in the category in the text field as stated on the article page or is that now done automatically?--Beth 07:42, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
You should enter the "XXXX State Census" categories in the text. We're going to be deleting the high-level categories such as "Census records" from Source pages, since they're being replaced by Subjects (which will soon be searchable). But the lower-level categories such as "XXXX State Census" will still be entered in the text.--Dallan 13:55, 2 September 2008 (EDT)
Actually the word census is in lower case; which I am having difficulty remembering; I will work on correcting my erroneous entries. --Beth 18:01, 27 October 2008 (EDT)
May we capitalize the word census in the category? I can never remember which it is and the source census names are all caps; so it is not consistent. --Beth 16:31, 20 August 2009 (EDT)
It would have to be changed on the several hundred categories by hand (I learned this the hard way already). I remember it this way: Census for the lower level entities (1860 U.S. Census), everything else (for the smaller entities) is lower case (1860 California census, etc.)--Amelia 11:10, 21 August 2009 (EDT)

Use of "" in title of Source [5 November 2008]

When manually converting a MySource to a "community" Source, I frequently find duplicates of the source I'm seeking. One of them lists the name of the source correctly and the other prefixes the title with " - ".

There are enough of these that it appears to indicate some adoption of this as an appropriate way to title a source.

I've bounced around WR and looking at various discussions and have seen nothing about prefixing titles with "". Before I go off and B*&#% about how ugly this practice is, can someone explain this usage to me. ;-) Thanks! -- Jillaine 20:13, 2 November 2008 (EST)

It's a relic of the system's naming conventions, and needs to be removed. I think it's on Dallan's list to do automatically, but I'm not sure. The sources should be named according to the normal rules (for books, typically).--Amelia 21:43, 2 November 2008 (EST)
Thanks, Amelia. Happy to hear it's a relic and needs to be removed. While hunting around for this topic, I also saw reference to some committee on source titles. Does such a thing exist? Can I help? It looks like a lot of the source information may be lacking full info (like author names, etc.). Jillaine 21:52, 2 November 2008 (EST)
I should clarifly that most of the pages need to be merged with the Family History Center titles and renamed. But anyway, "Source Committee" was a discussion that went on for a while figuring out the rules. It's mostly dormant now as far as I know, but the discussion is here: WeRelate talk:Source Committee--Amelia 10:24, 3 November 2008 (EST)
Yes - it's a relic. Now that I have a better idea of what to do :-), I'm planning to redo the 30,000 sources early next year.--Dallan 07:31, 5 November 2008 (EST)

Rule Number 1 - Author. Title. (formatting) [5 November 2008]

When the suggestion is that the general format for Source titles should strive (but not strain) to meet the "Author. Title" format, would you suggest using normal or inverted author names. In other words, which would be preferred, "Jan Doe. My web page." or "Doe, Jan. My web page"? I tend to prefer the second (inverted) here because of the potential sorting advantages, but the first is consistent with natural language titling. --ceyockey 20:16, 5 November 2008 (EST)

Hi Ceyockey, The second (inverted) is the recommended format. See offline sources on the source page title help page. --Beth 20:33, 5 November 2008 (EST)

Categorized bad title encountered [29 November 2008]

In Category:Cemeteries there is a source titled [[Source::: CWGC ::]]. Clicking through to this page gives a 'bad title' error, thus there appears to be no way to either a) remove the category from the article or b) tag the article for deletion. Suggestions? --ceyockey 08:56, 27 November 2008 (EST)

I'll take care of this one. Thanks for pointing it out.--Dallan 13:50, 29 November 2008 (EST)

Why author in title? [17 March 2009]

Can someone please explain to me (or point me to the discussion that resulted in) the decision to incorporate the author into the title of a source?

I find this particularly annoying when searching for Sources.

And it's also annoying when adding or editing a source because the source template has a place for Author. So why are we including the author in both the title and the author fields?


jillaine 16:53, 31 December 2008 (EST)

Never mind; I found it. Blech. While I understand the need to do this from a technology perspective, from an end-user perspective, including Author in Title is ugly ugly ugly and very inconvenient for searching, adding and editing. Blech. jillaine 17:05, 31 December 2008 (EST)
Think of it this way... author is far less ambiguous than title, which makes it easier for searching, and for recognizing what source it is that's being cited.--Amelia 18:16, 1 January 2009 (EST)
I just gave JBS66 a little spiel about this, and I'll reproduce it here for benefit of this nearly-identical conversation: "I think the real issue here is ease of discovery. If the source is called 'Source:AUTHOR. TITLE' and I don't know the name of the author, but just the title, then to find the correct source I have to go through the add/find dialog and the several steps involved searching for it there, whereas if the source or a redirect to it is named something intuitive then it just pops up while I'm typing the name and away I go. In cases where there don't seem to be two sources with identical titles but written by different people, it makes sense to me to have 'Source:TITLE' redirect to the source named 'Source:AUTHOR. TITLE'. This would have the advantage of bringing more source citations to point to the correct source without having to be changed manually." And I have to agree with jillaine that AUTHOR. TITLE. is really ugly, in addition to hampering usability. So ultimately we have to have unambiguous titles of the actual pages, but perhaps by means of redirects or user interface improvements we need to make it so that doesn't hurt the user experience so much. --JoshHansen 15:59, 9 March 2009 (EDT)

This is funny - I was just looking for this conversation so that I could direct you to it. Looks like you beat me to it!--Jennifer (JBS66) 16:02, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
Do you find that that works now? Because I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've been able to find a title that hasn't been renamed through the dropdown, and those titles are already named in the way you suggest. The reason is that so many titles have artifacts like "My Genealogy" or "The" at the beginning where you don't expect it. The authors on the other hand, always show up the way you expect. And when those sources are renamed, the still show up in the dropdown as far as I know, so there's no reason you can't use them if you so desire. --Amelia 16:20, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
I swear, Amelia, I did NOT bribe Josh Hansen to revive this topic. I didn't! I didn't! ;-) But now that he has, I just want to add a few cents: I rarely know the name of the author, but I frequently know the name of the title. As for your response immediately above, I'm not 100% certain I understand. Are you saying that the Source database contains records with BOTH naming conventions-- ie., dupes, so we should be able to find what we need anyway? No, I don't think that's what you're saying. But I can respond that it has NOT been my experience to easily find sources by their title when the author is in front of it. (Or, for that matter, when the location is in front of it. When I search for Sudbury, MA vital records, I want to find Sudbury VR at the top of the list.) --= jillaine 18:04, 9 March 2009 (EDT)
Sure. Whatever you say, Jillaine ;-) Anyway. The sources that were imported from the FHL and have not been renamed are named by title using sentence case (e.g. this random example - which also illustrates the "The" problem, incidentally). When that title gets renamed following the totally perfect and unarguably correct naming rules, there will be one entry in search (starting with "Crane") and two entries in the dropdown (this one and the Crane one). This is because redirected pages don't leave the dropdown. In some cases this is useful (like here, if you like that kind of thing), sometimes this is annoying (i.e. versions that correct typos). You'll get no argument from me that search is screwy. But if the Sudbury VR's followed the naming rules, you could find them instantly using the dropdown. (Incidentally, they do follow an easy rule already ("Vital records of..."), which is why I assume no one has put in the time to rename them, which should be done all at once to make sense.)--Amelia 23:13, 9 March 2009 (EDT)

My confusion comes from the idea that we want multiple versions to appear in the drop-down box. Just a simple example, I renamed Worcester Telegram Gazette to Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Now, both names are in the drop-down and it leads to confusion about which one is the correct one to use. Over at WeRelate talk:Source review, Amelia said about duplicates "...either redirect them or move them to speedy delete (I prefer the latter, because then they disappear and we don't have useless names showing up in the source dropdown)". Also, I posted a question on the Watercooler earlier - what about people who are watching those pages we delete? The red-links will drive some batty (myself included)!--Jennifer (JBS66) 18:16, 9 March 2009 (EDT)

Why this is is probably a question for Dallan, but my impression is that redirected sources stay in the dropdown because it helps more than it hurts. It lets people use alternate names for sources that still go to the right place. But it also creates the annoying situation where sources with lousy names still show up in the dropdown, and fixing it requires the extra step of going back to a renamed page and unredirecting it before deleting it, something no one but advanced users is going to do. I'd personally be happy to see the old versions go, but then I actually think the rules lead to better names and clearly others disagree.--Amelia 23:13, 9 March 2009 (EDT)

I wonder if something like this is possible. Take this source as an example: Source:Culbertson, Sidney Methiot. The Hunter Family of Virginia and Connections. What if we could begin typing in either Culbertson, or The Hunter Family, into the fill-in field, and it would find this source (a unique version of it - without the extra redirects). Then, we wouldn't need to worry about redirects, and it would satisfy both sides (those who want title first, and those that want author first). And, to make it even more complicated, could we type in just Hunter Family and it would be found?--Jennifer (JBS66) 12:39, 10 March 2009 (EDT)

For your first request, I don't understand. You mean you want two different pages? That defeats the point of having pages that share knowledge about the source. Otherwise, right now it comes up under both "The Hunter family..." and Culbertson. On the second request, apparently not, as this has been requested for a while and I assume it would have been done if it were easy (since it would remove the need for the whole search interface), but that's a technical question for Dallan.--Amelia 12:48, 10 March 2009 (EDT)

Amelia, do you mean where I said "My confusion comes from the idea that we want multiple versions to appear in the drop-down box."? What I mean by that is "Why on earth do we want multiple versions to appear in the drop-down box"???

The book Henderson, John McClenahan. The John McClenahan Folk is in the drop-down as:

  • Henderson, John McClenahan. The John McClenahan Folk
  • The John McClenahan folk (61326)
  • The John McClenahan folk (640896)

And, NO, I don't want two different Source pages - yuck!! I also don't want three versions of the same page in the drop-down. I know - since they're redirects, they all go to the same place anyway. But it's confusing.... Hmm, which one do I choose??? 61326 or 640896???

I want JUST Henderson, John McClenahan. The John McClenahan Folk to show up. But, I want to be able to find it by typing any of the following:

  • Henderson...
  • The John McClenahan...

and even

  • McClenahan Folk...

And, I'll try not to get started about capitalizations and the drop-down box! (This is one reason I really like the idea of Sentence Case for Source titles!) I hope this is coming across with the lightheartedness with which it's intended!--Jennifer (JBS66) 13:31, 10 March 2009 (EDT)

No, I was confused by " What if we could begin typing in either Culbertson, or The Hunter Family, into the fill-in field, and it would find this source (a unique version of it - without the extra redirects)." Now you say you don't want two entries in the dropdown. And I'm more confused. My point was that the current system leaves redirected titles in the dropdown, so you can start typing "The Hunter..." and still get your title. If you don't like the titles that are there, then rename them to what you want and delete the old ones. Your last request is now different, and while I completely agree with that request, I don't think we can have that, because requests along the same lines are what got us the current search mechanism, and I would imagine that if it could have been done through the dropdown, that would have been much easier. But, that's a question for Dallan.--Amelia 13:52, 10 March 2009 (EDT)

I'm not sure I followed correctly all of the discussion above (please let me know if I missed an important point) but I'd like to offer some explanations and ask some questions:

  • Author is part of the title of the Source page because we have too many situations where books by different authors have the same title. We have to distinguish these books with different titles somehow. Putting author first (as opposed to last) seems natural to me, since that's how I see books referenced in most bibliographic citation formats.
  • Sentence case vs. heading case: The issue is system enforceability. Sentence case is impossible for the system to enforce when new sources are added. Using Sentence case, when adding a new source if someone capitalized a word the system wouldn't know whether the word is a proper noun and should be capitalized or if should be forced to lower case. In heading case if someone doesn't capitalize a word, the system can capitalize it automatically if it is not a short "stop" word like the, a, of, etc. Having the system capitalize words automatically when creating the Source helps avoid duplicate Source pages where the only difference is capitalization.
  • Sources with numbers after them: These sometimes represent two books with the same title but different authors (because when we first loaded the Source database we didn't put authors in the Source page title), and sometimes represents two filmings of the same book. If you come across instances of the latter case, please merge them.
  • What appears in the drop-down: The way the drop-down works is for technical reasons, and could be changed if people want it. Redirects could be removed from the drop-down fairly easily.
  • More significantly, we could change the drop-down to bring back sources that contained the words you typed anywhere in the title, not just at the beginning. So if you entered "Hunter Family" you would get sources with those two words anywhere in the source. You need to think about this carefully though, because it means that if you type "United States. 1860" you'll get all of the census sources for every county in the US, not just at the United States level. The sources could be ordered by title length so that shorter titles appeared first in the list, but that's all I can think of. I can't think of any way to eliminate the county-level census sources from the drop-down in this scenario. Whereas the way things are now, once you enter 1860 you're left with a single Source in the drop-down.

--Dallan 16:10, 17 March 2009 (EDT)

Format for adding an individual probate document? [8 April 2009]

I've got some probate records that I would like to add. These are individual documents-- i.e., the inventory for one Richard Taylor of Yarmouth.

Searching Source namespace for "probate," I did not find any model to follow.


  1. Should the Author be the person who wrote the original will?
  2. Given the lovely Title naming convention, would that then make the Title something like:
Taylor, Richard. 1674 Inventory of the Estate of Richard Taylor of Yarmouth

This makes me also want a Source type called "Probate" that could be used for wills, inventories, administrations, etc.

In addition, I want to type the text of the document in AND attach a jpg of the scanned original. All possible?

Ready to add NOW ;-),

Jillaine | jillaine 17:12, 31 December 2008 (EST)

Add these as MySources, and follow whatever format seems to work best. Individual wills are not generally applicable enough to be Sources.--Amelia 18:17, 1 January 2009 (EST)

Normally I would concur that MySources is the appropriate place for an individual's probate record(s). But in the case of this Richard Taylor, a LOT of people are descended from him, and there is a fair amount of "controversy" about his origins, who he married, who his kids were, etc., so in this case, having his probate docs in Sources feels more appropriate. I would imagine this to be the case for anyone (especially from colonial times) who has some level of disputed lineage. Don't you? jillaine 20:48, 1 January 2009 (EST)

Hi Jilliane, no I would not use the author format. Use the location format; is this record at the county level? I would use the location format, higher to lower to the level that the record was created in. So you would have something like United States, Alabama, Lowndes. Probate Records. You can then cite the specifics in your citation. I would place the image and text on the Richard Taylor person page. You could reference the estate of Richard Taylor on the source page. --Beth 09:05, 2 January 2009 (EST)
Mmmm.... all right. (I'll need to change what I started, but that's okay.) As for the ordering of words (from general to specific) in the title, since I wasn't around to make a stronger case for a different approach, I'll attempt to stay off my ranting-soap-box. Guess that's what I get for disappearing for a year. But could I ask just one question? If we're naming titles this way (including location in Title as well as Author when there is one), then *what* is the purpose of the Author and Location fields in the Source form? jillaine 12:57, 2 January 2009 (EST)
Jillaine, I am sorry you left for a year also. <g> I was not a supporter of the design for sources; but seemed to be in the minority and fairly new to the Wiki. I figured that others know better than I. This totally messes up my carefully contrived sources in my own database; but just decided to bite my tongue and so what if my sources are formatted extremely strangely. Too old to sweat the details. The important items to me are to share my data in a way that someone else can locate the document, etc. --Beth 18:31, 2 January 2009 (EST)

Titles have a purpose of trying to convey as much information in as little a space as possible. The reason for this is apparent when you see a source listed in a drop-down box. A drop down box is also dependent on the first word used. Is that first word "The" or "A" or "Ricker" or "United"? Thus the reason for using authors and places in the title as Amelia pointed out -- fewer variables. The reason for using place hierarchy from higher to lower is also apparent in a drop-down box where one can quickly get an idea of all the sources available in a county or state, for example.

So the current naming convention is for the purposes of having a good drop-down menu, then? Seems to me that there MIGHT have been a better tech solution for the drop down menu that would still result in author(or place)+real-title for the drop down menu while leaving the Title on the Source page purely a Title.

The source page itself with the field inputs (author, place, etc) is more useful for searching and can be independent of what has been entered as the title. Also, not everyone is going to enter a title as WeRelate convention encourages. The author and place fields would then be useful for finding such a source. --Ronni 13:54, 2 January 2009 (EST)

Unfortunately, the naming convention chosen for tech purposes (a drop-down menu) now results in a Source page that repeats possibly at least two fields (author and location). And for newbies entering source information manually (or converting MySources to Sources), I think you'll see a lot more examples of people like me entering the data incorrectly, because when I see an Author field distinct from a Title field, I presume the author name goes in Author and title goes in Title. Anyway, I promised to TRY not to rant. I *am* holding myself back. ;-)
More seriously, there should perhaps be a pop-up help menu on the Source entry page that lists conventions and instructions.
And Ronni, I *love* your use of the Summary field... ;-) jillaine 15:18, 2 January 2009 (EST)
  1. For vital records, you don't repeat the location in the data set name as a general rule (i.e. just "Marriages 1638-1900" and not "Windsor Marriages 1638-1900")
  2. If you use the "Add" menu, it does all this for you.
  3. Nothing is "repeating." The page title has a particular format. The page itself describes the source using various searchable fields. Do you omit the "First" and "Last" fields on person pages?
  4. Aside from what Ronni said above, it was of paramount importance that the rules be simple and easy to apply, no easy feat for the breadth of sources out there. But if we're going to share these sources--finding them by searching and browsing-- we accomplish nothing by letting people enter whatever name they happen to like.

(Apologies if I sound curt, but I've sat through many, many rounds of discussion on this.)--Amelia 20:00, 2 January 2009 (EST)

Okay, Amelia, I'll really step down off the box now. I get it. Like I said, I'm completely aware that if I wanted to have a say in this, I should have been around and part of those discussions. Nothing like a renewbie showing up and complaining about what was clearly a lot of hard work. My apologies. jillaine 20:09, 2 January 2009 (EST)

Maybe I'm missing something here. This is from the Help page itself: Use the place name in reverse order as the author of the source, e.g. "United States, Minnesota, Ramsey. Death Registers" or "United States, Minnesota, Ramsey, Shoreview. Incarnation Lutheran Church Marriage Registers". And it was my understanding that WR was attempting to follow the FHL style -- but if you look at the FHL catalog at FamilySearch, that is not what they're doing. They never have. In fact, the FHL catalog has grown organically and headings are constructed every which-a-way. I don't object to the top-down, larger-to-smaller, geographical approach; it's quite logical. But it seldom matches what you find on the drop-down picklist, which means you're seldom going to get the uniformity in source listings you think you're going to get. I think I would have preferred a simplified version of the rigorously logical patterns for source names in Evidence! by Elizabeth Mills. --mksmith 17:56, 7 April 2009 (EDT)

WR started out imported 1M sources from their catalog several years ago. After a lot of discussion we ended up with the source title format we have now, which is a siplified form of ESM's book (many of the titles she suggests follow either the "place, title" or "author, title" format). Problem is, we now have 1M mis-titled sources :-(. So I have to write a program to rename them. It's a project for later this year.--Dallan 09:08, 8 April 2009 (EDT)

ah... newbies. Don't you just LOVE us? ;-) -- jillaine 09:13, 8 April 2009 (EDT)

City Directories ? [8 January 2009]


I do not see any mention of City Directories. Should they be kept a Mysource, or should they be a Werelate Source?

Example - "United States, Washington, Spokane, Spokane, 1911 City Directory"


Debbie Freeman DFree--DFree 17:14, 8 January 2009 (EST)

State level census pages [4 July 2009]

As an explanation for the deletion I just did, it was decided during the discussion on sources that state level pages were not needed and should not be encouraged. US Census citations should be to the county level as a general rule, since that is the level that most transcriptions exist on and it usually provides a sufficient level of detail to find the record even if no further detail is provided. The country pages exist to provide general information on how that year's census was conducted. With the rare exception of quirks for a particular state's record (which can be noted on the country page), I'm not aware of any reason that a state page is needed. (Although FHL has sources at that level, they are generally only pointers to indexes or the film list for that state. They are being deleted and the reference added to the category page where useful.)--Amelia 23:41, 3 March 2009 (EST)

I agree that state-level US census sources aren't necessary, but I'm thinking that if citing state-level censuses is common in GEDCOM files, when we get to the point to where we try to match GEDCOM sources to WeRelate sources, we may want to have state-level census sources so we have something to match them to.--Dallan 19:52, 6 March 2009 (EST)

I concur with Dallan. FYI: My practice in my own GEDCOM is that the *source* is a state-level census (i.e., 1850 US Federal Census - NY) and I then include the more specific information in the citation field: 822 Genesee Street, Buffalo, Erie County. I have a SLEW of such source citations in my GEDCOMs, and have absolutely no interest in going through the multi-hundreds (if not thousands) of records in order to change them to county-level sources. So unless WeRelate adds state-level census Source pages, my census citations will remain MySources. -- jillaine 21:50, 6 March 2009 (EST)

I'm sympathetic to that idea, but I do wonder if there's a general issue with sources that aren't sources (as we've defined them) that we open up if we do that. I'm not a big fan of adding hundreds (thousands) of sources that don't otherwise fulfill the source criteria -- that serves no purpose beyond having them be mysources.--Amelia 22:35, 6 March 2009 (EST)

Let's postpone the discussion for now. What I'd like to do toward the end of this year or early next is analyze the MySources that we currently have, see how they could be matched to Source pages, what MySources don't match to Source pages, and which of these MySources we should create Source pages for. At some point I'd like to try building a "people who have ancestors that look like this person cited these sources" source recommender, which means we'll need to start matching MySources to Sources. But this is a project for a future date.--Dallan 12:32, 7 March 2009 (EST)

A new source Source:United States, Iowa. Iowa 1856 State Census was recently created. We have a few 1856 Iowa census source pages here already, though all are without a standard title. Is this a situation where we would allow state census pages? What standard title format should we use?--Jennifer (JBS66) 18:24, 6 April 2009 (EDT)

I've been creating Iowa state census sources by the fistful, as I add census listings to Person pages for counties that do not yet have a source page. Also a few for Kansas, which are very similar. I slightly adapted the standard format developed and agreed on for the federal census -- e.g., "United States, Iowa, Lucas. 1885 Iowa State Census" or "United States, Kansas, Lincoln. 1915 Kansas State Census". I don't know where that very general source came from 1856; it certainly wasn't mine. I've seen quite a few like that, though, when I do the search/add process for a new census source page. I haven't deleted them (even though they're useless, being so broad) because I didn't know if that discussion had ever crystalized in a decision. (That conversation is a little farther down this page.) By the way, I also created a source page recently for a mortality schedule, on the same pattern: "United States, Iowa, Davis. 1880 U.S. Census Mortality Schedule". --Mike (mksmith) 23:18, 3 July 2009 (EDT)
Just FYI, I believe that Amelia's comments regarding state-level census sources refer to state-level sources for US federal censuses, such as "United States, Iowa. US 1880 Census", which are probably not necessary. Sources for individual state censuses like you're talking about are terrific.--Dallan 02:50, 4 July 2009 (EDT)


Regarding the 1856 Iowa State Census. I I remember right only a few counties are available for that year.

So organizing it by county should work.

I would like to propose a thought for the future regarding censuses Sources or MySources.

Could we have a extra drop down category, line, or something which we say what TYPE of census the Source or MySource is?

In regards to The Help Source pages, what we used to do in the Genealogy Department is provide a "Cheat Sheet" with common examples for various subjects e.g. Census Research, Interpreting Archaic Handwriting, Will Interpretation, Old vs New Calendar dates. Perhaps a "one-sheet" list of examples of sourcing could be created for quick reference with a brief explanation referring to the longer explanation in Help. This might be helpful for other subjects, also. An easier tool for we "the PC is at the library not at home" folks. Neal

That's a good idea. Anyone watching this page want to take this project on? I know we have some examples already but a few more ought to help.--Dallan 21:50, 3 July 2009 (EDT)

Census were used for many reasons. Population, Agriculture, Mortality, Pensioners, Ethnic (American Indian), etc.


Debbie Freeman --DFree 22:34, 6 April 2009 (EDT)

In the case of state-conducted censuses, I'm not sure how to avoid creating a source at the state level. The FHLC lists a single title for the 1856 Iowa state census. We could break this up into separate sources for each county, but we haven't done that for other FHLC titles.

Perhaps titling it something like "United States, Iowa. 1856 Iowa State Census"?

Regarding an extra drop-down, would it be ok to put the type of census in the title? It seems like it belongs there anyway. For example, "United States. 1860 U.S. Census Agriculture Schedule"?--Dallan 08:55, 7 April 2009 (EDT)

If you're going to distinguish the population schedule, you need to distinguish the others. But considering how little the others are actually used (maybe 1% of the time), I don't know that a drop-down is necessary. --Mike (mksmith) 10:04, 20 April 2009 (EDT)

The first batch of Person/Family pages I created (as an experiment) were heavy on Iowa, and I'm at the point now where I need to create a number of new state census pages for various years. (I just did all that in the text box on each page, as a temporary measure.) But the formats for state censuses that I looked at among the existing Source pages are all over the place. Very little consistency at all. So before I made up any new Source pages, I came to the discussion here in search of a style consensus -- but there doesn't seem to be one, not quite. Actually, I'm a little surprised that there should be any support for a state-level census Source. The censuses -- both federal and state-mandated (at least in Iowa and Kansas) -- were enumerated, tallied, and reported at the county level. The local copies were county level and were retained at each county courthouse -- not at the state level. The state government simply received another set of copies, as the federal level did.

The established pattern for the U.S. census is this: United States, Indiana, Harrison. 1850 U.S. Census Population Schedule. If we try to maintain some consistency in patterns (and I'm assuming everyone agrees we should), the Iowa state census ought to appear something like this: United States, Iowa, Mahaska. 1895 Iowa State Census. This is what Dallan suggested (above), except that I've included the county name for the reasons noted. And you don't need to include "Population Schedule" because there were no other schedules in the state census that need to be distinguished; there was just the one.

Each of the state censuses in Iowa (at least) was quite different from those before and after -- much more so than among consecutive federal censuses. There was much less continuity in the information requested and in the way the results were reported from one Iowa state census to the next. But I've looked at each of them and the suggested form seems to accommodate all of them. Can I get some thoughts here? --Mike (mksmith) 10:04, 20 April 2009 (EDT)

Source page order [20 April 2009]

Some of these source page title schemes seem counterintuitive to me. I suppose it's a choice like date order. However, the Place names go from specific to broad, but the sources go the other way, which seems odd to me. Also many citation, reference, and bibliographic schemes already exist such as APA, MLA, Chicago Manual of Style, etc. The newspaper sources generally list the author first if there is one, followed by article title, the newspaper, date and pages. Cities and countries are added after the newspaper name as needed for clarification. If we want a generic newspaper source which allows for article names to go under "Record name" it still seems to make sense for the source page titles to go from specific to general in the location.

Government sources are often listed with the country first, but this is with the government in the role of author:
Canada. Dept. of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Freedom From Fear: Canada's Foreign Policy for Human Security. Ottawa: DFAIT, 2002.
It still makes more sense to me to list census records with the census title first: 1880 United States Federal Census, Clay County, Indiana or something along those lines.
- Parsa 17:12, 7 March 2009 (EST)

WeRelate source citations have particular needs and features that are unique and not necessarily served by typical formats. Usability, reusability, and predictability play a large role. For the extensive discussions on formats that took place before the rules were made, see WeRelate talk:Source Committee.--Amelia 17:36, 7 March 2009 (EST)

Parsa, My understanding is that there has already been a LOT of discussion about naming conventions of sources over a long period of time, and after taking in a lot of different opinions, a decision was reached, which is as you see it. I believe there are number of us who are not happy with the decision, but I believe we need to respect the process that has gone before us, and work within that as best we can. -- jillaine 17:42, 7 March 2009 (EST)

There has been a LOT of discussion about this. The main reason for general-to-specific place ordering was so if you entered "United States, Indiana" into a drop-down you would see a list of all sources for Indiana. However, if we go with the alternative I mentioned above of allowing words you enter in the drop-down to appear anywhere in the source title, not just at the beginning, then we could conceivably title the sources the other way. I only mention this as a possibility because I know it's a common issue, and be assured that if we were to go down this route I'd rename the existing sources automatically.--Dallan 16:16, 17 March 2009 (EDT)

The general-to-specific format which has become the consensus is, indeed, counterintuitive if your background is academic. And mine mostly is. But library-style cataloging and titling is also counterintuitive, . . . unless you're a librarian. As long as it's consistent, I have no problem with the general-to-specific style. (I will insist that consistency is the most important consideration for nearly everything in serious genealogy.) Knowing that simple formatting rule does in fact make it simpler to predict how to search for a place or source, or how to create a new one. And I'm capable of storing more than one style in my head, so it's not a problem. --Mike (mksmith) 10:10, 20 April 2009 (EDT)

Book Source Titles [8 April 2009]

There appears to be an inconsistency in the help files about titling Book Sources. Source title help states: author (in surname, given name format, primary author only) followed by the title. However, the examples shown offer something different:

  • Milner, Paul. A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your English Ancestors
  • Smith, Dean Crawford. The Ancestry of Eva Belle Kempton 1878-1908

In the second example, the author's middle name is included in the title.

I'm just wondering if we can come to a consensus on this, as I've been guilty myself of including more than the author's first and last name in the title.--Jennifer (JBS66) 10:38, 8 March 2009 (EDT)

My impression was that the rule was the name as on the book. If that wasn't it, there ought to be an exception where the author's full name is well known (such as Dean Crawford Smith and Robert Charles Anderson).--Amelia 11:49, 8 March 2009 (EDT)
Well, I just assumed that the given name included the middle name although I must admit I have not clarified the definition of given name. Just include the author's name as referenced in the book and change the help files to make it clearer to everyone. --Beth 19:51, 11 March 2009 (EDT)
I take the guideline to mean that if there is more than one author, you should list the book under the name of the first-listed author. "Surname, given name" doesn't mean you should omit the author's middle name. Speaking as a librarian, the "author's name" is whatever the author says it is on the title page. And that may even change from one book to another -- which is why libraries maintain authority files. I would use the Library of Congress Catalog as the authority on the "correct" author and title of any published book, in any case. And if it's a privately published book that's not in LoC, then follow the LoC pattern in describing it. --mksmith 18:01, 7 April 2009 (EDT)
For simplicity's sake how about if we stick with the author's name as on the book. I'll change the help.--Dallan 09:14, 8 April 2009 (EDT)
Works for me! Thanks everybody for the comments.--Jennifer (JBS66) 09:17, 8 April 2009 (EDT)

Dallan, I see you've edited the help page - I think it's a bit confusing - Sorry! I can just see people putting the author's middle name in parenthesis...

Maybe something like:

  • The suggested title format for books and similar sources is Author Surname, Author Given Name. Title (where the author is as listed on the book). List the primary author only and omit lengthy subtitles.--Jennifer (JBS66) 09:30, 8 April 2009 (EDT)

Journal Titles [17 April 2009]

The format for a journal title as given here is fairly simple (and reasonable): The Name of the Journal.

This is all that's really needed for the title of a source card for THE JOURNAL.

However, In most cases what will be actually cited will be an article within the Journal. That needs a different format.

Normally, I'd expect something like Author, Date. Title of article. Name of Journal volume(issue):pp.

Here is an example:

Major John Hodges Drake prepared a narrative describing an event during the Revolution in North Carolina that he witnessed when 12 years oof age. He wrote the manuscript in old age (probably in the 1830's), but the manuscript was not published until 1900, in Publication s of the Southern History Association.

Normally, the Bibliographic citation for this would read

Drake, John Hodges, 1900. The Revolutionary War in North Carolina, Narrative of John Hodges Drake of Nash County. Publications of the Southern Historical Society 4(1):14-21.

Writing a card title for this source, I'd probably include the entire title and subtitle, as neither makes sense standing alone.

Source:Drake, John Hodges. The Revolutionary War in North Carolina, Narrative of John Hodges Drake of Nash County.--Q 21:32, 16 April 2009 (EDT)

Chicago Manual of Style (scroll down for journal citations) cites four options, depending on placement:

Article in a print journal:

  1. N: 8. John Maynard Smith, “The Origin of Altruism,” Nature 393 (1998): 639.
  2. B: Smith, John Maynard. “The Origin of Altruism.” Nature 393 (1998): 639–40.
  3. T: (Smith 1998, 639)
  4. R: Smith, John Maynard. 1998. The origin of altruism. Nature 393: 639–40.

N = humanities style (a note)
B = bibliographic entry
T = author-date style (an in-text citation)
R = reference-list entry

Which are we following for the purposes of WeRelate?

jillaine 07:48, 17 April 2009 (EDT)

The site does not have a standard format for bibliographic citations such as you point to above. They have standard formats for page titles, but that's not the same thing. I personally use Chicago for bibliographic citations, and Author date for inline-citations, though my format is slightly different than T above (I would write T above as Smith, 1998:639, more simply just Smith, 1998.) Almost no one writes narratives here, so there's little need for inline citation for most folk, so the significance of the distinction does not come up. because people haven't much tried to do this here (write narratives that require referencing) there no reocgnition of the problems that arise trying to use the source page titles as inline citation. I have a decent enough work around for that. Q 09:55, 17 April 2009 (EDT)

Corporate authors [12 July 2009]

Do we have a policy for handling corporate authors? For example, the author of the Roster of the Ohio Veteran Association of Illinois is the Ohio Veteran Association of Illinois. Do I include the author?

Arguing "no":

  • The author's name is included in the title (in this example)
  • Would make for a long Page title

Arguing "yes":

  • It's consistent with how we title other Source pages for books
  • Not all corporately-authored books have their names in the book title. (I'm thinking about the myriad books by genealogical societies that have the society as the author, but the book title doesn't contain the name)

Thoughts, anyone? Thanks --Ajcrow 09:58, 9 July 2009 (EDT)

Annoying, isn't it? Governmental agencies commonly publish works which they ascribe to whoever was in office and "in command" at the time of publication, but actually had nothing to do with the writing of the text. Or sometimes they list the agency as the author. Bureaucratic humbug, I think. So I usually look through the forward, or other places that might contain a note from the actual authors, and go with that. But sometimes these agency gets really really aggressive in eliminating the people who actually did the work and the thinking. Then you're stuck with a corporate or governmental authorship that's pretty much meaningless.
But if that's the best you've got, you probably should include "Ohio Veterans....) as the author. Yes, makes for a very long title at times. The workaround for that is to adopt an "inline" form of the citation---saying using an abbreviation, such as OVEI, use that to create a source title --eg, Source:OVEI 1898, and then create a redirect to the formal title. Since you are going to redirect what you call the inline title is not particularly imporant. It will always go to the formal title via redirect. Q 11:09, 9 July 2009 (EDT)
Speaking in library cataloging terms, yes, you include the name of the organization as the author -- just as if it were a person. Any corporate name you would capitalize can be handled as a "person." I wouldn't worry about the length. (Some human authors have unusually long names, too.) Corporate entries involving government agencies, or where the organization isn't explicitly identified, can be more problematic. For those, there are rules/traditions for how to create a "form heading" -- or, for the latter, you can just give them a title entry. As noted before, if it's a published source, you probably can't go wrong consulting the Library of Congress online catalog. --Mike (mksmith) 12:42, 9 July 2009 (EDT)
Thanks. My instinct was to include the corporate author, since that's what the researcher and soon-to-be librarian-in-training in me are used to doing :-) --Ajcrow 09:08, 12 July 2009 (EDT)

Rephrasing on the Source entry and Help pages [13 July 2009]

I think we need to rephrase the wording about cemeteries on the Source entry page and on the Help:Source page titles pages. It makes it sound like we're trying to make cemeteries "sources." Yes, I realize that we get great info from cemeteries, but a cemetery is not a source. A tombstone can be a source (well, on WeRelate it would probably be a MySource); a book or a website *about* a cemetery can be a source. But to say that a cemetery is a source is akin to saying that "Fairfield, Ohio, United States" is a source. The Help:Source page titles page has an excellent example of adding a website about a group of cemeteries, but the section on Geographically-oriented sources makes it sound like you're to add the actual cemetery. --Ajcrow 09:16, 12 July 2009 (EDT)

Didn't we have this discussion awhile back? I think we decided that a cemetery is a repository (the only kind, in fact, where you can say the "information" actually "reposes". . .) and that the grave markers in the cemetery constitute the sources. I have a bunch of those, all of them, as you say, as MySources. I.e., MySource:Mksmith/Grave marker, Dishman Cemetery, Greene County, Indiana. You could rewrite the Help page. --Mike (mksmith) 10:32, 12 July 2009 (EDT)
You know, we also have cemeteries as places. What if we were to discourage creating sources or repositories for cemeteries? It seems a bit redundant. Also, I don't want to clutter up the Repository namespace with possibly thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of cemeteries. People could still create MySource's for tombstones, which I agree is the major use. Source pages are primarily for storing bibliographic and usage information; I don't think cemeteries need either of those.
If people are ok with this, could someone update the help pages to say that we discourage creating Source pages or Repository pages for cemeteries, but it's fine to create Place pages for them? What do you think?--Dallan 10:18, 13 July 2009 (EDT)
I agree with your assessment, Dallan. --Ajcrow 11:53, 13 July 2009 (EDT)

Proposal to modify Source page title rules [27 July 2009]

Regarding the example given in the "Corporate authors" topic, since the book in question covers geographically-oriented records, and our rules for titling Source pages state that the Source page title for a published book containing geographically-oriented records should follow the "Place. Title" format, the title of the Source page should probably be United States, Ohio. Roster of the Ohio Veteran Association of Illinois I'm wondering if we should change this rule.

I've been thinking more about the upcoming automated Source page renaming to rename existing sources to follow our new naming standards, and I'd like to propose that we change the rules so that Source page titles for all authored books, whether they contain geographically-oriented records or not, follow the "Author. Title" format. This would simplify the rules for titling Source pages to:

  1. If the source is a book with an author, use the "Author. Title" format.
  2. Otherwise if the source is a geographically-oriented record set, use the "Place. Title" format.
  3. Otherwise use just the "Title". This includes websites unless the website content is a copy of an off-line book or geographically-oriented record set, in which case see rules 1 or 2.

These simplified rules will also simplify the program to automatically rename the existing Source page titles, since any source with a human or corporate author can be renamed to the "Author. Title" format. Sources where the "author" is a government office or church of such-and-such place would follow the "Place. Title" format.

If this proposal is approved, I can have my children review and rename the human-entered Source pages to follow this new format.

What do people think about this proposed change?--Dallan 10:18, 13 July 2009 (EDT)

Generally, Yes!. Simplified is better. But....

Ignoring the question about date (by excluding date in the title you really miss including a critical finding cue), there are two/three items that are exceptional (ie, do not follow standard practice):

a) In cases where there are two authors, the convention is to cite them both. (e.g., "Smith, Fred, and John Jones.")
b) In cases where there are multiple authors, the convention is to cite the first author by name, and refer to the remaining authors with "et alia". (e.g, "Smith, Fred, et al.")
c) The US Federal government uses the convention of citing government works by agencies under the name of the department. That is ("U.S. Department of Defense", or more simply "DOE". This works well for them and others, and if you counted up daily citations in the United States, the Federal government would probably account for about 95% of all citation call outs.

Emulating standard practice is a good thing, because people do not have to figure out a unique system. I'm sure this has been hashed over many times, but in the 3 instances above, I don't think the solution that's been arrived at is the best solution.

Part of the problem here is that there's a distinction to be made between a "page title" on a wiki, and a "bibliographic citation". The two are definitely not the same thing, and serve very different purposes. The page title is a finding aid for the item on WeRelate. The Bibliographic citation is the finding aid for the item in the world in general. The needs are very different. For the page title you need something relatively short. That's why, I presume, you've adopted "first author, Partial Title" format for the page title. But even so, the page title now tends to run on, and on, and on, making internal referencing a bit of a problem, not to mention the fact that the input box is usually too small to contain the entire title selected. But that's a consequence of a choice made. Though a good bet has been missed by not going with the simpler Author date, the consequences can be lived with. Its interesting to note that hard disciplines (the sciences) tend to use author date, while the soft disciplines (english, the arts, etc. tend to use author title date.)

Eventually, I hope that the system will insert something like a standard "bibliographic citation" (of whatever format seems good), as the first element of the article's narrative. That could be constructed from the information contained in the input boxes. Call it "bibliographic citation" or simply "citation", this needs to be inserted. With that done, it would then be possible to create custom bibliographies on demand---something always useful in genealogy. Q 10:58, 13 July 2009 (EDT)

Q -- Is your statement about the date referring to another discussion? I don't see it in Dallan's proposal. I know you like to include the date in the page title and I realize that is the standard in the sciences. However, it is not the standard in the humanities (including history). If we're trying to come close to something that people expect to see, we should, IMHO, stick to something closer to the humanities. Also along those lines, CMS and Turabian both advise that you don't use et al for additional authors unless you have four or more authors. I realize that there is a difference between a bibliographic citation and a wiki page title, but since people are looking for sources, it would help if the page titles work in a way that they are familiar with (and close to the standard in the field). --Ajcrow 12:03, 13 July 2009 (EDT)
Yes, that's part of an older discussion. I realize this is a decision that's already been made, and I'm not fighting a rear action for a lost cause. Just pointing out some of the consequences of that earlier decision. As I said, there are work-a-rounds for this. However, the issue being really spoken to is in the distinction between a page title and a bibliographic citation, and I think that distinction was lost in the earlier conversations. As you realize they are not the same. There's a need to keep a page title as simple as possible because:

a) the mechanics of data entry make it better to have something short for a page title. b) long titles are hard to remember c) "First author, Partiall title of the work, (for the page title) matches up with nothing anyone else uses---and so is idiosyncratic at best, and at worst confusing, and makes it harder to predict what the page title for a previously entered work might be. Q 12:22, 13 July 2009 (EDT)

I entirely agree with the proposed solution to this. But I'd like to suggest a way to codify this a bit further, to simplify the task of renaming and as a "template" for future source titles.

  • The academic/bibliographic rule is to list up to three authors; more than three, you use et al. For our page titles, though, this distinction isn't necessary. For the title, use the first listed author only. Additional authors can be listed in the author box, as they are now. (That makes them searchable, doesn't it, Dallan?)
  • For precision, an academician would note the actual role, other than author, of the person given principle credit for a work. "Jones, John (ed.)" or "(comp.)" or whatever. We don't need this in the page title, however. Include this only in the author box.
I agree
  • As pointed out, a short title is preferable to a long one. Again, there's a standard solution/rule for this, called (surprise) the "short title." Include the title up to the colon or semicolon, if there is one. Subtitles can be supplied in the title box, as now. Just saying "partial title" doesn't really tell anyone where to divide a long title, and there will be exceptions -- but publishers, editors, and book-marketing people generally insist on reasonably short titles for business reasons, so it shouldn't be a problem most of the time.
  • Libraries, publishers' catalogs, etc, almost always always delete an article at the beginning of a title (A, An, The) for good and obvious reasons. (This long predates computer sorting, too.) Sometimes they tack it on at the end of the title, following a comma (academic sources almost always do this, though for different reasons). I'd like to suggest we follow the same practice. Omit a leading article entirely.
  • Something that hasn't been mentioned, but I think needs to be considered, is the edition of a published source. Citing a different edition often changes the cited page number, etc. Keep in mind, a later edition is not at all the same as a later printing. The standard practice is to note the edition immediately following the title; if edition isn't specified, it's assumed to be the 1st (and generally the only) edition. This is stated simply as "2d ed.", 3d ed.", "4th ed.", "Rev. ed.", or "Expanded ed." [no abbreviation there], etc. Use whatever appears on the title page or the verso. Also, don't use dates to specify the edition as dates alone generally denote the printing, not the real edition.
In an effort to not create another source citation field, can this be included in the Volume/Page field?

Example: I happen to have a book in front of me called The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War, edited by Robert B. Strassler, a revised edition published 1996.

Page title: Strassler, Robert B. Landmark Thucydides. Rev ed.

Nice and short, logically organized, and all the rest of the information is available a bit farther down on the page. Any comments? Clarifications? Does this meet with everyone's approval? (Or anyone's?) Dallan? --Mike (mksmith) 15:48, 13 July 2009 (EDT)

Looks good to me. Unless others disagree, would you mind updating the help page with this information? I think it's a good explanation.--Dallan 14:22, 23 July 2009 (EDT)
I agree with Dallan and Mike.--Amelia 23:46, 23 July 2009 (EDT)

Most long titles usually become known by a "byname" as it were. Whether that becomes (here) the Page name or not, is another matter. The page title is important more as a matter of mechanical convenience. if its convenient then it will be used. If not, someone will create a redirect to meet their personal needs, as I do with "inline citations". Ultimately, what's important is the bibliographic citation. There are one hundred million variations on what's used. This standard, that standard. Most convey the same information differing only in order or style. As long as the basic data is available as individual bits and pieces, those bits and pieces can be recompiled into any order, and any chosen style---if there's a bibliographic citation included as a page element.
But speaking of Redirects, that has been, I found, the best solution for differing versions of the same work. You just create different inline citations to match the various editions. Thus "Smith, 1933" redirects to "Smith, 1920" where Smith 1920 is the earliest version of this work. This requires that you identify something of the publication history of the work in the narrative, giving different bibliographic entries for for each edition that's being cited.
You bring forward an excellent point about noting a persons role ie, Smith, John (ed.). Sometimes you can't really describe a person as an author, if their role was simply to compile various records into a compilation, and provide no commentary or discussion. (Lots of genealogy like this. The person needs to be credited with their work, but not described (technically) as an author. Allowing for these nuances is not something that seems to be in place.
also, in this vein, I find an issue arising for some works whose publication extends over a prolonged period, with different authors being prominent at different times. Inventing an example (because I'm being too lazy to find a real one): The American Encylclodia of Colonial Biography, published (lets pretend) in 20 volumes over a period of 75 years. The first 10 volumes were edited by Robert Smith, the next 3 by Humphrey Jones, and the remainder by Martha White. Or perhaps everyone one of those 20 volumes has an entirely different set of authors, with no overlap at all. Perhaps this is an instance where no author at all is best. Just the books title. But how do you title that so you can point to specific volumes? Probably "American Encylclodia of Colial Biography, Vol 12", or some such. Q 16:59, 13 July 2009 (EDT)
Q, an "author" is bibliographically defined as the person primarily responsible for the creation of a work, whether that's technically an editor, a compiler, or whatever. But if there's no author, the fallback has always been a "title main entry." Which is exactly the same as the example I gave, but with no personal name. It's used for encyclopediae with multiple authors and such, and it's not a problem. We also haven't been discussing non-published sources, like courthouse records -- yet -- and that's a whole different kettle of fish, . . . although there are several excellent genealogical standards for those already, and I see no need to reinvent this particular wheel. But for published works, I strongly recommend using page titles that mean something when you look at them. Seeing a work whose page title is History of Greene County, Indiana gives you a pretty good idea what it's about. But I don't understand how you think an inline citation with a date in it -- which is a "footnote," not a page title -- is going to distinguish one edition of a source from another.
An inline citation would be something that is inserted directly into the text when citing a work. Footnotes may or may not include citations, but while the call out for the footnote will appear "inline", that's a different approach. If you have a work published several times (not reprinted, though that's another problem area), with revisions each time, then it probably has the same title (usually, but not always). But it always has a different year of publication. Using the Inline citation method you can have two different sources say Source:Smith, 1932, and Source: 1935 both redirecting to to Source:Smith, Adam. The history of My County.
And remember, a reprint by GPC is not a "new edition," but merely a reprint. The fact that the work has been photographically reproduced (meaning that the content is exactly the same) can be dealt with in the body of the page. It's not relevant to how the page is titled. It can also be easily amended by later users without requiring that the page be retitled, thereby messing up people's source listings on the pages they've created or requiring a lot of redirects.
There are reprints and then there are reprints. If its an exact duplication, then its a facsimile, not a reprint. Normally, I'd expect a reprint to have some additional information---perhaps not much, but some. Sometimes there's a new forward, or perhaps a new index has been added. Sometimes its the new forward that contains the information of interest. So in that case, citing Source:Smith, 1932 will do you no good when its Source:Smith, 1935 that contains the new forward. Inother respects the two works might be virtually identical, and described as a "reprint". I would argue that despite the small differences, the two are in fact different works, and would get a different source card. Dallan has suggested the approach here might be to add the date in parenthesis to the end of the title. I've used that for awhile, when it came up, but I'm now thinking a redirect solves the problem more succinctly. Works for me using inline citations, but perhaps not for others.
As my personal opinion: Redirects should not be created casually or wholesale. Certainly not in the early stages of a source's description. To me, a redirect is evidence that you didn't get it right in the first place. It's a work-around, to avoid having to go back and change a lot of pages that refer to it. But that's me. --Mike (mksmith) 10:08, 14 July 2009 (EDT)

Books with a separate edition number (as opposed to reprinting) contain different information. A new edition is used both to correct earlier errors and to expand and include new information. In genealogy especially, the edition information is critical. I have recently been unable to cite a source without a day long side trip into the world of cataloging. I've spent my time laboriously looking up various editions and trying to match them to the catalog pages. (sometimes several days!) Our catalog is a mess. It appears that the entries are geared to what is on a roll of film and not to the original source. The publication information has been overwritten with film production dates and the filmer. It's going to take a lot more than a computer routine to clean up the mess.

Its an interesting problem in terms of the WeRelate universe. Dallan has suggested that when this problem arises the date be inserted at the end of the page title in parenthesis. That works, but creates some ambiguities as well. My approach works well for me since I use an author date redirect (Dallan approved tactic, I might add). Thus I specifically call out the year of publication for this specific edition, it redirects to the main title, where there's a list of "inLine Citations" that redirect to it (or at least there are on sources that I make use of. When the reader follows a source link the end up on the "Main" source page for this work, and can immediately see that there are numerous editions, one of which corresponding to the inline citation that got them to the page. But I now realize that while this works for me, it would work for no one not using author date inline citations---but then, if they aren't using inline citation redirects, the problem doesn't come up for them either. They still have the problem of having to create a different source for each specific edition that they use. In such a case they might still find a redirect to a main source page useful. Rather cluttersome, but that's the choice made when useing "author title" versions. Q 15:09, 24 July 2009 (EDT)
The wiki does make it a sticky problem. What's causing the issue is that the Source pages are trying to serve both as catalog and as citation. A proper citation requires knowledge of the edition used for the reasons I noted. Now that we have implemented gedcom export, your solution is causing a problem in that it is washing out knowledge of which edition was used. I also have been using the source page to include sample citations for the various versions. But it remains important to keep the distinction where there are different editions. I've been trying to give source-linking a try now that so much progress has been made in standardizing page titles so they can be found in search. I can see some value in having a link to the information on the source page. But, I'm still very uncomfortable with the process. And if I can't be certain that someone wouldn't come behind me and change the citation I don't feel comfortable using it and neither would any serious genealogist. It's not just a problem for the items I enter. It's that it makes anything found on WeRelate suspect if it is known that we don't make these distinctions.
I'm beginning to think that maybe a link to the catalog could be an extra feature instead of the only citation. Perhaps the user could choose the citation from the choices on the source page if we for some reason want only one page per "source". This brings us back to the concept of having a citation field. It's a complication, but genealogy isn't simple. We had the same issue with places. It becomes as issue of compromising the data integrity to facilitate the computer wizardry. I realize many users won't know or care what version they used, so if we do combine pages, maybe there can be a default with an alert that there are multiple versions allowing the user to choose if desired.--Judy (jlanoux) 07:47, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
For myself, I'm happy enough with the current system. Makes a bit more work for me, but if the community as a whole is not comfortable with the author date convention, then its better to use something they ARE comfortable with. But you are quite right...the underlying problem, (as is the case in many issues we speak to here) is because something is being used for two different things. On one side, the source page title is being used as if it were a citation call out (ie, so you can make wiki links to it. On the othr hand, its being used as if it were a bibliographic citation. Two separate uses for the same thing. That's okay as long as the uses don't conflict. Here I think they do. That's evidence in the fact that the Author-Title convention in use for the page titles has to be balderdized to get something workable.
  • First we had to cut down the title by eliminating subtitles,
  • Then we had to limit the title to mentioning only one author
  • then we had to eliminate his middle name...
You don't have to eliminate the middle name. (I think I mistakenly renamed a couple of sources a few weeks ago without the middle name, but I re-read the rules and realized that was a mistake.) You can enter the middle name or not, whatever was listed on the book.
  • I've also seen some instances where the title has been further truncated beyond loping off the subtitle (probably to make it fit into the text box).
As I said, I can live with this, as there are workarounds that eliminate the issues (at least for me).

In search of a simpler page title, I would like to see an author surname.Title.ed type format. I see no point in having to memorize all of the author's middle initials. But books are often referred to by author's surname. (e.g. Savage) Trying to use an author, date would never work because some of our more prolific authors produce several books a year, plus it tells you nothing of what the contents may be to distinguish them. You would have the users having to then memorize what books the author published in which year. What is the sense in that?

I wuouldn't have you do anything your not comfortable with. However, the reason that this convention is used is because it gives a very simple, concise, memnotic that is easily learned and typed. That's particularly valuable in a wiki context because the title becomes the link the the description of the work. Here's a work I frequently use:
  • White, Emma. Genealogy of the descendants of John Walker of Wigton Scotland with records of a few allied families, also war records and some fragmentary notes pertaining to the history of Virginia 1600-1902.

Of course, the local convention here is to use

    • White, Emma. Genealogy of the descendants of John Walker of Wigton Scotland with records of a few allied families

or would that be?

  • White, Emma. Genealogy of the descendants of John Walker of Wigton Scotland

or perhaps

  • White, Emma. Descendants of John Walker of Wigton Scotland

Pesonally, I think

  • White, 1902

is a heck of a lot easier to learn, and a lot easier to work with. It certainly has fewer things to remember, and you don't have the problem of remembering what has to be left out.

But this is not something the majority of the community is accustomed to, perhaps seems strange to their eyes, and so, as I said, I'm happy with workarounds. Though the fact that, as you pointed out What's causing the issue is that the Source pages are trying to serve both as catalog and as citation., will continue to create problems for users. Q 10:13, 25 July 2009 (EDT)

Let's concentrate on getting source page titles named sensibly and getting the fields on the pages filled properly. Veering off into a discussion of science papers inline citations isn't helping. Even science papers have to provide complete source information somewhere in the paper.

We do need to get everyone on the same page (figuratively speaking) before we can get a consensus. Knowing what the ultimate product will be will help promote understanding of what our current mission is. I was very disturbed that page titles seemed to be used as the only citation information (back when page titles were non-informative). Dallan tells us now that there is an intention of using the page fields to create a more recognizable citation in the future. I can be content with waiting.

But trying to use the catalog has convinced me that we do need to get the page title rules refined a bit. As stated, they are contradictory and confusing. I wrote a note to that effect over at the source portal, but I don't think it was seen. I still think we need to start with examples of what good source page titles are and it has to be comprehensive to illustrate the whole range of sources. Then we can wrangle with any disagreement about specific examples. And only after that can we formulate good rules for people to follow. Right now our users have to be pretty thick skinned to venture into adding a source page. Because even though their effort indicates they have read the rules and tried to follow, they are going to be told that it's wrong. That is a clear sign that we don't have a good statement of rules yet. I applaude the work that has been done and good progress has been made, but we're not quite there yet.

My proposal for page titles:

  Authored works:  Use author surname. Short title < . Ed or year if applicable>
  Compiled works: same as authored where considerable assembly has been done
  Mere reprints of existing records: Title only  (including genealogy society pubs not authored)
  Government documents (census, county records, etc): Place format already proposed (even though I don't like it, I consider it done)
  Web sites: same as books (author if any), Title (not URL)

One other topic we need to discuss is how to handle books published in a series (as opposed to multivolume works.) LoC uses a single entry to cover all volumes. I've seen it done both ways here.

I'm working on an example list and would like some help so we can cover as wide a range of sources as possible. --Judy (jlanoux) 16:11, 23 July 2009 (EDT)

Why would we change things in the middle just to drop author first name? That adds ambiguity for no reason that I can tell. Also, it should be noted that Q's insistence on actually making redirects for the science-style citations does impose a cost on usability. There are now two copies in the dropdown of all the sources he uses, confusing any efforts to write help explaining how to find/name sources. This could just as easily be done with pipes that would not impact the dropdown For that matter, anyone having issues with not having the full 37 word title can do the same thing (i.e. [[source:real page title|Whatever you want it to say]] .--Amelia 11:04, 25 July 2009 (EDT)

No, Amelia. I certainly don't think you should adopt a solution to any problem, that you are not comfortable with. If you prefer to remember a very long title exactly as its given on the page, then by all means that's what YOU should do. Q 11:15, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
I know you're not asking me to adopt anything, since you've given up having your theory as the standard. My point is that by using the redirects instead of pipes, you are imposing a usability cost on the system that's both annoying now and not scalable -- if everyone were encouraged to simply use redirects to express their preferred source citation, we'd have a significant mess on our hands that would counteract the benefits of coming to a consensus through this process. --Amelia 13:30, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
Really? How so. I realize some folks like to have things very consistent, but as far as I can see this creates no problem at all. Q 13:48, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
When I type in "Savage," in the drop-down, I get "Savage, 1862" and "Savage, James. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England". There are two because you have your preferred title as a redirect instead of using [[Source:Savage, James. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England|Savage, 1862]] . If six, or sixty, other people have their preference as a redirect too, this gets annoying for everyone who would prefer to just pick the page that doesn't result in a redirect, and impossible to explain to new users what is going on and what they should do.--Amelia 14:06, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
Interesting. When I type in "Savage" I get 103 hits from the search engine in the source namespace. [Q]
Now, Now, Q, she's not talking about the SEARCH ENGINE, she's talking about the drop-down menu. In that you get 27 hits (two of which appear to be dupes as well as the "Savage, 1862.") jillaine 15:01, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
Ah!, thanks for the thinking adjustment. So instead of having to "drop down" a list of 26 menu items you have to drop down a list of 27. However, that's an interesting problem you noticed with the way drop down menus' work. The solution to that problem may lie with disengaging what are really two fundamentally separate things: published sources, and government/church records. This is a variant on the same problem Judy was pointing out: two different things being called the same thing. Q 15:26, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
And you are concerned because I've added a single additional variation that you have to sort through. And of course, in this example you chose to search by the simpler "author" rather than search by the full title, even just the source title. Which you did because its a lot easier to simply type the author than the full title. Q 14:32, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
Search and drop-downs are entirely different animals and work on different systems and have different usability concerns. I didn't "search", I typed. I've said many times that starting with author is the easiest way to work the drop-down, I don't disagree with you on that. I in fact strenuously object to having to remember what the title starts with in order to use the drop-down. But I can remember an author name and enough about a title to pick one out, far better than I cam remember whether the Henry Adams genealogy is Adams, 1930 or Adams 1903. But I digress. What I object to, from a policy perspective, is not your one entry. I object to the suggestion that anyone who does not like how the source titles look should create their own redirected page as a solution to that problem. All that does is cause entries in the drop-down that cause further confusion, when the "problem" could be solved by using pipes in the citation instead.--Amelia 15:00, 25 July 2009 (EDT)

As I think about the issues with source titles, I think we're pretty close with these comments. I'll make the proposed change to the help page, and can I ask User:Mksmith to add your additional explanation?

I think the next step needs to be to display ESM-style citations on the Person/Family pages instead of the wiki Source page title. That should go a long way to helping people accept that Source page titles are not attempting to replicate a "real" citation. I'll make that change along with the other changes under discussion in WeRelate talk:Data entry design later this Fall.--Dallan 14:22, 23 July 2009 (EDT)

This will go a long way towards easing end-user frustration. Thank you, Dallan! (Note: I didn't even include how sources appear on a Person/Family/etc. page in my message below.) jillaine 15:18, 23 July 2009 (EDT)

Source Page Titles and the Drop Down Menu [9 August 2009]

It seems like we have yet to reach anything close to consensus about how best to name Source PAGE Titles. The amount of frustration that is generated on a regular basis is pretty severe. After months of witnessing (and participating in) these discussions, it seems like we need to step back and assess where we are-- in large part because the naming of Source PAGE titles is getting confused with the naming of SOURCE TITLES.

  1. (It took me weeks to realize that) There is a difference between a Source Title and a Source PAGE Title. (And it looks like this is a rite of passage that everyone has to go through.) We should make this distinction MUCH clearer, much sooner.
  2. The technology of this wiki requires that each PAGE (no matter what kind/namespace it is) must be unique. Depending on what's been entered in the ADD SOURCE form, a PAGE title is created for each source based on what kind it is; if there is an author, the PAGE title is created from what's in the author field plus what's in the title field; if there is no author, it appears that the PAGE title is place field+title field. (This is an oversimplification; I believe it's much more complex than this.) Actually, it's not. That's exactly what happens--Dallan 22:02, 27 July 2009 (EDT)
  3. The drop-down menu that appears when entering Source TITLES on any Edit page (Person, Family, etc.) when adding a Citation draws upon the Source PAGE title, NOT the TITLE field of the SOURCE. This is probably related to #2 above. BUT from an end-user perspective, this is NOT what is expected.
  4. When searching for a Source on the SEARCH page, the bold, clickable results line is the Source PAGE title, NOT the TITLE field of the Source. I presume that this, too, is related to #2 above. However, the end-user expects to FIND and SEE the SOURCE TITLE, not the title of the PAGE on which the Source is described.

This confusion between a source TITLE and a source PAGE TITLE is driving people bonkers.

Further up on this talk page, Dallan wrote:

What appears in the drop-down: The way the drop-down works is for technical reasons, and could be changed if people want it.

The context in which he wrote this was concerning whether or not the names of redirected pages should be included (and he then went on to say he could remove redirects from this drop-down menu).

But I have a different question for Dallan. If what appears in the drop-down menu can be changed, does that mean that you could have the SOURCE TITLE appear in the drop down INSTEAD of the Source PAGE title?

What's driving a number of us crazy is that in places where we expect to see the TITLE of the Source, we are seeing the title of the source PAGE-- and it's confusing, not intuitive, and makes it difficult to find things-- whether we are entering a source title for a citation or we are using the search engine.

So if there is a better way that we can help end users find the SOURCE TITLE without having to be confused by the title of the Source PAGE, I think we'd go a long way towards reducing the frustration of the werelate community.

jillaine 15:05, 23 July 2009 (EDT)

I get the frustration, but I'm breaking my attempt not to get involved in this discussion (for my own sanity) to point out that neither the dropdown nor the resulting link can operate with just "SOURCE TITLE". It would be a usability disaster. Source titles aren't even remotely unique, and they often do not convey the information you need to identify them in the drop down, even if you know what you are looking for. What's the proper first word for Savage? No idea, but I can find it under Savage. How may books called "Smith Family in America" do you think there are? The Source PAGE titles are done the way they are in part to take care of all this.--Amelia 23:39, 23 July 2009 (EDT)
Jillaine, I don't think I ever realized that there is a difference between the source page title and the source page, even after I read this message until Skater started correcting my source titles. I probably would not have complained so vehemently in the first place if I understood the difference much earlier. --Beth 20:59, 9 August 2009 (EDT)

ADD Source has no field for entering PAGE title [28 July 2009]


I'm liking where the source page titling conventions is going. And I've been reading your revised help text. From the discussion above between you and mksmith, it appears that the distinction between source PAGE titles and source TITLES is becoming clearer.

HOWEVER, I tried to follow your new instructions. The instructions you're writing on the help page here are for PAGE TITLES, but when one selects ADD SOURCE from the upper right corner of a given screen, the only fields available are:

  1. Author
  2. Place
  3. Title

There is no place to enter the name of the PAGE.

Isn't the PAGE title automatically generated based on what's in the above three fields?

Please clarify.


jillaine 15:29, 23 July 2009 (EDT)

This was an issue that confused me enormously as a new user. The help pages went on at length about how pages should be titled. But this is not something a new user encounters. He's presented with a fill in form for most of the pages he's likely to try to create.--Judy (jlanoux) 16:15, 23 July 2009 (EDT)

Okay, I cleaned up both the intro text on THIS Help page, and I also cleaned up the text on Help:Source_pages#How_do_I_create_a_new_source_page.3F to make it clearer.
Amelia, please read both and report on the state of your blood pressure. ;-)
jillaine 11:09, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
None of the discussion about how to get people to implement these rules bothers me -- that's an entirely different, and very important, discussion from this for some reason reopened debate on what the titles should actually be. You're not raising my blood pressure at all :-) --Amelia 13:34, 25 July 2009 (EDT)

Dallan, I see that you changed the text for this HELP page (Source page titles), indicating that people should use these conventions when creating a Source page. But here's the deal: a person cannot CREATE the name of a source PAGE. This is what continues to confuse, frustrate and vex people. If they think they can control the name of the PAGE TITLE when they CREATE a source (Add), they cannot. It's not currently possible. Source PAGE titles are automatically created. They can be RENAMED later (and this Help page appears to be focused on THAT), but the PAGE titles cannot be created at time of ADD Source. I think it unwise to lead people down a path that has them assume they can create a page title at the time they ADD the Source. Please explain your thinking for the edits you just made to this help page. Thanks. jillaine 12:43, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
There are at least two ways that a page can be created. First, you can use the "add function". The only way you can mess that up is to not place the correct information into the specific input boxes. That is, if you put in "John Smith" into the author box, and "A new source" into the title box, you'll get "John Smith, A new source.", not "Smith, John. A New Source". Your opportunities for non-conformance are quite limited, and you've got direct guidance on the page as to what's needed and not needed.
However, you don't need to use the "add function" to create a new title: You can create a new page "inline" as in typing [[John Smith. A New Source]]. If you approach it that way you have a wider opportunity for non-conformance simply because there's no immediate guidance to remind you of the rules, or that the page should have been named [[Smith, John. A New Source]]. I would guess that Dallan was probably speaking to this later issue. Perhaps that needs to be explained explicitly in the guidance ---ie, if you create a page in "inline" mode, be sure to follow the conventions. Q 13:09, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
Q, THANK YOU for explaining this. Now I get it. I've never created a source this way-- although I've clearly created new article pages this way. Okay. That makes sense. I'll work on the help text to reflect this. Dallan has better things to do. jillaine 13:14, 25 July 2009 (EDT)

Jillaine, Could you please also update the help text that appears on the Add source page itself? I think that's the main source of the confusion. It's at MediaWiki:Addsourcepageend.

Mmm... I don't think it's that confusing. I made some slight changes, but it was already pretty good.

Page Title Examples [27 July 2009]

I've created a page for examples. Help:Source Page Title Examples I'm adding to it as fast as I can find some. Please come add any types that you can think of. Then we can use Talk to discuss how any of them should be modified. I would like this page eventually to be available to the users since most people can pick examples easier than they can interpret and apply rules.--Judy (jlanoux) 17:08, 23 July 2009 (EDT)

This looks like a good list. I hope people will comment.--Dallan 22:02, 27 July 2009 (EDT)

German Church Books (kirchenbuch) [27 July 2009]

Dallan et al,

I'm willing to take on renaming the Source page titles for at least a subsection of the German church records. Or is this going to be done via the automatic renaming later this year?

This will be done mainly by the automated rename, although there will probably be some human clean-up work.--Dallan 22:02, 27 July 2009 (EDT)

The import from LDS made them particularly difficult to find. I found this out while trying to find the Source for the Schwenningen church records.

I selected Search:Source with "Schwenningen" in the place. Only TWO results came up, neither one of them what I'm seeking.

I then selected Search:Source with "Schwenningen" in the title field. I got only THREE results, none what I was seeking. (Interestingly, all three of them have "Schwenningen" in the Place field, but only two of these three came up in the first search I did above...!!!)

I then selected Search:Source with "Schwenningen" in the keywords field. I got 29 results! And the item I was seeking was on the 3rd of 3 screens of results! I'd like you to look at these results because they a) demonstrate a problem with the Place search, and b) exemplify how badly titled the Source pages for German church records are.

  1. why aren't 29 results coming up when I enter "Schwenningen" in the Place field. Why isn't the search engine recognizing the "Schwenningen" that is part of "Villingen-Schwenningen"?
  2. what should the appropriate format be for these records? They are currently formatted this way:
  • Source:Kirchenbuch, 1651-1875 (593094)
  • Author: Evangelische Kirche Schwenningen (OA. Rottweil)
  • Title: Kirchenbuch, 1651-1875
  • Places: Schwenningen, Württemberg, Germany
  • Subject: Church records
  • Year range: 1651 - 1875
  • Availability: Family history center

Seems to me that the Source Page titles for Germany church records should follow the Geographic rule, and hence, in this case, be:

Germany, Wurttemberg, Schwenningen. Kirchenbuch, 1651-1875.

However, the problem with this is that the title doesn't distinguish the Katholische from the Evangelische. MY preference would be:

Germany, Wurttemberg, Schwenningen. Evangelische Kirchenbuch, 1651-1875.


jillaine 11:45, 25 July 2009 (EDT)--jillaine 13:25, 25 July 2009 (EDT)

I like that title.--Dallan 22:02, 27 July 2009 (EDT)

Given the recent back-and-forths about the drop-down menu, I also tried out this:

  1. I went to a person page (Person:Ludwig Jauch (1)
  2. I clicked on Edit
  3. I went to add a new citation.
  4. I changed the Source Namespace to SOURCE
  5. I entered Schwenningen in the TITLE and added a space so that the search engine would do its job and look up Schwenningen.

Contrary to all the above examples, only ONE result displayed. This would lead me to believe that there are no other sources in the database/catalog pertaining to Schwenningen.

jillaine 14:20, 25 July 2009 (EDT)

Well, without recreating exactly what you're saying, it sounds like you're looking for sources that START with Schwenningen -- that's what the drop down does, and why we start with author/place, etc., so that behavior would be expected. It's not the most obvious to a new user, yes, but unless we can have drop down results that show up regardless of what they start with (which I agree would be fabulous), it's the reason why we need rules on how to start source names. As for the above examples, yes, search is a complete mess, agreed. --Amelia 14:27, 25 July 2009 (EDT)

Ah... I did not know that's how the drop-down menu worked. (Or if I once did, I forgot, because, um, it's so NON-intuitive). We clearly need a "?" right beside that field to help people understand what it will and won't do. I wonder if at least on the SEARCH page (for Sources, anyway), we could add a line that says something like "If you don't find what you're looking for, enter the word you're seeking in the 'keywords' box; you'll get the most number of results that way." Or something??? jillaine 14:48, 25 July 2009 (EDT)

And Amelia, not to raise your blood pressure, but if the drop-down menu in the Source Citation section of the Edit page is supposed to help people find a source TITLE (which is btw the label on this field), it's not at ALL intuitive that one should first type the last name of an author, or the name of a country. And in the case of Schwenningen church records, I'd need not only to start with Germany, but I'd need to know which province it was in (Wurttemberg or Baden), and I better know how to type an umlauted 'u' on my keyboard-- oh, I do, but my laptop doesn't have a numberic pad on it! Dear g-d, here we go again...
(What's preventing implementation of an any-word search in the drop-down menu?)
-- jillaine 14:55, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
Agreed. And holy cow we have a problem if even you don't know how it works.--Amelia 15:02, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
I'm not sure if I should take that as a compliment or an insult! ;-) -- jillaine 15:17, 25 July 2009 (EDT)
Search is dependent upon the Place wiki. In the case of Schwenningen, it looks like there's a Schwenningen in Baden, one in Wuerttemberg, one in Bayern, and a modern Villingen-Schwenningen that combines Schwenningen, Wuerttemberg with Villingen, Baden. I'm not sure that any historical sources should link to the modern Villingen-Schwenningen; they should link to one of the three historical Schwenningen's. Alternatively, if you wanted a search for a place of "Schwenningen" to include Villingen-Schwenningen, you could add Schwenningen as an alternate name to Villingen-Schwenningen. Jillaine, I know you're an expert in this area; I'll take this off-line with you.
Another issue is that Source:Reinartz, Manfred. Inventuren U. Teilingen links to Place:Schwenningen, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany a place that's not in the Place wiki, so it can't be found by place search just keyword search. If this were a Person or Family page, that place would be automatically standardized to Place:Schwenningen, Württemberg, Germany. I'll add this auto-standardization to Sources and MySources as well, and standardize any "red-linked places" that are found when I rename the sources next month.--Dallan 22:02, 27 July 2009 (EDT)

Proposed changes to search [27 July 2009]

I'll plan to make the following changes to search:

  • display source titles, not source page titles
  • I'll do the same with Person and Family pages: display full names, not page titles.
  • suggest keyword search if you can't find what you're looking for--Dallan 22:14, 27 July 2009 (EDT)

Proposed changes to the source drop-down list [27 July 2009]

I'd like to propose the following changes for the source drop-down list:

  • Make the source drop-down list case-insensitive and accent-insensitive (i.e., é is handled as e and ü is handled as ue).
  • Allow people to enter either the source page title or the source title, so if you typed "Smith" you would see both "Smith, John. Book title" and "Doe, Jane. Smith Family History" in the results. Entering "Smith," (note the comma) would restrict the list to just sources authored by someone named Smith. The drop-down list would display source page titles, not source titles, so you could distinguish one Smith Family History book from another.
  • Remove initial articles from source titles when generating source page titles, so typing "Smith" would also return a source entitled "The Smith Family History".

I could make the drop-down list return results based upon the words being anywhere in the title, but there are a few things to consider:

  • Entering "United States 1880 Census" would return results for all of the county-based census sources in addition to the entire-US census source. It would be difficult to get back just the entire-US census source because all of the words in the enture-US census source are also in the county-specific census sources.
  • Similar problems exist for author names. There are 100 sources with the word "Savage" somewhere in the source page title, but only a couple of dozen start with the word savage. So in general you'd have to type more words to narrow down your drop-down list.
  • The response time would be longer than it would be if it we required the words to be in order.

So if we went with this approach, I think we'd still want the "require words to be in order" approach to be available as well. Maybe something like a what this website provides, with "Words in title" and "Exact start of title" options?

--Dallan 23:39, 27 July 2009 (EDT)

I will agree with the consensus of users that use the source drop down list. I quit using it after I somehow got stuck with a title that I did not want. I only use the find/add function or the add function. --Beth 00:01, 28 July 2009 (EDT)

I like the idea of having titles show up if you sort of know the first word (absent The/A) or the author. (How would this work for place-oriented records, by the way?) I love the case insensitive. I don't like the idea of it being slower and harder to use for things like the census in order to get the any word search, especially since that duplicates the functionality of the find/add. --Amelia 00:11, 28 July 2009 (EDT)

I modified my proposal after you wrote your comment to suggest that maybe both approaches should be provided. I think I'd default to the "Exact start of title" option since as you say, the "words in title" option duplicates the Find/Add functionality.
Place-oriented records would be the same as authored sources; you could start entering either the place or the source title into the drop-down list. We'd probably want to do this for consistency, but I think realistically you'd have to enter the place for place-oriented sources; the titles are just too similar.--Dallan 00:27, 28 July 2009 (EDT)

More proposed source page title changes [11 August 2009]

I hesitate to propose any more changes, but although changing source page title format will be difficult at this point, it will become nearly impossible later on, so I think now is the final time to consider any changes. I'd like to start working on renaming source pages later this week if possible.

  • Include edition optionally at the end of the source page title.
I'd like all information needed for a bibliographic citation to be found in the source page. I don't want to add a "Citation text" field to the citation on the Person/Family pages that people would have to fill in; very few people would do that. If edition is really important, then it seems like we'll need separate source pages for each edition, and maybe even a disambiguation page without an edition after the title to explain the differences between editions.
If we include edition at the end of the source page title, is a period followed by the edition a good approach, or put the edition in parentheses, or something else?
  • Change the place in geographically-oriented sources to small-to-large order.
We're currently using large-to-small place ordering because it provides a nice list of all sources for a geographic area in the drop-down list, but it is opposite from the way places are entered everywhere else, and you can alternatively get a list of sources for a geographic area using Find/Add, so maybe we should change this now and let the automated renaming rename these sources.
I am for this; is this definitely a go? (Poor Amelia) We'll need to change the Help pages. Let me know when and I'll change them. jillaine 08:21, 10 August 2009 (EDT)
I think we should say that it's a go, but I'll need a couple more weeks before I'm ready to rename the existing sources. Let's update the help pages once I start renaming the existing sources. I'll post something here when I've started the rename.--Dallan 00:21, 11 August 2009 (EDT)

A couple of changes that were proposed in the discussion above that I'll list but I don't think I agree with:

  • Using author surname only (without a given name) in the source page title for authored works - it seems that this shortens source titles a little, but also makes them harder to find since you can't enter the author's given name in the drop-down to distinguish one Smith-authored work from another.
  • Using author for websites. I have a difficult time figuring out who the author is on many genealogical websites. Although it would be nice for website source pages to include an author for consistency with book source pages, I think the author will be difficult to find often enough that it's not worth including it as part of the title.

--Dallan 00:47, 28 July 2009 (EDT)

It's not edition as in printing edition, it's edition as in the 1996 edition of Smith Family in America, which builds on the 1930 edition of the same name (with the same author credited first). I would much prefer year in this case because it's easier to determine from the information one commonly has on hand, either from one's own research (such books in my source list give the year, not the number) or the FHC catalog. I've got in my hands the "2009 Edition" of Ancestors of American Presidents, in fact, and I can't tell what number it would be. But. You can't use the years from the FHC catalog - they put in the year that a book was microfilmed, which is irrelevant, so I don't know if you'll be able to do this automatically.

That makes sense. Let's go with year then. I figure that the year will have to be added manually.

If you switch order on the places, can I have back all the time I've spent typing United States, Connecticut, Hartford, Windsor? ;-) --Amelia 01:01, 28 July 2009 (EDT)

Just think of all the time you might save in the future (hopefully typing "Windsor" will bring up the source you're looking for without needing to type the rest :-).--Dallan 17:27, 28 July 2009 (EDT)

Please announce when the decisions are "cast in stone" so we can start using the new rules. I agree that the year makes sense to use for different editions. Genealogy authors and publishers are notoriously bad about identifying editions and other citation niceties. Please lets put the year in parentheses. That's the way I've always seen it. I think "author.title (year)" contains all info needed to uniquely identify a source. The rest of the citation info is the duty of the user to use in his cite. --Judy (jlanoux) 20:16, 11 August 2009 (EDT)

Please go ahead and start adding the year in parentheses to the end of the title when necessary to distinguish the book from other editions. (Could you also please update the help pages?) But don't switch the place order from small-to-large yet. Give me another week or two to start the automated renaming. I'll change the add-source logic at the same time to re-order the place when new source pages are added. I'll announce it once the automated renaming process has begun.--Dallan 23:46, 11 August 2009 (EDT)

Some questions: [28 July 2009]

1. At some point will there be a bibliography generation capability drawing on the data from the left-hand sidebar? if the data there is complete then it should be easy to set something up that would give a list of references in a standard format.

Yes, that's the idea. I'm thinking that we would display an automatically-generated citation on the Source page itself and also on the Person and Family pages having a source citation that referenced the Source.

2. Will there be a standard format for the "narrative" section of the source page? Currently I use this for inserting needed information about the work, including a bibliographic citation, publication history, or whatever. There's no overwhealming need I think to standardize this, and there are certainly other things that need to be done first, but if its to be standardized at some point, like Amelia, I'd like not to spend a great deal of effort putting things in only to see it OBE.

I can't think of any reason to standardize the narrative section.

3. The key for using the source page titles is that there has to be enough information there to make retrieval accurate, and at the same time just enough data to make retrieval efficient. Author's last name only, plus a portion of the title would probably not allow effective discrimination. No matter what approach is taken, there will always be limitations and drawbacks. Finding the solution that has the fewest drawbacks for this application is not exactly an easy problem, and the correct solution is not obvious. The one chosen has the advantage of making immediate sense to more people. It has the disadvantage of being fairly inefficient, both in terms of computational requirements, and in ease of use. Q 08:44, 28 July 2009 (EDT)

If we're talking about entering Source page titles in source citations on Person and Family pages, which I think is the typical use case, by selecting the "words anywhere in title" option, the text "Smith 1882" would bring up books written by Smith with a publication year of 1882 (assuming 1882 is part of the title). This seems pretty easy to use to me. If we're talking about entering source page links into narrative text, things get a bit more complicated. One possible solution is to modify the "[[]]" button in the edit-page toolbar to pop open a dialog where you could enter the page title (of any page, not just a source) with a drop-down list. I could implement that if there was sufficient interest.
--Dallan 17:27, 28 July 2009 (EDT)
For me the issue is primarily in the narrative, though there's an application to the input boxes as well. However, in either case the workaround you've previously approved works well enough as is, probably better than some others. Having a drop down in the [[]] icon would probably be beneficial, though I personally would probably not have a need to use it much. Perhaps we can revisit this later when your solution is implemented and we have a better idea of what works. Q 18:30, 28 July 2009 (EDT)

Latest proposal for renaming source page titles [19 August 2009]

Here is the latest proposal for renaming source page titles. I hope to start the renaming around the end of next week. I'll post a list of proposed renamings for all human-edited source pages early that week.

  • Authored books/articles: first author in surname, given name(s) format. book title for example: Doe, John A. The History of Ramsey County
    • When necessary to distinguish between multiple editions, add the year published to the end of the title in parentheses; for example: Doe, John A. The History of Ramsey County (1931)
    • Don't omit leading articles (like the) from the title. Eventually I'll change the source drop-down so that you can omit them when typing the beginning of a source page title.
  • Government/Church records: place in small-to-large format. collection title for example: Ramsey, Minnesota, United States. Death records 1850-1900
  • Websites: if the website contains a copy of a book or government/church records, see the rules above. Otherwise, use the title of the website; for example: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
  • Everything else: use the title

Comments are appreciated. If you disagree with something or if you think I've left something out, please say so.--Dallan 02:06, 14 August 2009 (EDT)

Don't omit leading articles (like the) from the title
Eventually I'll change the source drop-down so that you can omit them when typing the beginning of a source page title.
Is this a new change? I don't recall the discussion; what's the advantage of this? I'm worried about the caveat "Eventually...".
-- jillaine 09:06, 14 August 2009 (EDT)
I just found the earlier discussion of this (on this page). Well, not discussion, but a comment:
Libraries, publishers' catalogs, etc, almost always always delete an article at the beginning of a title (A, An, The) for good and obvious reasons. (This long predates computer sorting, too.) Sometimes they tack it on at the end of the title, following a comma (academic sources almost always do this, though for different reasons). I'd like to suggest we follow the same practice. Omit a leading article entirely.
I'm open to omitting the leading article entirely from the Source page title (but still keeping it in the title field). Any other votes for or against?--Dallan 00:05, 17 August 2009 (EDT)
Definite vote for omitting the leading article. This has been driving me nuts since I first joined WeRelate. --Beth 02:15, 17 August 2009 (EDT)

Are the following true?

Use author's name as it appears on the source, if you can determine it. (e.g., spelling, use of middle names, initials)
Only use one author, regardless of how many there were.
Organizations and government agencies do not count as authors.
Compilers and editors are treated like authors (putting many geographic sources under the authored format, if the next one is true)
The "authored" rule trumps the geographic place rule

If so, and if you're planning on use the FHL catalog names to do the auto-rename, I think their rules seem to be different, and we'll need some human cleanup. How are you planning on differentiating between authored and non-authored automatically by the way?--Amelia 20:12, 15 August 2009 (EDT)

I agree with everything that Amelia says above, except that I was thinking that we would treat non-government/church organizations (e.g., genealogical and historical societies) like human authors. So sources of type Book would have the author listed in the title even if the author was a historical society, but sources of type Government/Church records would have the place listed in the title instead. I've reviewed the authors listed in FHLC sources and I've come up with a set of patterns/keywords for distinguishing a government/church author from a human/organization author. It's not perfect, but it looks like it makes the right decision most of the time. I should be ready to post some examples of how source pages would be renamed tomorrow evening.
Going forward, I thought that I would add the "Source type" field (the one with values like "Book", "Government/Church records", etc.) to the "Add source page" screen, and I'd construct the source page title from what the user enters in the author+title fields if the source type is Book, and construct the source page title from what the author enters in the place+title fields if the source type is Government/Church record. For other source types the source page title would be constructed just from what the user enters in the title field.
Does this approach sound ok?--Dallan 00:05, 17 August 2009 (EDT)
I am in total agreement with using the author format for books, even if it's a society. Otherwise it's impossible to distinguish from the source for the original records. But the current pages all say type = "Misc" instead of book because the records were created for microfilms and not the original. The publication info is also usually wrong. I've been cleaning up as I use one, but how are you going to tell it's a book when it doesn't say "Book"? --Judy (jlanoux) 08:39, 17 August 2009 (EDT)
I agree with using societies as authors, when applicable. I think one of the keys to ease-of-use is consistency. Avoiding "do this, except when it's that" should help the user experience. (Plus, it's in keeping with what genealogists are supposed to do with citations. And, yes, I know the difference between the citation format and a WR page title <g>) --Ajcrow 16:04, 17 August 2009 (EDT)
I agree completely with treating organizations and other "non-human" authors the same as individual humans. Corporate entries are the standard in bibliographies; it's not in any way a new idea. However, this is also the case, as I interpret it, with government agencies as authors, and I seem to be in the minority here. I confess, it bothers me that something like American State Papers can't have its author listed as "U.S. Congress" (or even "United States Congress"), which is how it's always been rendered. I think, in some cases, people are confusing geographical constructs with administrative subdivisions. --Mike (mksmith) 13:49, 18 August 2009 (EDT)
Arguably, the US government is the biggest producer of documents in the world. They consistently use the agency name as the author of works written by government personnel. They find no difficulty in making this work. Of course, what you title a page may not be the same as the bibliographic entry for the work that page pertains to. However, Ajcrow's comment about consistency is apt, and on target. Q 17:03, 18 August 2009 (EDT)
Since I don't like having any organizations as authors on usability grounds, I certainly don't want government agencies as such. I think this has the effect of giving credit to whoever paid for the records compilation, and will make things more complicated rather than less. If we want these titles findable in the drop-down, make them start with something predictable, and I doubt a government agency is going to be, because those types of records are typically going to be geographic, and they should fall under that rule. Plus government agencies often have excessively long official names interfere with the goal of the name being reasonably short and easy to determine.--Amelia 21:34, 18 August 2009 (EDT)
giving credit to whoever paid for the records compilation -- Amelia, I'm sorry, but I don't even know what this means. The taxpayers foot the bill for the publication of government documents, but so what? What has that to do with anything? Tens of thousands of scholars and researchers and library-users have been dealing with corporate-author entries for most of a century (since the first cataloging rules were published in the 1920s) and there has been no popular uprising against it. There's no reason here to reinvent the wheel; the FHL tried it and largely failed, trying to squeeze everything into a geographical system. I don't know what the "usability grounds" are that you object to, either. And the name of a government agency is far more "predictable," since they almost never change over time, than a document title -- more predictable than a human surname, for that matter. The names of government agencies, as used in bibliographies, are rendered in a highly standardized (and therefore highly predictable) hierarchical format -- which is organizational, not geographic. This is what I meant, above, when I said people confuse the two. E.g., the "American Battle Monuments Commission" is responsible for the cemeteries of U.S. servicemen overseas, as at Normandy. Does that mean their publications and directories should be filed under "France"? --Mike (mksmith) 08:48, 19 August 2009 (EDT)
. . . And another excellent example has just popped up on my watch list: Source:United States, Louisiana, St. John the Baptist. Marriages. When I created this Source page, I put St. John the Baptist Parish in the title field, as part of the title. I repeat, this is the government entity that is the author of the marriage records, by every standard and interpretation I know. (I should probably have put it all alone in the author field, but I was thinking in author/title terms.) But that author/title info has now been deleted and moved down to the places-covered field for the purposes of the renaming bot-project, and that's the only place it appears on the page. Should it not have been moved up to the author field, if it had to be moved at all? The point is, this is a confusion (again) of "geography" with "government." For bibliographic purposes, the fact that the author is a political entity whose name is the same as its geographical location is irrelevant. The information can be duplicated between the author and places-covered fields if that's useful in programming the search system -- but it ought not to be deleted from the bibliographic fields entirely. The title of the source, as it now stands, is just "Marriages." That's not very useful. What is the author portion of the Source page title eventually going to be? Will it be "St. John the Baptist, Louisiana, United States. Marriages"? If that's the intention, I can go back and move the governmental entity info up to the author field. (I've been creating a lot of these pages in the process of posting the First Families of Louisiana lineages, and I've kept a list of all the sources I've created.) I'd rather do that than have the information unnecessarily and misleadingly demoted. --Mike (mksmith) 09:44, 19 August 2009 (EDT)
I'll try to explain in the three minutes I have today. If we have different title rules based on "authored" v. geographic, I think it is easier to have the geographic rule trump the authored rule than vice versa. I've used any number of vital record sets that technically have an "author"/compiler/editor, whatever. But if I'm looking for the vital records of X town, I don't know who the "author" is, but I do know where I'm looking. It makes sense to emphasize in the page title the important information about where the record sets cover. At least when there is one author, that person's name is usually readily determinable. But when there are organizations doing the compiling, what is the difference between the organization doing the "authoring" and the "publishing"? The vital records of Mass often say "published by the Essex Institute". Are we going to consider that "authored" for our purposes? I don't see the difference between that and what you're proposing, but I think it would be ridiculous to list them under the Essex Institute, and I shudder at trying to define that rule. As far as what card catalogs do, my long ago library classes suggested to me that they listed things under both title and author, a luxury page titles do not have. And I confess I do not understand the problem in your Louisiana example. What problem is there with it being a geographic source? That's just where I would expect it, and the confusion you seem to be having would be eliminated by stopping worrying about who the author is.--Amelia 12:34, 19 August 2009 (EDT)
I know it's a gray line between what's considered an authored book and what's a set of government/church records. I certainly don't think we'd want to give something with just a publisher a source type of Book. As I've been thinking lately about automatically generating source citations, I've been thinking that the rule should be: if you want the place covered field to be part of the author portion of the citation, as in "United States, Louisiana, St. John the Baptist, County Clerk's Office, Edgard" then you should choose a source type of "Government/Church records". Otherwise choose a source type of Book.
A big problem is the current difficulty in searching sources. It's almost impossible to find sources by place because too many irrelevant sources get returned. So using the drop-down to find sources by title is currently the only workable approach. I need to change source searching so that if you search for sources in Connecticut you get sources with a place covered of Connecticut returned before sources covering towns in Connecticut. What's interesting is that if you search for people in Connecticut, you don't care whether the people returned have events that just specify Connecticut vs. a town in Connecticut. This is the crux of the problem -- I've been using the same ranking algorithm for sources and people, but it needs to be different for searching sources. Fixing source search is the next thing on my list once the source renaming is complete.--Dallan 16:25, 19 August 2009 (EDT)

Dallan, when you change the Source page titles, will the robot (or whatever) also update all the citations to that source in all the pages on WeRelate? (I'm assuming it will, but I thought I'd better ask.) --Mike (mksmith) 21:58, 16 August 2009 (EDT)

Mike, wait on Dallan for the official answer but from past experience I believe you just get a redirect. --Beth 22:21, 16 August 2009 (EDT)
As Beth says, I'm not planning to update the linking pages. So those pages will continue to link to the old source titles, but as with any rename, if you click on the link you'll be redirected automatically to the renamed source page. At some point I plan to update Person and Family pages and replace renamed Place and Source page links with the new page title, but that's probably 4-6 months from now unless someone campaigns for it to be done earlier. --Dallan 00:05, 17 August 2009 (EDT)
Yes, I finally remembered that someone (probably you . . .) had said this in a previous discussion. I admit it: I'm offended (aesthetically) by redirect links. It's like doing a DIY project in your home and leaving the scraps lying around the floor. If I think better of the way I've titled a Person or Family page I've just created, I can rename it and (since I'm the creator and no one else links to it) I can then delete the old version. Much tidier. But I can't do that with a Source page I've also just created. Why is that? On the mass-renaming thing, Dallan, I have no problem whatever with waiting for it to happen after more pressing issues are resolved. (When do you sleep, anyway?) --Mike (mksmith) 13:49, 18 August 2009 (EDT)
I'm going to run a process that deletes Source and Place redirect pages that nobody links to sometime in September, once the source renaming is completed. (We currently have way too many place redirects and after the source rename we'll have 900,000 source redirects, which I definitely want to get rid of.) And I plan to run this process periodically. So if you rename a source page and then remove your (and others') links to the old source, you can know that eventually the scraps left behind will get picked up.
When you do get to the relinking, can you try to preserve any customization that was done with info behind the pipe? I finally woke up and realized that this works to resolve the MySource 'branding' concern. It can display however I like. I'm also using it to get nicer looking citations. Works great.--Judy (jlanoux) 09:36, 18 August 2009 (EDT)
Will do.--Dallan 16:25, 19 August 2009 (EDT)

So what is going on right now? I'm getting lots of changes by Solveig and Taylor in my watchlist, but I'm not sure I understand the goal. Can you tell us just what is going to happen? I see certain edits that don't create fields that will result in a proper page title, and I'm not sure I understand whether it's because it doesn't matter, or you're just focusing on one field at a time, or because humans aren't perfect editors. I also don't know if we're supposed to do things like drop the place name in the title field, or whether that will be taken care of (is the proper title for California Death Index 1940-1997 just Death Index 1940-1997? Seems odd for bibliographic purposes.)--Amelia 21:53, 18 August 2009 (EDT)

Currently Solveig, Taylor, and I are going through various lists of pages with likely problems and trying to fix them up. We may be making some mistakes (that's certainly possible), but the goal is to set up the fields so that the automatically-generated page renamings will be correct, and so that we'll be able to generate good source citations in the future. I just wrote up WeRelate:Source renaming project about the project. We're going to need everyone's help to complete this project, so I hope everyone reading this will click on that link and get involved.

I'd like to distinguish between what's in the source page title and what will be in the generated source citation. For government/church records, the place covered field will go into the source page title, but based upon my reading of ESM's book, the generated source citation should also include the government agency as author. We use place covered instead of agency in the source page title mainly because determining the proper agency is difficult and it's often long.

In Mksmith's example, I moved St. John the Baptist out of the title and into the place covered field so that the source page title would be renamed correctly. St. John the Baptist is the name of a Louisiana parish (county), which isn't a government/church agency. If I knew the specific government agency responsible for the records, say the County Clerk's office in Edgard, I would put "County Clerk's Office, Edgard" in the author field. I anticipate that the generated source citation for government/church records will follow the format:

place covered large-to-small, author. title.

which would result in a citation of:

United States, Louisiana, St. John the Baptist, County Clerk's Office, Edgard. Marriages.

which is the way the citation should appear based upon my reading of ESM's book. In the event that the author field is blank, the generated source citation would be:

United States, Louisiana, St. John the Baptist. Marriages.

which doesn't seem too bad.

In the California Death Index example, I moved California to the place covered and made the title "Death Index 1940-1997". With this change the page title will become "California, United States. Death Index 1940-1997", and the generated citation will eventually be "United States, California, State of California. Death Index 1940-1997" because the author in the source is listed as "State of California". Maybe the author should be "California Department of Health Services" instead of "State of California"; I don't know.

I want to use the source type field to determine which fields to use to generate source citations and what order to put them in. For cases where it doesn't make sense to begin the generated citation with the place covered, like the American Battle Monuments Commission being responsible for cemeteries of U.S. servicemen overseas, maybe we could use another source type, like Book, which would begin the generated citation with the author field?

Alternatively, I could remove place covered from the generated citations for government/church records and instead generate government/church record citations using just author. title, the same as for books. But then we would have to ask people to include the place covered as part of the author. For example, the author in the above example would need to be written as "United States, Louisiana, St. John the Baptist, County Clerk's Office, Edgard" in order for the resulting citation to follow ESM style. I'm not sure that I like this because it imposes more work on people and more chances for non-experts to get it wrong, which is why I wonder if we could use a source type of Book for those cases where it makes more sense to start the generated citation with the author instead of place covered.

I put the source titling rules in a table at WeRelate:Source renaming project. Eventually I'd like to move the table to this help page, but I didn't want to have discussions about it in two places at once, so I thought I'd put it there for now.

Again please get involved with the WeRelate:Source renaming project and review what your sources will look like once they've been renamed.--Dallan 13:24, 19 August 2009 (EDT)

Author roles [18 August 2009]

This is slightly off topic as it isn't strictly page title, but has been bothering me for a while and now seems the appropriate time to discuss.
While it is practical to title the page with an author's name without qualifiers, I would like to see the author data field on the source page to include the qualifier (editor, compiler, translator, etc.) as is usually done. Since our source pages already have the name in surname, given format, we would use - surname, given, role - which is the standard usage. If for some reason this is objected to we could use the (ed.) format which is sometimes seen and might be easier for the computer to recognize as a role. We are going to such lengths to make nice catalog pages, it seems odd to delete this information in a field where most often the author isn't an "author". --Judy (jlanoux) 10:03, 18 August 2009 (EDT)

I've added the concept of author role to the renaming function, but I haven't added it to the "Add source page" function yet. So if the author of a book is listed as "Doe, Jane, editor", the source page title will begin with just "Doe, Jane." Currently I omit ending words of editor, compiler, and ed., but I forgot about translator, so after reading this I'll change the renaming code to omit everything after the second comma when using the author field to generate the source page title.--Dallan 13:24, 19 August 2009 (EDT)

Repository Types [19 August 2009]

Wishlist item for someday when Dallan gets caught up on sleep... Can we please have some extra repository types on the source page drop down? Right now the only recognized types are FHC and websites. Everything else is a mere "other". I would like to see Courthouse, Library and Archives added to the list.
For some reason this field is only on the source page and not on the repository page. If it were on the repository, the source could pick it up automatically. --Judy (jlanoux) 10:21, 19 August 2009 (EDT)

Judy, I certainly concur. See Source:Georgia Department of Archives and History as an example. The automatic source updater has just changed the type to website. It is actually a physical building. The Georgia Archives does have a website, Georgia's Virtual Vault (didn't lookup the exact name) where the archives has databases and images online. There needs to be a distinction. Some archives actually have the online databases accessible from the main archives webpage. Peerhaps those could be listed as a separate source. The Alabama archives has a Civil War database and recently is adding a WWI database. --Beth 10:32, 19 August 2009 (EDT)

A couple of thoughts: First, many of our "sources" are actually repositories, not sources. You wouldn't cite Source:Georgia Department of Archives and History as a source for example. What ought to happen is this Source page should be renamed to a Repository. You can rename sources as repositories, so please feel free to rename them when you find repositories being listed as sources.
When I initially set up the repository type field on the Source page, I intended it to be used to answer the question "How can I access this information?" so that eventually we could have a "GenSmarts-like" filter where people could say "show me only sources that I can access on free websites", or "include paid websites also". So I can add other types, but I'd like them to be along this line. Library as a type could make sense, especially if we linked to WorldCat so people could see which libraries it was in. Archive might also make sense, especially if we used it for any repository that you had to visit in person. Maybe I should rename "Repository Type" to "Accessibility" or something?--Dallan 13:24, 19 August 2009 (EDT)
I don't see any reason to change the name. Repository Type is pretty clear. I wasn't sure of the purpose, but a list of Repository types that included only FHC and websites seemed strange. It didn't account for the places I visit. I understand the GenSmarts reference as I have an old copy to demo for my students. But I don't understand how adding a few more choices would upset the apple-cart. Anyway, this can wait until the big rename is over. I've just been spending a lot of time crafting sources wanted to mention it before I forget. --Judy (jlanoux) 15:17, 19 August 2009 (EDT)

Geographic source rule [14 October 2009]

What was the final rule on geographic sources that have authors, of human, government, or society variety? I thought I knew, but I can't find it, and I'm pretty sure this page is either wrong or just not real clear.--Amelia 00:24, 30 September 2009 (EDT)

The final rule is what is actually stated on the page.
Here's what on the page now (10am est 1 Oct 09): "Most church and government records follow the Place. Title format. Records specific to a geographical area also should use this format unless they have an author (e.g., Source:Arnold, Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636–1850)."
I don't think that exception is correct. I'm going to go back and look at the discussion again. jillaine 10:04, 1 October 2009 (EDT)
I reviewed all of Dallan's final decisions on the rules before I began rewriting the page. And I rewrote the examples on the page to reflect the new style, but you're switching them back to the old style, which is obsolete as soon as the program finishes its run. The old style for an authored book is "Arnold, James N." The new style, which I changed it to, is surname only: "Arnold, Vital Record of Rhode Island." I thought that was clear to all. And I had changed "United States, California. Death Index, 1940-1997" to reflect the new, smallest-to-largest style: "California, United States." You changed it back to the old style again. By the way, you can't insert a "wiki indent" in the form of a colon between any paired HTML tags. It destroys the tag. Did you preview the result before you saved it? --Mike (mksmith) 21:37, 30 September 2009 (EDT)

Mike, I watched the discussion on source names at least as closely as you did, and I never saw even a suggestion that we would use surname only. Moreover, I'm watching sources that have been changed since this started, and haven't seen any that were changed to surname only. If you can point me to that rule, I would appreciate it so I can figure out what I missed. As for the California bit, I copied and pasted because you asked for an example (one that was already there) and picked the wrong one. Thousands of apologies. And yes, I previewed, but I was reading the whole page and didn't catch the mistake. Thank you for fixing it for me.--Amelia 00:15, 1 October 2009 (EDT)
I'm with Amelia; I never saw any reference to surname only in the author part of the Page Title. jillaine 10:00, 1 October 2009 (EDT)
It was in a discussion, but now I'm not finding it. Perhaps it was all a bad dream. Sorry about that; I'll go back and change that section of the Help. --Mike (mksmith) 12:16, 1 October 2009 (EDT)
The new format for books definitely keeps the given and middle names in the title. But I just removed the "Arnold" example because of my belief that we decided that books, even human-authored books, that were transcriptions of government/church records were to use the place-title format. I wonder in hindsight whether we should have said that only government/organization-authored transcription books use place-title format and that human-authored books always use author-title format. Over time as people don't understand or don't like this exception I believe that we'll end up with two source pages for many of these books, one in place-title and one in author-title format. But I think that's ok - having two source pages is not going to hurt anything. Anyway, please feel free to re-instate this example if I removed it in error, or use it under the books section.
Overall I'd like to thank Mike for an excellent job re-doing this help page! It reads much better now.--Dallan 13:26, 2 October 2009 (EDT)

I agree that we decided that geographic records always use place.title. Because for every Arnold or Barbour, there's are probably several vital record sets that only accidently have an author -- for example, several of the Mass VR's have the Essex Institute listed as the author, or the head of one of the organizations that worked on transcribing, which would make for different formats for records that are essentially the same thing. Yes, the anal will know there's an author, but hopefully they will also read the instructions! But you're right, it's not a big deal if we have two copies. --Amelia 00:08, 4 October 2009 (EDT)

Gedcom Export [15 October 2009]

(moved discussion from above)

Sorry to be such a pest; but while adding a source citation to this source Source:California, United States. Death Index, 1940-1997; I just realized the actual title of the database will not appear in my citation when exported; California will be excluded. I expect the exact title of the database I am citing to appear. You don't have to change anything or I could change the title since the renaming project is over, or I could revert all of my citations to this source page to MySources. --Beth 22:49, 14 October 2009 (EDT)

Are you saying that the gedcom export uses the title field instead of the page title? Yuck. That's going to create a lot of problems after the page rename. This page title is as expected, but that wasn't an expected consequence based on the discussions that generated that rule. They can be fixed by changing the title field at this point, but I don't know how we find the ones where the place was dropped.--Amelia 00:39, 15 October 2009 (EDT)
It's an easy change to use the source page title in the gedcom export instead of the title field. On the other hand, it's not that difficult to edit the page and correct the title field. This may be the preferred solution, since it seems unlikely that the source page title would result in the desktop genealogy program generating a correct citation. What do others think?--Dallan 21:29, 15 October 2009 (EDT)
Amelia, rechecking the export seems to use both; but the source citation will need a total overhaul, so I don't think it matters too much at this point that California is not in the page title.

Example of endnote created by Legacy 7 from WeRelate gedcom export.

1. Text content at is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License: .... 1850 U.S. Census Population Schedule, NARA M432, roll 78, p. 177 (front). Full source text:,_Georgia,_United_States._1850_U.S._Census_Population_Schedule Authors:,_Georgia,_United_States._1850_U.S._Census_Population_Schedule?action=history .... 1880 U.S. Census Population Schedule, NARA T9, roll 1297, SD4, ED33, p. 139. Full source text:,_Texas,_United_States._1880_U.S._Census_Population_Schedule Authors:,_Texas,_United_States._1880_U.S._Census_Population_Schedule?action=history

--Beth 09:54, 15 October 2009 (EDT)

Beth, I'm still not sure why you say that the source citation will need a total overhaul.--Dallan 21:29, 15 October 2009 (EDT)

One more thought on the geographically based resources [15 October 2009]

Realizing that page titles are not the same as source titles, I offer the following problem (IMHO) of having *all* geographically-based resources follow the Place. Title. format.

When you have a book such as Laclede County, Missouri, Lebanon City Cemetery, 1857-1979, Calvary (Catholic) Cemetery, by Ruth Edwards, and you have it follow Place. Title, it comes up with a page title of Lebanon, Laclede, Missouri, United States. Laclede County, Missouri, Lebanon City Cemetery, 1857-1979, Calvary (Catholic) Cemetery. That's long, redundant, and (again IMHO) not user-friendly.

The comment was made earlier that "the anal will know there's an author, but hopefully they'll follow the instructions." What about those GEDCOMs that are being imported where people have included the author on such a source? Isn't this going to make it harder for people to match up MySources to Sources? It really is not intuitive that an authored source doesn't include the author in the page title.

Yes, I know this already been decided. I just needed to vent a little bit. -- Amy (Ajcrow) 11:08, 4 October 2009 (EDT)

Respecting your need to vent, I'll just mention that the most correct title for that source under the rules is Lebanon, Laclede, Missouri, United States. Lebanon City Cemetery, 1857-1979, Calvary (Catholic) Cemetery, which is a little shorter. But I don't know if the system is automatically deduping place names in titles (I suspect it isn't), so it would only happen if it were human edited. And the author's still on the page for gedcom-matching searching purposes.--Amelia 12:32, 4 October 2009 (EDT)
The original page was automatically renamed to Source:Lebanon, Laclede, Missouri, United States. Laclede County, Missouri, Lebanon City Cemetery, 1857-1979, Calvary (Catholic) Cemetery. -- Amy (Ajcrow) 12:49, 4 October 2009 (EDT)
I agree that the page title is pretty (overly) long in this case. It's water under the bridge now. In this particular case I think I would rename the source page title to be shorter. In the general case I think the best thing to do is to display both the page title and author in cases when knowing the author would be helpful. For example, I plan to modify the drop-down list to display the author under the source page title. And when I introduce source matching in the gedcom upload process I'll have to display author there as well. Are there other instances where displaying the author would be helpful?--Dallan 21:44, 15 October 2009 (EDT)

Periodicals [23 October 2009]

I'm confused about what to add and where to add it when I create a new Source page for a periodical. For example, I wanted to add the Columbiana County Chapter, Ohio Genealogical Society's Newsletter. The Add a Source page says, "Periodical: enter the publisher if you know it." So I added the publisher as Columbiana County Chapter, Ohio Genealogical Society in the Publisher field and Newsletter in the Title field. I thought it would generate a page title of "Source:Newsletter (Columbiana County Chapter, Ohio Genealogical Society)", but instead it came out as "Source:Newsletter" (which won't be very helpful in finding the right source page later.)

Is the convention for the page titles for periodicals Title (Publisher)? If so, should the Add a Source automatically format it that way or should we change the instructions on the Add a Source page? --Amy 08:57, 23 October 2009 (EDT)

Amy, I ran into this exact problem the other day, and left a post about it on Dallan's talk page. He says it's a bug and it'll be fixed shortly (more or less). In the meantime, I just renamed the page title by hand to fit the style -- and the proper form is exactly what you were expecting it to be. --Mike 16:23, 23 October 2009 (EDT)
I think it's fixed now. I created one this afternoon and it gave the proper page title. --Judy (jlanoux) 18:30, 23 October 2009 (EDT)

Annual reports [2 November 2009]

What format should an annual report from a government agency/institution take? My specific example is the Biennial Report of the Board of Managers of the Michigan Soldiers' Home, which was published every other year. (Ok, it's not technically an annual, but the same question applies ;-) Would you say it's a periodical or a government/church record? And if it is a government/church record, would you create a generic page for it and have people give the specific year in their citations or make a new page for each edition? I'd lean toward a generic record, but would like the consensus of the group. -- Amy 08:19, 1 November 2009 (EST)

Hi, Amy--- What you're talking about is a "serial" that happens to have a government agency as its author. (A "periodical" is different, actually.) Most commonly, they have the year of issue as a sort of subtitle -- "Biennial Report of the Michigan Soldiers' Home: 1920." In the real world, the bib cite would be something like "Michigan Soldiers' Home. Board of Managers Biennial Report. 1920 ed." The thing is, it serves the whole state of Michigan, so trying to apply the new style would produce something like "Michigan, United States. Soldiers' Home Board of Managers Reports." I don't know what state agency was responsible in Michigan, since it varied from state to state. (My own experience is with records from the Homes in Milwaukee & Leavenworth.)
Personally, I'd make the agency (whatever it is) the author -- since it is the author. Make "Biennial Report" the generic title and include the info for each separate biennial edition in the text box on the page -- assuming there's anything useful to say about one year over another. If there isn't, you could just say "Published 1920-1985" and leave the specifics of your particular edition for the citation detail text box on the Person page where you're citing it. --Mike 16:42, 1 November 2009 (EST)
Thanks, Mike. I knew that "periodical" wasn't the term I was looking for :-) Hopefully I'll enter the info clearly enough so that someone can find it in the drop-down later if they need to! -- Amy 08:59, 2 November 2009 (EST)

Well, that didn't work :-( Even though I put "Board of Managers of the Michigan Soldiers' Home" in the author field, the page title still came back as "Michigan, United States. Biennial Report." (following the rules and selected "government/church records" as the type. ARRGH! This is another reason why I have such a hard time not making a book a "book." So, do I break the rules and make it a book or do I change the title of the work to something like Biennial Report of the Michigan Soldiers' Home so that I can have a meaningful Page Title? (I cancelled the addition of the page.) -- Amy 09:09, 2 November 2009 (EST)

I would call it a book. If you use the Gov/Church, it will presume geographic and that isn't appropriate for some things. I'm getting ready to go fix Hinshaw. They have it hidden under "United States". <bah!> Basically Book = author format and Gov/Church = geographic format. --Judy (jlanoux) 09:35, 2 November 2009 (EST)

Country-level census sources? [25 December 2009]

I notice that we have a sentence on the primary page here: (Please do not create country-level source pages for the census. Citations should be to the county level where possible.).

It seems to me that if we're ever going to do semi-automated GEDCOM source matching we need to remove this restriction. US censuses (without the county) seem to be very popular in GEDCOM's. Can we remove this sentence and allow people to create country-level census sources?--Dallan 00:32, 13 December 2009 (EST)

We already have the US ones. So I don't see any reason for denying the other countries.
Yesterday, I was amazed to see that counties are linked back to the US pages. We seem to have created a lot of complexity. I'm sticking with the US source from here on. --Judy (jlanoux) 10:09, 13 December 2009 (EST)
Agreed with Judy's first statement - that line is there so people don't start creating more duplicates of what already exists (I think). Either that, or it used to say "state", and I thought at some point we had decided to create state pages for just this reason.
Judy, what do you mean about the counties linking back to the US pages adding complexity? Do you mean the templates? Those are there to avoid the duplication of year-specific information on every single county page... the hope was the opposite of complexity. Using the country-level pages (if you have a choice in your data entry at this point) leaves out the ability to get the "what links here" information for a county census, which would seem to be one of the top reasons for bothering with county level (I don't mean to get into yet another debate on how to do census cites at this point - just a minor reminder that there is a point to the structure.)--Amelia 18:29, 13 December 2009 (EST)
I removed the sentence.--Dallan 23:53, 25 December 2009 (EST)

Censuses of England and Wales [1 September 2010]

On the main page it states that the standard format for censuses of England and Wales is to include the county name when citing them. That is totally, completely and utterly wrong. Each decennial census of the United Kingdom is and always has been carried out in three separate portions to reflect the three legal jurisdictions within the United Kingdom. Those three legal jurisdictions and England and Wales; Scotland and—depending on whether talking about before or after Irish independence—Ireland/Northern Ireland. The census returns are stored in four separate locations, the National Archives of the United Kingdom for England and Wales; the General Register Office of Scotland for Scotland and either the National Archives of Ireland or the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (the former for the 1901 and 1911 returns and the latter for post-independence censuses which have yet to be released).

Consequently to cite the census returns of Cumbria in a different fashion to the census returns of Kent is completely nonsensical as both fall within England and Wales and returns from both counties are in a single record series at Kew. The correct citation for a particular schedule in the 1901 census (say) would be The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO) RG 13/1615 f 110 p 19 sch 118. That gives complete information on the location of a census record from 1901 and is in the citation format that TNA request. That citation does not depend on which county the information is from, it depends on which census of England and Wales the information is from.

There should be one source page for each decennial census of England and Wales and one only where the original documents can be seen. Where transcripts of those documents have been made and there is no access to images of the original document then, naturally, further sources need to be created. As it so happens the returns which have been released, up to and including the 1911 census, also include the censuses of the crown dependencies of the Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey and so there is an argument for not creating separate sources for them either. That argument is harder to sustain since they are separate legal jurisdictions, although when citing the sources the record series in TNA is still the same. David Newton 14:10, 26 August 2010 (EDT)

Hello David Newton,

Thank You for your message. Please remember that the WeRelate sources were created by various source additions. Other WeRelate User who have UK ancestors, the LDS catalog, various websites, etc. It is very helpful to have UK WeRelate Users, or more knowledgable WeRelate Users who have UK ancestors. Since it is a wiki you may add your suggestions, additions etc. Pages can be merged, you can create pages, etc. I am sure other WeRelate Users will respond to your message. When I have more time to read in depth your message I will probably respond again too. I appreciate your knowledge and contribution. Debbie Freeman --DFree 15:21, 26 August 2010 (EDT)

The reason that I say it is completely wrong is that to create sources for each county results in massive, enormous proliferation of sources. That simply makes finding the correct way of citing something much, much harder than it should be. The situation for England and Wales is bad enough with 60-odd counties. For the US where many states alone have more counties than that the situation is a couple of orders of magnitude worse. Looking at the NARA website how to cite things in their records is, unfortunately, clear as mud from what I can find. There does not seem to be a particular unified way of doing it. [1] looks to be OK until you try and look at the NARA catalogue to find what the record group etc is. By contrast the UK National Archives not only have a good document saying how to cite a particular source but they also have a single, coherent catalogue which makes find out what the citation should be a lot easier [2].
With the UK censuses each is normally in a single record group at Kew (HO 107 for the 1841 and 1851 censuses and RG 9 onwards for later censuses). The exception to this is the 1911 census where the actual schedules are in one record group (RG 14) and the enumerators' books are in another record group (RG 78). Even with the 1911 census the primary thing that people are looking for is the actual schedules in RG 14. With the US censuses I have never really been able to establish whether each set of federal census population schedules is in its own record group and is thus a coherent source to cite on its own or whether each state has its own record group etc. Then there are the added complications of the other schedules like the agricultural and mortality schedules. I would not presume to say that having each county in the US as its own master source for a federal census is wrong and I am not sure what the correct way of citing the things is myself. I would say that going by state would be better as it would only result in 48 sources for 1920 and 1930 and fewer for earlier (and presumably one for each territory as well).
My point of view on sources is that if a particular source is in a single place and can be cited as a coherent collection then it should be. Consequently vital records in the US largely cannot be because they are a state and were a county concern. Interestingly enough in England and Wales they both can be and cannot be. Civil registration started in England and Wales at the start of July 1837. Right from then until now—with the exception of adoptions which were registered from 1927 and can only be found locally—vital records are indexed both at the level of the legal jurisdiction and each registration authority. The General Register Office indexes cover the whole of England and Wales and thus constitute a single, national source for vital records which US genealogists probably look on with a degree of envy. However there are also multiple local indexes and these local indexes sometimes contain events which did not make it into the GRO indexes. This is because the GRO indexes were produced from returns made by each local registration district and sometimes events were missed out of these returns by accident.
With things like the census of England and Wales and the Social Security Death Index which are single, coherent sources across large areas then only one master source should be created for each of those sources. That aids in finding the correct source for citation in the database and also reduces the workload of those creating sources. Unfortunately in a wiki environment the possibilities for of duplication of effort and ignoring of advice are legion. Consequently whilst I would like to only have single sources for each census of England and Wales and for each similar, coherent work the chances of that actually happening are fairly slim. David Newton 10:19, 28 August 2010 (EDT)

I admit I know nothing about UK censuses. But I do know that we can't possibly name a source page "RG 13/1615 f 110 p 19". No one except the most exacting genealogists would know what that means, and I would be shocked if someone who knows what RG is could tell anything more about what that means in terms of where or when it was taken. On the other hand, it is immediately obvious to everyone what you are citing when the source has the words for the year, type of record, and place. Additionally, the reason WeRelate breaks up census places by county is so that it can take advantage of 1) local differences in transcription availability (which were typically at the county level in the US before the advent of national databases like Ancestry) and 2) the "who links here" feature of the wiki, which permits you to see who else is in the area. Also, in the US, if you know a county and a name, you can usually find the person pretty easily, regardless of whether you have a page or ED or whatnot, and thus this division aims to provide the minimum useful information to new viewers. Perhaps those advantages are less useful for the UK, I don't know, but I thought I would add them to the discussion. We have a usability goal here that is not always compatible with exactly correct cataloging (ask the librarians around about their frustration!)
There are also, for the US and I assumed for the UK, country level sources that deal with issues common to the entire census (questions asked, availability), and are available for citation for people whose work style works that way (although they lose the benefit of the "who links here"). If we don't have country-level sources for the UK, feel free to add them.
Also, I'll point out something that is not always immediately obvious to new(er) users. There is a difference between the SOURCE PAGE TITLE and the CITATION. The source page title is the title of the page, and thus it needs to be most importantly, unique, but it also must convey what the source is (for display in features like watch lists, notification emails, and search results) and should preferably be easy to find in the source drop-down (the list that pops up when you start to type in a name in the source field). The sources were renamed following standard rules last year. The standard rules are basically either the place or the author plus the title of the work. Citations are what appears on a family/person page after you save it. It pulls the source title (which is usually the same as used in the page title, with some exceptions for length and duplication), the author or place, and other publication information.
I suggest that if the RG numbers have significance that you add it to the publication information for a particular county or country level page so that it appears in the citation information. I would recommend that you do not retitle the page or change the title fields because that will cause confusion among those who are not familiar with the formal citation style.--Amelia 12:11, 28 August 2010 (EDT)
What I have done in editing the 1841 through 1911 England and Wales source page is to make sure that the citation style conforms to that requested by the British National Archives. This means, for example, that a specific citation of the 1841 census would appear thusly: The National Archives (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO) HO 107/1-1465 Census Returns: 1841 Census Schedules, HO 107/394 book 1 f 12 p 18. The only bit of the citation which does not conform to TNA guidelines is the England which the WeRelate software inserts at the beginning of the census. Since it is likely that each census will only be cited once on each person page or couple page where it provides information on marital status then the full form of the citation needs to be used to make sure that people know where the records are. The titles of the pages were reasonable, although it would have been better for it to have been England and Wales rather than England as that is now the formal name for the legal jurisdiction and it does represent the area covered by the census better.
I am aware of the title and source distinction and since the single sources for each census follow those rules then I have no reason nor wish to change the title of the source except perhaps the England and Wales v England distinction mentioned in the previous paragraph. What I want to make sure is that each census has its own source and only its source. There is an argument about the benefits of the what links here functionality. However it could also be argued that the a better way of using that feature would be to look at who links to a particular geographical place in the database since if someone appears in a census in a particular place then either using a census or a residence fact that person should be noted as having lived there. I would also point out that you are not quite understanding what I am referring to with respect to a single source. I am talking about a single source for the original documents, or images thereof with or without accompanying transcription. Where there is a transcription without accompanying images then that is something entirely different and does indeed need to be referenced as a separate source. For example for the England and Wales census FreeCen does not have images of the original enumerators' books and so it cannot be cited in the way I describe. However Ancestry and Findmypast and a number of other places do have images accompanying their transcriptions. Consequently there is little point in separately citing them and the correct way to deal with them is to point to them as repositories of the source in question. For Scotland since the General Register Office of Scotland wants to keep raking it in with ScotlandsPeople it is refusing to allow online publication of images of any of the Scottish censuses. In that case since Ancestry only has a transcription online then it should be cited as a second, separate source.
For a full set of citations from 1841 to 1881 see Person:John Spreadborough (21) where I have added sources for each case. That should hopefully demonstrate that the proper academic citations there also enable a good idea of what is being cited. David Newton 12:48, 28 August 2010 (EDT)
Nice job on the national level censuses, thanks. There are debates elsewhere on how to cite transcriptions that have not been resolved.--Amelia 12:49, 29 August 2010 (EDT)

I agree - I like what you've done. Would you mind editing the help file to modify the policy for titling censuses of England and Wales in accordance with what you've done? Feel free to address the rest of the UK also if you like.

Also, I'm fine with your renaming the pages to England and Wales. 18x1 Census Returns... if you'd like. The system can't assign England and Wales... to source page titles automatically when people create source pages for new censuses because it's limited to using just one place when it creates a source page title. But the source pages could certainly be renamed manually.

And like Amelia says, the issue of transcriptions has not been resolved satisfactorily. I'd rather not get into that discussion again right now. Making the sources more findable (searchable) is of much higher priority right now I think.--Dallan 17:02, 1 September 2010 (EDT)

How do I force census category into the highlighted bottom box? [12 April 2011]

Help!! I have tried very hard to figure this out but have given up. I created 2 census source pages today and cannot force the census category into the highlighted cat box. See Source:Union, North Carolina, United States. 1850 U.S. Census Population Schedule and Source:Lancaster, South Carolina, United States. 1860 U.S. Census Population Schedule.--Beth 17:56, 12 April 2011 (EDT)

You had a colon at the beginning of the link. To "attach" a page to a category, use [[Category:category name]]. If you want to have something be a link to a Category page, that's when you use the colon at the beginning [[:Category:category name]]. -- Amy (Ajcrow) 18:43, 12 April 2011 (EDT)

Thank you Amy and thanks for fixing the pages.--Beth 19:44, 12 April 2011 (EDT)

Mortality schedules [8 December 2011]

Do we have a policy on source pages for the mortality schedules? I cannot remember. I see that I created one for Comanche County, Texas, 1880. I now need to create a source for the 1870 mortality schedule in Jackson County, Georgia. It doesn't matter to me. Should we do these by states, counties or country or a citation only? --Beth 20:03, 7 December 2011 (EST)

I've been treating Mortality Schedules as just another part of the census for that county in that year, just like the Population Schedule, Slave Schedule, etc -- i.e., I include the words "Mortality Schedule" in the details field along with the page number and whatever. I haven't felt the need to create a separate source page for them. (Yes, I know the words "Population Schedule" are included in the source title, but I confess I've been carefully avoiding being aware of that. . . .) --MikeTalk 08:38, 8 December 2011 (EST)
Why not create separate pages for the mortality schedules? They are not the same as the population schedule (which, I believe, is the reason we included "Population Schedule" in the title of the "regular" census pages). I haven't created any yet, but if I did, I would create them the same way as the population schedule, except substituting the word "Mortality" for "Population". -- Amy (Ajcrow) 09:23, 8 December 2011 (EST)

Titling Periodicals and Journals [16 April 2012]

I note the sentence “Omit leading articles.” In British newspapers a leading article is the principal editorial. I suggest “Omit the initial definite article.”--goldenoldie 06:13, 15 April 2012 (EDT)

Please feel free to make that change, perhaps including some examples (a, an, the). Thanks.--Dallan 11:08, 16 April 2012 (EDT)

Missing word from latest revision [11 December 2012]

I think you omitted the word "be" from the last sentence of "Current revision (16:54, 11 December 2012)"
--goldenoldie 11:26, 11 December 2012 (EST)

Thanks, but please just go ahead and make the fix next time. I could have left my computer for hours or days :-) --Amelia 11:30, 11 December 2012 (EST)

Canada. Placename references in Sources [23 July 2013]

I was looking through a list of WR sources which all referenced the National Archives of Canada or the Public Archives of Canada. Most of them described the place being discussed as Place:Nunavut, Canada, when I would have expected them to describe Place:Canada--the country. The topics all had a very national perspective. If this is a mistake, I'll be very glad to go through the group and make the correction, but I wouldn't want to do so if there is some good reason for them to be described this way.

Example: Source:Public Archives of Canada. National Map Collection. Canada in Maps

All of the sources originated in the Family History Catalog.

BTW, National Archives of Canada, formerly the Public Archives of Canada until 1987, merged with the National Library of Canada in 2004 to become Library and Archives Canada. Should these source now reference Library and Archives Canada, or continue as National Archives of Canada? --Goldenoldie 16:21, 23 July 2013 (EDT)

Primary Vital Records in County, State, Country [13 August 2013]

I am very confused about how to create a source page for the primary vital records available in county court house Probate Offices, etc. When I try to Add Page using the Title of Births, Place of Fairfield, Ohio, United States, Subject of Vital Records and Availability of Other, I get an error message "Cannot add page" and this explanation: Required source fields are missing; please press the Back button on your browser to enter the required fields. What am I missing? I've been reading through discussions and Help topics and cannot find the solution. Thank you.--RWMeyer 20:18, 13 August 2013 (EDT)

Redirecting source pages [6 August 2014]

The instruction on this page say that entering #redirect [[Source:correctly titled source page]] (note: actually should have no space) will redirect a duplicate source to another existing source page. I tried entering the redirect with the new title into the main text box, but all it did was add it as text below the source info box. How do I properly add a redirect for a source? This is the duplicate source I want to redirect: Duplicate source, and this is the source I want to direct to: Main source. — Parsa 19:26, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

It seems the trouble you're having in redirecting that source is with the source page title. You have Source:Sanborn%2C_V._C._Genealogy... You don't want to take the title from the URL - it should be the source page title that is in bold just under the horizontal WR menus at the top. So, the format would be:
#REDIRECT [[Source:Sanborn, V. C. Genealogy of the Family of Samborne or Sanborn in England and America, 1194-1898]] --Jennifer (JBS66) 19:41, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

Thanks Jennifer, that worked. It seems like it would be the other way around. BTW, while were on the subject of sources... there was some method to link to sources without actually making them a source (or something like that). The method used some sort of symbol like an asterisk or pound sign in the URL. Can you refresh my memory on that, as I can't seem to find it in searches on WR? — Parsa 21:39, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "link to sources without actually making them a source". When you say link to sources, do you mean URL's and such that are your "source", but are not Source Pages on WR? --Jennifer (JBS66) 12:53, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

Sorry, I was thinking of images actually. When you want an image as a link without making the actual image appear you have to include a # symbol before the link text. For some reason I was thinking that process was related to sources instead of images. — 14:46, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

Actually, you'd use a colon before the image name [[:Image:Wm Sanborn estate Genealogy of Family Samborne v1 1899 p81.jpg]] will display as Image:Wm Sanborn estate Genealogy of Family Samborne v1 1899 p81.jpg --Jennifer (JBS66) 15:08, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

Hmmm... it seemed to work with the # symbol as well. I think I must have seen it on a talk page or something. — Parsa 22:52, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

Periodical Articles and article-style source pages [22 May 2016]

"Please put the author and title information for the actual article you're citing in the "Record Name" field of the Source Citation on the page citing the periodical."

"However, if an article contains broader, more important information on a number of people which you believe will interest many descendants, a source page may be created for the individual article, using the rules for authored sources."

"Use your best judgment."

These are conflicting instructions, probably undesirable to start with to have multiple approaches, and having no clear criteria for choosing which to use. As a result, articles are being handled in two different manners by different people, both apparently believing this help page justifies their behavior. Having two answers in use is probably worse than having either one of the two choices, as long as that one was used consistently.

The criteria of breadth of interest is too vague. Say a user is posting data on one ancestor from an article and all they know if that is where they found the data they are posting. They are probably not informed enough to decide how wide an audience the article might have. Say you cite it ten times. Is that a wide interest? An article covering a single colonial family is likely to be cited 10 times just covering the members of that one family. One family is not really a wide interest. On the other hand, William Brewster of the Mayflower is said to have 8 million descendants. So an article on only one person can have a wide audience. What about an article cited 10 times by 10 different people? By the above directions, all 10 probably would cite it using the Record field, and none of the 10 are aware it has now been cited 10 times and should be elevated to a source page. Or 20 times, or 30 times, or whatever the threshold is.

The above help page directions seem to suggest the following awkward process: check first if a source page exists: if not, decide if one should be created based on rather vague criteria: if you decide not, cite the article title in the record field else create the source page. Oh, and by the way, if you create the source page, you would provide a big service to the website to search for any existing citations that cited the article using the Record field method, and converting those to point at the source page instead.

But even if we wave our hands and say people will figure it out, it makes the system harder to use to treat one set of articles one way, and one another. Shouldn't all articles be handled the same? Currently many articles are cited both ways, reducing the benefit of either approach. From the standpoint of a user entering information on their ancestor, wouldn't it be simpler to have one process that doesn't require a bunch of searching, making decisions about what to do, and knowing two ways to cite an article instead of one?

Both approaches produce similar citations. By allowing your browser to provide field completion, both types of citations can be entered with similar amounts of work. The article source page has some potential to provide some functionality, but it is not necessary for the main task of providing an effective citation.

What it can provide is a central place to discuss articles (rarely done, but occasionally useful), to document where all the installments of a multi-installment article are located (since the citation will likely refer only to selected pages), and by centralizing the information, allow it to be corrected easier. It might be nice if the system could somehow aggregate article-source pages into a table of contents for each volume of a periodical, but as this would involve software development, so I'm not counting on it.

On the other hand, there are potentially a massive number of articles. It has been stated that number of pages is not an issue for WeRelate. But even ignoring how many article pages would be required, there are two other issues related to creating lots of article pages.

  1. Articles now show up in the drop down list. Some authors have written hundreds of articles. For example, Donald Jacobus. Even with a relatively limited number of article-type source pages in existence, his works currently exceed the capacity of the drop down list to display. Consequently several important works at the end of the alphabet are not presented to select from. Instead of being able to type Jacobus and have the drop down list display all his works, you know have to type "Jacobus, Donald Lines. W" as a minimum to see his book on the Waterman Family. This limits the usefulness of the drop-down list. Especially if you can't remember his middle name.
  2. Articles are named using the same convention as books. This causes conflicts since only one source page can exist with a given name. thus if an author expands an article into a reprint or a full-fledged book, the proper source page title may not be available.
  3. In several tasks, one only sees the title of a source page, not the full citation. For example, when choosing a source from the drop down list, or when looking at a citation while editing a page. In these situations, the user cannot distinguish whether the item is a book or an article, and if it happens to be an article, what periodical it is from. This can cause confusion...

My suggestions are:

1) either create article-type source pages for all articles as the only way to do articles, or scrap article-type source pages altogether, so that all articles are handled the same. Personally I think there is some value in article-type source pages but the impact on the system is beyond my ability to judge.
2) If article-type source pages are used, change the naming conventions for article-type source pages so that it is different from books. One possibly way to do this might be to create a Namespace for Periodical Articles, similar to MySource, which would allow books and articles to be distinguished by namespace, and not conflict. Other answers may be possible.
3) Choose the new naming convention so that the drop-down list can easily be limited to either books or articles by a given author. Using a different Namespace would be one way to accomplish that.

The current arrangement seems untenable. --Jrich 20:16, 22 May 2016 (UTC)

By the way, should article titles follow exactly book conventions. For example, should the NEHGR article "Records of the Second Church of Scituate, Now the First Unitarian Church of Norwell, Mass." be entered as that, or should they follow the normal standard for church records, namely, "Scituate, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States. Records of the Second Church of Scituate, Now the First Unitarian Church of Norwell, Mass." or should articles always include the author, "Damon, Sarah R. and Ella Bates. Records of the Second Church of Scituate, Now the First Unitarian Church of Norwell, Mass."? Should articles with no byline simply use the title with no author, or should the editor of the periodical be inserted as the author? What about articles like the Notes section in NEHGR, which may have several short sub-articles with subtitles: enter as "Notes" or should each sub-section be entered separately "Notes: Tilden Family" and "Notes: John Turner of Salem"? --Jrich 04:30, 23 May 2016 (UTC)