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Better Export of Sources + an Interim Workaround

gedcom export sources sqlite wish

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#1 TomH


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Posted 31 July 2013 - 02:40 PM

This is to repeat a longstanding wish for an improvement in RootsMagic's export of sources to standard GEDCOM, not its custom extensions. Currently, sources based on most built-in and custom templates suffer one or more of:
  • loss of some text
  • disordering of data
  • punctuation errors
Only Free-Form, some 17 built-in templates, free-form-like and specially designed custom templates are immune to these problems.

A solution I have proposed and repeat as a wish is for RootsMagic to have user-customisable sentence templates for each source template for the GEDCOM tags TITL and PAGE to which it already writes. The technology is already developed; it merely needs to be applied to the Export process.

Setting aside such a development, I had concluded some time ago that, in order to maintain the integrity of sources on export, it was advisable to store citations in the Free-Form or similar format.

Recently, I came to realize that there is another strategy that results in the export of sources faithful to their RootsMagic footnotes from any and all types of source templates. It requires the batch conversion of every unique citation into a Master Source - what I call "ultimate splitting", just prior to exporting. One would do so on a temporary copy of the database from which the export would be made. Work can be continued on the original database at any suitable working level of source lumping/splitting.

The strategy is illustrated in Ultimate Splitting of Sources for Better GEDCOM from RootsMagic and the SQLite scripts are available at Sources - Adventures in Extreme Splitting. In the future, I will add the function to RMtrix.

Tom user of RM7630 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.

#2 Mike Power

Mike Power

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 01:36 AM

Like TomH I wish for a major improvement to allow trouble-free export of sources created using RM built-in / customized templates.

Firstly, I'm not a 'power-user" and I speak from a position of limited technical knowledge.

RM source templates (RM-provided or user-created) allow for prompt data input and provide 100% consistency in expression, punctuation, etc
  • but as TomH points out, and as has been discussed at length in this forum, these cause considerable problems for GEDCOM export.
Free form templates, on the other hand are readily exportable but can be an utter pain for data input and for ensuring consistency in expression. The linking text, punctuation, etc, has to be entered anew each time then checked for consistency against a "base model" - a tedious process.

As I understand it, the standard free form citation comprises just two blocks of information:
  • The title of the footnote / source: and
  • Source details: assembled as a single block of information.
RM source templates (RM-provided or user-created) on the other hand comprise:
  • The title of the footnote (ie, master source) and
  • For the source details - a multitude of blocks of information - one for each field that has been created.
It seems that its the export of this "array of blocks" that creates the problem with exporting GEDCOMs to other programs.

Perhaps my approach may be too simplistic but is it possible to tweak RM so that these source details assemble within RM as a single block
  • and so can be exported as such?
Might this not solve this problem?

#3 TomH


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Posted 02 August 2013 - 10:11 PM

Mike, your understanding is right in principle but not in detail. Much has been written in the Help system, here on the Forums and on the SQLite wiki about the details so I won't go into them further. In effect, the ultimate split strategy does result in all the source fields being exported in one block, I.e., the full footnote sentence, to the GEDCOM TITL tag with nothing going to the specific tag for the citation, PAGE. That's what makes ultimate splitting succeed in exporting undistorted sources from a system that distorts at any higher level of source lumping.

The reason RM distorts is because it tries to reuse the full footnote sentence template to export the parts that belong in TITL and therefore cannot use it to export the parts that belong in PAGE, having to rely on simply assembling a list of those source details fields.

The destination software will output footnotes from the GEDCOM tags typically as AUTH, TITL, PUBL; PAGE. RM does not export AUTH and PUBL, the corresponding data being included in TITL. So, ideally, the destination software will simply output TITL; PAGE from the RM GEDCOM to footnotes.

Instead of reusing the footnote sentence template, my proposal would have a specific sentence template for the TITL tag and another sentence template for the PAGE tag. It might be desirable to extend it to include sentence templates for AUTH and for PUBL. The resulting footnotes from the destination software will not match RM footnotes except for those from Free-Form and certain other source templates. But they will have a consistent order of Master Source and Source Details values.

Tom user of RM7630 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.

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