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Sourcing - Is There a Best Practice ???

sources sourcing lumper splitter

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#1 TruthSeeker

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 08:58 AM

I would like to seek some opinions or further reading on Sourcing from those more expert than I am. I see there are lumpers and splitters but what are the ups and downs? If I have it right splitters are going to have a very long Source List presenting the possible difficulty when adding more information from an existing source years down the line. It would seem lumpers follow a more logical path of the master source being for example National Archives of Canada and then the citation information being more specific regarding the collection, I probably have that wrong.

Since I have imported files in the past I have examples of both which I would like to tidy, so is "Rochester Democrat & Chronicle" a Master Source or a citation of a Source named "Newspaper Articles" or "Newspaper Obituaries"?

I have never been strong on sourcing more wanting it to give me enough information to go back to the record rather than printing professional manuscripts so should I get too hung up on this?

I'm still with FTM but investigating other options which has made me look at my file with a large magnifying glass and now realise that there is a lot of work ahead regardless of the path I choose. I have been looking down through Rootsmagic Source Templates and the information seems to be mainly in the Master Source rather than the Citation, is that the way I should be going?

Should I use Rootsmagic Source Templates or Freeform sources? that seems to be another discussion regarding compatibility.

So much to consider so any opinions or pointers to further reading would be appreciated before I make this important decision. This is going to take a considerable time and is not something I want to regret in the future. I am also sure other newish users would benefit from such guidance, I know when I started I had no idea and probably not much wiser now.

 



 



#2 ALee

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 09:39 AM

Hello, I'm new to the forum and thinking about migrating over from FTM.   I have a similar question to Truthseeker. 

 

I've purchased RM7 and am on the learning curve.   I've read many of the topics on sources and citations and am still struggling.  I'm starting a new tree and am considering taking the "extreme lumper" approach and need guidance on whether this will bite me down the road.  By extreme lumper I mean as an example one source and citation that says "Birth Record Found"  with details that say "A birth record has been found, downloaded or printed and is stored in the family files".  This would be used for the source for every birth record found in the tree.  Similar for Death, Marriage, Census (linked to a Census fact that contains the year) etc. 

 

I also create a Word document for each source document I find, and include a link to the website, screen captures for any detailed source information that is on the website, and an image of the source document.  I print that and put it in the binder in the section for that individual.  I also store it on my computer along with the original download of the source document.

 

Why do we need to retype all that detailed source and citation information into any database, whether it is RM or FTM if we already have it saved someplace else?  Will this approach cause me problems down the road?



#3 Laura

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 02:37 PM

Alee, if that is the only information that Birth source is going to contain, you would have less work to create a user defined fact with the Description enabled. Enter Y if you have a Birth certificate or N if you don't or G for get if you are going to want to look for it. Or, enter where to find it in your other records in the Discription.

Use the fact and description field as a search criteria when creating reports.

#4 zhangrau

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 04:18 PM

Whether lumping (as I do) or splitting (as others do), I think the key consideration is this:

   can the reader of your reports use your source info to find the record/document used?

 

If all your source says is "the document is in my file cabinet" that's not much use to anybody else.



#5 ALee

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 05:00 PM

Thanks for your responses.  I just searched on "lumping" and see there is a lot more reading to do before I embark.



#6 deckie49

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 06:55 PM

Truthseeker,

One of your questions involved the use of templates versus freeform. Keep in mind that if you use the preconfigured source templates and later want or need to transfer your data to another program or utility, your sources will not transfer correctly. This is a limitation of the GEDCOM format used to transfer genealogical data. If you choose the freeform template your data should transfer without problems. I think there are alot of threads on this forum that discuss this. They might help set you in the right direction.



#7 Laura

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 06:58 PM

ALee, copy your database and give it a new name.

Experiment in the copy of the database before you decide on what changes you want to make in the main database. My database is named Play, and it saves me from making very bad decisions when I get those bright ideas which may not be so bright after all. I had one of those ideas today. If the Play database gets too messy, you can always delete it and start another.

#8 TruthSeeker

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 08:06 AM

Whether lumping (as I do) or splitting (as others do), I think the key consideration is this:

   can the reader of your reports use your source info to find the record/document used?

 

If all your source says is "the document is in my file cabinet" that's not much use to anybody else.

That simple answer in bold was all I needed, up to now my main use of sources was to enable me to return to the record is I needed to. It makes sence that if the printed output contains enough information to so the same then there is no need to over complicate things.

 

Also thank you Deckie49, I will stay to free form sources, again keep it simple.



#9 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 09:43 AM

Whether lumping (as I do) or splitting (as others do), I think the key consideration is this:

   can the reader of your reports use your source info to find the record/document used?

 

If all your source says is "the document is in my file cabinet" that's not much use to anybody else.

 

Sometimes I think the debate about source lumping and source splitting dominates the discussion a little bit too much. I'm an extreme splitter, but not really because I want to be. I would prefer to be a lumper (and I was a lumper for many years). It's just there are some limitations in the way RM manages sources that I found that I could overcome more easily by switching to being a source splitter than by remaining as a source lumper.

 

Here is why I think the issue really ought not to be such a big deal. It ought not to be possible to tell just by looking at the footnotes/endnotes in a report whether the researcher who produced the report was a lumper or a splitter. The footnotes/endnotes should look exactly the same either way. The difference for RM users lies strictly in which part of your footnote/endnote sentences you store in RM's Master Source and which part you store in RM's Source Details.

 

Well, that's the terminology that is used by RM but the same concept exists in almost any genealogy software. For example, in GEDCOM the equivalent concept is which part of your citation information is stored with the TITL tag and which is stored with the PAGE tag (this is a bit of an oversimplification, but with RM's free form sources pretty much all that matters for sources in the GEDCOM is the TITL tag and the PAGE tag). For RM's free form sources, the Master Source information goes into the TITL field in GEDCOM and the Source Details information goes into the PAGE field in GEDCOM.

 

So be a source lumper or be a source splitter, whichever works best for you. The more information you put into a Master Source the less you can reuse that Master Source and the more Master Sources you will have and the more of a source splitter you are. The less information put into a Master Source the more you can reuse that Master source and the fewer Master Sources you will have and the more of a source lumper you are.

 

In any case, I agree with zhangrau that the key consideration is whether your readers can use your footnote/endnote sentences to find your source. It's nice to get all the commas and all the semicolons and all the parentheses and all the italics and all the ibid's and all that stuff right. But none of that fancy stuff matters very much if there is not enough information to find the source. And if there is enough information to find the source then none of that fancy stuff really matters very much.

 

Jerry



#10 C_W

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 10:02 AM

Hello

 

I have just joined the forum, and I know I should be able to understand the subject of Sources - But I just can't!

I have purchased RootsMagic 7, My tree has been on Ancestry and sync with FTM, so I haven't really had to think of Sources (probably a bad habit to get into!). I know I have quite a few errors etc. in my tree, so am looking at 'starting again' with RootsMagic 7.

I have watched some of the YouTube videos on RootsMagic, which has helped me make my choice. But I can't find one on the subject of Sources. Is there one? I find it easier to 'see' what to do, and I can go back over the videos till I get it right!

 

Thank you



#11 Laura

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 10:14 AM

Jerry and Zhangrau, right on!

I agree that the key consideration is whether your readers can use your footnotes/endnotes to find your source.


Everything else, Free form or Source templates, splitter or lumper, is just the user's choices on the method they want to use to get there.

#12 Laura

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 10:23 AM

Hello
 
I have just joined the forum, and I know I should be able to understand the subject of Sources - But I just can't!
I have purchased RootsMagic 7, My tree has been on Ancestry and sync with FTM, so I haven't really had to think of Sources (probably a bad habit to get into!). I know I have quite a few errors etc. in my tree, so am looking at 'starting again' with RootsMagic 7.
I have watched some of the YouTube videos on RootsMagic, which has helped me make my choice. But I can't find one on the subject of Sources. Is there one? I find it easier to 'see' what to do, and I can go back over the videos till I get it right!
 
Thank you


Watch Webinar #31, New Source and Citation Features in RootsMagic 5.

http://www.rootsmagic.com/Webinars/

There are other Webinars there that will be useful to you.

#13 TomH

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Posted 08 January 2016 - 10:58 AM

And, if it is important to havd GEDCOM output to third party software with footnotes faithful to what you get in RootsMagic reports, but you want to lump your sources, you can use my SQLite scripts to convert a copy of your database so that all sources are extremely split.


Tom user of RM7550 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.


#14 mgbaird

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 04:14 PM

Many consider Evidence Explained. Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills as the gold standard for sources and citing. It is referred to as EE when making sources in RM. Big book but introductory chapters and explanations and examples are many and excellent.



#15 Don Newcomb

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 11:59 AM

"National Archives of Canada" would be a case of extreme source lumping. "National Archives" falls more under the category of a "repository." However, I admit that I have a lot of citations to "miscellaneous" and "newspaper article", which is also pretty extreme lumping. I might tend to go one step further down as in, "Land grant applications" or "Bishop's returns from Quebec churches", as a master source and cite the "National Archives" as the holding repository.

 

As for what's "best practice", it's whatever you're most comfortable with, as long it the result will allow someone else to go directly to the source and find the same information.

 

I strongly urge you to become familiar with and use RM's templates. They allow for automatic formatting of citation information for various uses.