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categorizing Sources in a list

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#1 zhangrau


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Posted 02 December 2016 - 04:10 PM

In my Master Source List, I'm in the middle of a project to make the list sort by categories.


Here's some of my concerns:

1 - Since the list cannot be sorted (on characteristics such as Author, Publisher, Publish Date, etc.) a long list becomes progressively difficult to manage and review

2 - Since RM does not allow sources to be organized into "folders" (or whatever you'd like to call the groupings), a large Master Source List can be difficult to manage

3 - Many sources have very long names, and need to be abbreviated or truncated in order to fit the available width of the available column

4 - My main database currently contains over 13,400 sources - reviewing and managing this list is awkward - finding duplicates where the display titles were abbreviated differently (I've been building my database since 1988 and in multiple programs and versions) is difficult

5 - Categorizing the sources provides a method for filtering my search - for example, all sources from published telephone records receive the prefix of [tel], causing them to sort adjacently in the Master Source List

6 - These prefixes are prepended to the display title, and do not appear in the indices of citations nor bibliography


These are organizing prefixes for my Master Source List display titles
[cem] = cemetery index or transcription
[dir] = city and county directories
[news] = newspaper article
[obit] = obituary or death notice or In Memoriam
    -- O = usually includes life details and multiple generations
    -- DN = usually person only with few details
    -- IM = usually published on an anniversary of the subject's death
[pk] = personal knowledge of contributor
[tel] = telephone directories
[tree] = family tree imported (usually as a GEDCOM)
This list will gradually expand, as I decide to build additional categories
Some future possibilities I'm considering:
[bio] = biographical sketches (such as Who's Who in ---- )
[bk] = books in my personal collection or a library
[cen] = census sources
[encyc] = encyclopedia article or entry
[hist] = published histories (town, county, state, national, world, etc.)
[vital]  = compilations of birth, baptism, christening, confirmation, marriage, death and/or burial events
[web] = otherwise-uncategorized internet sources

#2 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 07:51 PM

My approach is very similar to yours, and I think yours is a very good system. I don't have as many Master Sources as you do because my database is smaller. But on the other hand, I have become an extreme source splitter which means that I have more Master Sources in RM than do users who are source lumpers.


I would observe that beyond a certain size, it really isn't adequate just to "start typing" to get to the correct source in RM's Source List. The source list is in desperate need of good filtering and other means of organization. RM's Media List is more or less a good model for filtering, but it would be nice if the filtering were more live, filtering each time you type a character into the filter. And with filtering, the letters you type don't have to be at the beginning of the list.


All of my new Master Sources are extremely split. I'm in the midst of a very long term project to convert all my old sources to being extremely split. To that end, I prepend all my new and extremely split Master Sources with an * to separate them in the list from old Master Sources that still need conversion. I further prepend the most recently added Master Source of each type (obit, census, death certificate, etc.) with an ! so the front of the list has one and only one of each type. When I'm adding a new Master Source, I copy the existing one of the appropriate type at the beginning of the list and change its ! to an *. Then I edit the new one that was just created as a copy to make my new one. That helps tremendously with standardization. It also keeps all the Master Sources of the same type together except for the exemplar of each type that starts with an !, and the few at the start of the list with an ! makes it easy to find an exemplar.


The same naming convention I use for Master Sources carries over to Source Templates of my own design and to multimedia files. So a census source uses a census template which has a census media file. An obituary source uses an obituary template which as an obituary media file.  Etc.



#3 Nettie


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Posted 20 December 2016 - 10:39 AM

I like this topic.

My Sources in the Source List are categorized by type.

Census is the only one not by type but sort of.

Census 1790  is 'a Cen 001 1790'

Census 1800 is 'a Cen 002 1800' or 'a Cen 002 1800 EE'

If is from an EE template then has an EE behind.

Have not found a need for !.  But 

Source Templates that I have copied and changed they get a '! ' in front of them, so I can find them quickly.


Being a lumper, this has been a big help in not having dups left from RM3 and FO, in the process of updating to RM7.

"I work on genealogy only on days that end in "Y"." [Grin!!!]
from www.GenealogyDaily.com.
"Documentation....The hardest part of genealogy"
"Genealogy is like Hide & Seek: They Hide & I Seek!"
" Genealogists: People helping people.....that's what it's all about!"
from http://www.rootsweb....nry/gentags.htm
Using FO and RM since FO2.0 

#4 ketchell


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Posted 05 February 2017 - 10:08 AM

zhangrau. You are spot on with my problem in using RM for source management.


I come from an academic librarian background and resorted to using a separate bibliographic management software program years ago. First Endnote, and now Zotero. Despite the basic searching provided inside the source list by TMG, there things that TMG did not do well. Essentially genealogy software programs do not provide the flexibility and features that a focused bibliographic management program can. The lack of search in source list window in RM is a real disappointment, as is the lack of use of a source ID and number of times cited that can be sorted within the window. But that is what I'm used to. I'm sure there are better methods that could be incorporated into RM than what TMG offered. I haven't moved my data completely to RM yet so I can use the TMG ability to rename source type and search for sources and easily change type parameters etc. while I'm still cleaning up 30 years of data. I digitized all my paper source material years ago so need the sourceID to link to those images/PDFs.


For the short term, I will continue to duplicate all my sources in Zotero for the searching by any parameter and tagging, categorization by any type I decide (e..g, books, cemeteries, tax lists, whatever), add links to (like web tags) to web sources, add links to my local digitzed/downloaded sources, add transcribed bits and pieces, etc. It probably has something to do with my change to being a lumper as well. I can have one 1850 Census, and link all my individual census page images to this source record. It serves as an index/search engine for my digital files in my genealogy source folders. 


The more sources, citations and digital artifacts I collect, this may prove to be even more worthwhile. Like Jerry I download all artifacts (census pages, forum posts, web pages, etc. copyright free books/articles/manuscripts) etc. Source collections change, get bought up, disappear, and 4 years later are no longer accessible --- so downloading insures I have the exact item that I based my citation on even if the item has been "refreshed."


Just my opinion. If it wasn't so daunting I would just start a "do over."