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Master Sources, Source Details, Citations

master source source detail citation

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#1 Brian Yokum

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 08:54 PM

Please forgive me, but I'm resurrecting a post I made regarding RootsMagic 4 back in July 2009.  It's eight years later, and I still feel that things haven't changed much.  I've seen people (myself included) who have become "extreme splitters" to deal with the issues I outlined below as well as issues with GEDCOM transfers, editing a citation that was memorized and pasted multiple times, etc.

 

My basic thinking on this is that extreme splitting solves most of these issues, but at a cost.  A lot of data needs to be copied or reentered for new sources, the source list becomes very long, the bibliography is useless, source transcriptions entered at the master source level don't show up in the Research Notes report, and I'm sure there are a few other things.

 

As I see it, Rootsmagic has "Sources" and "Citations", although these are sometimes called "Master Sources" and "Source Details".  What we really need are "Master Sources" and "Source Details", which together make up the "Source", and "Citations".  When citing a "Source", one would select an existing "Master Source" / "Source Detail" combination, add a new "Source Detail" to an existing "Master Source", or add a new "Master Source" and a new "Source Detail" to that new "Master Source".  This could work similarly to the way Places and Place Details work.  The "Citation" would then reference this "Source", and also include the things that really are unique for that citation such as quality or comments on that unique use of the combined "Master Source" / "Source Detail".

 

Memorize and paste could still be used to copy this "Citation", and any changes made to the unique items in a citation, such as quality, would be made only to that use of the copied citation.  Any change made to something in the "Source Detail" would be reflected in all the places that "Source" was used.

 

 

Posted 06 July 2009 - 01:39 PM

 
Like many, I've been struggling with the best way to document my sources. The two extremes seem to be to make each document an entry in the master source list or to have a few entries in the master source list but create multiple citations off each entry.

I want to use RootsMagic to eliminate the need to refer to my paper files. I tend to have scans of most of my documents or at least transcriptions that I enter as the source text. I want to be able to quickly see the documents I have, which has led me to entering each document as a source. That way I can just open up the source list and browse for the item of interest. Right now I have chosen to name my sources based on the source type and individual, such as "Obituary - Farley, James (1870)". For each source I've attached the scan or the transcription.

The default templates in RootsMagic fall in the middle of the source vs. citation debate. This works well for documenting a genealogy, but makes it more difficult when researching a genealogy. For example, I may come across a document that refers to someone who MAY one day be part of my genealogy. I want to enter that source into RootsMagic now and link a fact to it later, if appropriate. Without making this document its own source, I can't enter all the citation details for the document until I actually "cite" the source.

Ideally, it would be nice if there was a way to "bridge the gap" between sources and their citations. That is, I would like to create a source like "Louisiana Birth Certificates" with all the vital records registry data, and then create citations off that source for each individual certificate. In the source list I would like to see "Louisiana Birth Certificates" with a "plus" sign before it to expand the listing to include listings for each individual's certificate. In this way, the citations could be treated as just a more detailed source. When adding a citation to a fact, one could select a previously entered citation from the source list or create a new citation using an existing source.

This would ease data entry, keep the list of sources reasonable, yet allow more utility while researching.

I think this same way of looking at things could be applied to places and place details. That is, in the place list I would like to see a list of places with a "plus" sign to expand a place with its place details. I should be able to select a place in general or a detailed place interchangebly. They should work the same anywhere a place is expected, such as selecting a place for a report.

 


#2 TomH

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Posted 30 June 2017 - 09:41 PM

I'm with you on this Brian. Came to it a bit later. See this post in 2014.


Tom user of RM7230 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 growing bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#3 Brian Yokum

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Posted 01 July 2017 - 01:45 PM

Thanks, Tom.  I think the database changes you proposed would address a lot of the issues.  Clearly, there are some changes that could be made that would make things more usable and consistent for a lot of us.  Hopefully, we'll see some improvements in the future.  I know I don't have all the answers, but it sure seems like a lot of people struggle with all aspects of sourcing their genealogy.  RootsMagic offers so much, but I hate having to do things in an unnatural way to get around what I consider limitations in the program.



#4 Brian Yokum

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 11:09 AM

I hope my decision to become an "extreme splitter" doesn't come back to haunt me if something is ever done to address the issues outlined in this post.  I see now that the media I have attached to master sources doesn't transfer to Ancestry.  It must be attached to a person, fact, or citation.  So now I'll probably have to go and tag the media in all these "citations", which defeats the purpose of attaching it to the "source".  Also, it will probably be difficult to "unsplit" these sources.  If there was any hope that something might change, and how that change might be implemented, it would help one decide how best to enter things now.



#5 c24m48

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 11:37 AM

As an extreme source splitter, I have written an SQLite script to link media associated with a Master Source to all the citations of the that Master Source. I haven't yet posted the script to Tom's wiki site for SQLite. I guess I need to do so,but it needs some additional work to be of general utility.

 

My original purpose for the script was to help prepare GEDCOM for import into a product called GedSite. GedSite recognizes and displays media files linked to RM's master sources and also to RM's citations, but I wanted such media files to be displayed in both places in GedSite. Serendipitously, my RM database is therefore already ready for transfer to ancestry.com which only displays media files associated with RM's citations.

 

I also link more or less the same media files to the facts that the citations are linked to. But I have chosen to do this manually rather than with SQLite because I'm being very selective about which media files I do and don't want displayed directly with the facts on GedSite.

 

I really do like that fact that RM's interface with ancestry supports links to media files for sourcing information and not just photographs of individuals. And in particular, I like the fact that the media files can come from my RM database and don't have to be media files that are in ancestry's own databases. For example, ancestry doesn't have images of the birth, death, and marriage pages from my great grandparents' family bible, but I have the images. Loading my RM data to ancestry makes the family bible images available to the world in a way that's readily searchable by lots of people.

 

Jerry