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The perfect obituary source template


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#1 Ken Funk

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 07:39 PM

I don't generally make my own templates but when I do, I can usually munge something together.  This time I can't seem to get what I want.

 

I am trying to create a template that will allow me to enter an obit regardless of where it came from (clipping book, physical paper, website etc.).  I currently am trying to modify the built in template named 'Newspaper, Print Edition'.

 

Since obits seldom have a listed author, I deleted the [Author] and [Article] lines.  I am thinking it would be adequate in the footnote template to have something like:

Obituary, Ottumwa, Iowa Courier, June 4 2003, Kenneth Funk, page 2, col 1

 

So far what I have come up with is (for the footnote template):

[ItemType], <i>[PubPlace][Newspaper]</i>, [IssueDate], [Subject] <,page [Page]> <,column [Column]>

 

That means I have (or will) get rid of [NewspaperPlace], [SpecificContent] and [Annotation].  I have added [Page] and [Column] fields.  Is there anything else I should really have in this source, or any good suggestions (or even the loan of your template) that someone might be willing to suggest? Should I have something optional to note whether it came from a a newspaper site, funeral home site, physical paper etc.???

 

I am ok with lumping this all under an obituary source.  I don't want or need to have an individual source for each newspaper.  I literally have thousands of obits that I have gathered over the last 35 years and I am just now beginning to enter them as sources.  I have been really terrible about entering sources as I go along.

 

Eventually I plan to modify the obit for other types of annoucements such as weddings, anniversaries and so forth so I am trying to make this source template flexible enough I can alter it accordingly.



#2 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 08:59 PM

For whatever it's worth, here is mine. 

<?[ObitMissing]|No obituary:|Obituary:> [DeceasedName:Reverse]; <[Memorial], ><<i>[FuneralHome]</i>|<i>[Newspaper]</i>>< /[[NewspaperPlace]/]><, [NewspaperDate:plain]><, [NewspaperPage]><, viewed at [WebSite]< on [Viewed:plain]>>.

Or if you don't want or need to document the occasional absence of an obit, you could do the following.

Obituary: [DeceasedName:Reverse]; <[Memorial], ><<i>[FuneralHome]</i>|<i>[Newspaper]</i>>< /[[NewspaperPlace]/]><, [NewspaperDate:plain]><, [NewspaperPage]><, viewed at [WebSite]< on [Viewed:plain]>>.

The [Memorial] variable is usually omitted and serves as a catch all for any info you need to include that won't fit anywhere else. The sentence should work with a newspaper or with a funeral home or without both, and with or without a Web site. I don't promise there isn't some strange combination of parameters that won't break it. But it works for me most of the time. If something new comes up, I just change the template to accommodate whatever comes up, hence the [Memorial] variable. And it does treat an obituary as an obituary in its own right no matter where it appears, not just as a special case of a newspaper article.

 

Jerry

 



#3 Ken Funk

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 09:43 AM

Jerry,

 

Is the template that you posted a sentence template for an obituary fact or do you use that as the footnote template in an obituary source?  I ask because if I recall you have a different way of presenting your facts (dot notation or something like that?), which is I find the post again, I need to read a little more in depth on.  If it is the footnote template, which details do show in the short footnote and bibliography templates?

 

I am currently using it as an example for my obit source.  I created a new source template and added the fields that you list as well as the column field that I want.  I will see how that works out.  In my master source, all I have is that it is an obituary.  All the other fields I have as citation details.



#4 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 12:14 PM

Jerry,

 

Is the template that you posted a sentence template for an obituary fact or do you use that as the footnote template in an obituary source?  I ask because if I recall you have a different way of presenting your facts (dot notation or something like that?), which is I find the post again, I need to read a little more in depth on.  If it is the footnote template, which details do show in the short footnote and bibliography templates?

 

I am currently using it as an example for my obit source.  I created a new source template and added the fields that you list as well as the column field that I want.  I will see how that works out.  In my master source, all I have is that it is an obituary.  All the other fields I have as citation details.

 

I do use an obituary fact that is in addition to and distinct from the death fact. It seems to me that an obituary is a life event in and of itself in addition to its role with respect to death. I suspect that most RM users will use an obituary only as a source.

 

The sentence I posted is for my obituary source template. An obituary source in my database typically becomes a citation for a death fact, an obituary fact, and a burial fact. And depending on the content of the obituary, an obituary source can also become a citation for things like parents, spouses, children, siblings, occupations, etc.

 

The sentence template for my obituary fact is simply <b>Obituary:</b> which acts like it's <b>Obituary:</b> [Note] except that RM doesn't support a [Note] variable and instead RM always includes the note without the need for a variable. Personally, I think that RM's sentence templates would benefit significantly by including a [Note] variable.

 

With respect to most of fields in your obituary template being citation details, that is fine. That simply means that you are a source lumper. One of the nice things about source templates is that they work equally well for source lumpers and source splitters, and the only thing you have to do differently in the template is which fields you check as detail fields. The footnote sentence comes out the same either way, and you can't tell by looking at the footnote sentences in a report whether the RM user is a source lumper or splitter. The only way you could tell in a report would be if the report included a bibliography that was based on the source templates.

 

Jerry