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Going under the hood of Memorize Sources (Citations)

sources citations memorize master source source detail Multicite cite existing sources

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#1 rrh7254

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 09:18 AM

Ok, I've read lots of forum discussions on this general topic, but either I'm just not getting it, or , I've missed something, or it hasn't really been explained well enough ...

 

I'm trying to understand how Memorize source (or should I say citation) really works "under the hood" so that I can properly use it where appropriate.

 

Let's say for example I have a source which is a detailed burial record for an individual named "John Smth".  Let's further say it provides good information about both John Smith's date of death and his date of burial.

 

After populating John Smith's Death fact with the date, I then created a first citation to this source, I did this by using Add a new source and selected a template that has both Master Source and Detailed Source fields. After filling out all the master and detailed fields, I give this source a name like "BURIAL REC John Smith".

 

Knowing I am about to enter the Burial fact and again want to cite this same source, I then choose to Memorize the source "Burial Rec John Smith" I just created.  Then after adding a Burial fact with appropriate information for this same person, I then paste the memorized source into the sources table for the Burial fact.

 

Now here is the rub... Do I have 2 completely standalone versions of this specific source? only 1 version with a cross-referencing pointer from the 2nd fact? or some convoluted hybrid situation that is both standalone and cross referenced at the same time?

 

A test I did seems to suggest it is some hybrid of standalone and cross-referenced pointer.

 

My test involved editing one of the detailed fields (a minor modification) in the second instance of the source (the one made by pasting the memorized source into the Burial fact).  Then I went back and looked at the first instance of the source (the one made originally for the death record) thinking the change would appear there too.  But I was surprised that it had not been changed by my edit to the 2nd instance.  This suggested to me the 2nd instance was a completely standalone copy of the first instance.....But then when I ran a narrative report for this person, only one version of the citation was written and referenced against both facts (it happened to be the original version).  This seems to suggest that the system isn't really aware of the 2nd version of the citation and is using a pointer or something to say the second is the same as the first.

 

But then I got to wondering if the narrative report could have picked up the second variant of the source (the edited one) instead of the first, had it been tied to a fact that appeared before the 1st entered instance (i.e. a fact earlier in the timeline).

 

At that point, I realized, I really had no idea how this feature is working under the hood and was hoping someone might educate me.

 

Without that understanding, I am worried that if I should need to edit multiple "memorized" citations, I may have problems if I can't remember (or know) the order in which I created them, or the way in witch the Narrative reports picks the version to use from the multiple variants recorded, or whether I have succeeded in editing all the variants.   I'm also not sure how I can even see all the variants, I might have since they all show up as just one source (without details) in the Master Source List.

 

I really feel strongly about citing my sources for each fact to which they are relevant (and with considerable detail) and at first blush it seemed like Memorize sources was the way to go,  But now I am not so sure.


-- regards,

-- Randy


#2 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 09:31 AM

The short answer is that each time you Paste a Memorized citation, you get a new and standalone citation. Period. If you Paste it ten times, then you have eleven standalone citations - the original plus the ten times you pasted it.

 

If you wish to make the same change in Master Source portion of the citation, you only have to make the change one time. If you wish to make the same change in the Source Details portion of the citation, you have to make the change eleven times.

 

The results where you made a change in the Source Details portion of a citation and it wasn't reflected when you ran a report makes no sense. I guess I'm wondering about the nature of the change that you made. You can make changes that do affect the footnote sentence, and you can make changes that might not affect the footnote sentence. It depends on which source template you are using and on what the change was that you made. Is it possible that you made a change in the Source Details that didn't actually change the footnote sentence?

 

Jerry



#3 zhangrau

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 10:37 AM

The short answer is that each time you Paste a Memorized citation, you get a new and standalone citation. Period. If you Paste it ten times, then you have eleven standalone citations - the original plus the ten times you pasted it.

 

 

. . .

 

Is it possible that you made a change in the Source Details that didn't actually change the footnote sentence?

 

Jerry

 

I agree with Jerry.

 

As I've mentioned a number of times, my Master Sources are almost all based on the Book, Basic Format template. I'll attach a screen cap of my 1940 census Master Source, showing how it becomes a Source Citation. The most important thing to remember may be that anything on a YELLOW portion of the dialog (including the Master Text tab) is the Master Source. Anything on a GREEN portion of the dialog (including the Detail Text tab) forms the Source Citation. Notice that my brief Source Details are part of the footnote sentence, so any changes there will cause a Source Index to show that there are multiple (similar, but not identical) citations. Changes made to the Detail Text tab are not reflected in the footnote sentence, and so will not create multiple entries in the Source Index.

 

RM_1940-census-sample.png



#4 rrh7254

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 07:52 AM

 

The results where you made a change in the Source Details portion of a citation and it wasn't reflected when you ran a report makes no sense. I guess I'm wondering about the nature of the change that you made. You can make changes that do affect the footnote sentence, and you can make changes that might not affect the footnote sentence. It depends on which source template you are using and on what the change was that you made. Is it possible that you made a change in the Source Details that didn't actually change the footnote sentence?

 

Jerry

 

Thanks guys.

 

Jerry's observation proved to be correct.  But I think I also observed something I'm only beginning to get my head around.

 

The Detail Fact field I had edited was, in fact, incorporated in both the full footnote and the short footnote sentence templates, so it wasn't quite as simple as it not being in the sentences.

 

I had made a custom source template that involved the use of abbreviations for certain Fact Detail fields (i.e. full version entry || abbreviated entry).  The edit I had initially made to one copy of the source (but not the other) only affected the abbreviated portion of the field in the copied ("memorize") source.

 

I guess when RM initially compiled the potential list of sources requiring citations, it logically would have seen them as two different "standalone" sources, but since both only appeared one time each, each probably generated what would turn out to be identical full footnote citations.  RM then, despite them actually being two different "standalone" citations, recognized they were the exact same construction and combined them as one citation (one reference number) when putting the citations into my narrative report.

 

When I went back and edited the "full version entry" for the copied ("memorize") source that had the previously edited abbreviation entry, and re-ran the narrative report, I got a different result. RM must have still recognized the Master portions of the sources were common, so it generated a first full footnote using the unabbreviated text of the first source, but then generated a 2nd short footnote using the edited abbreviated text of the 2nd source.

 

So while I still don't fully understand what RM is doing under the hood, I get the sense that maybe RM is first trying to match the Master Source fields to decide if two citations can potentially be combined and then second looking at whether the Detailed Source fields can also be combined.  But in that second part it may only be looking at the unabbreviated portions.  If the unabbreviated portions are the same, it treats them as fully common and generates just one source citation.  If the unabbreviated portions of the detail fields are different (and assuming Master Source fields are the same), then it generates both full and short footnotes, but they are based on each source copy's information (independently)....Or so, I think.

 

I guess that suggests to me there is no real cross-linking in the database for related source information at all, and all the smarts for combining sources is done in the citation generation engine.  While probably not really taking advantage of the power of databases, I guess it works even when users manually enter the same source over and over.  This would probably be necessary to handle things done by users before the the "memorize" feature was added.

 

....That's the big problem with handling "legacy" when updating databases.  It tends to hand-cuff your options sometimes.

 

--Randy


-- regards,

-- Randy