I started a database from scratch and created some sources for census records. I also linked the census source to some other events such as birth year and occupation. Now I'm going back and making changes to my census sources and I noticed that even though the links have the same citation, that when I update the citation for the census it changes for all occurrences of that source record, but that it doesn't update the other events. I have to go to each individual link and update them one by one. Is this normal, even though they are the same source record?
Fixing Source records
Posted 23 August 2020 - 01:54 PM
It depends where you are updating them. If you update the master source, it updates all the citations. If you update the details, it only updates that one citation. I don't know if this will change in RM8 or not since this is a frequent complaint.
Posted 24 August 2020 - 07:44 AM
For the reasons mentioned by Moorob, I long ago changed the way I used sources and citations in RM so that I now enter all my sourcing information into what RM calls the Master Source field (the yellow area in RM's Edit Source screen). I do not enter any of my sourcing information into what RM calls the Source Details field (the green area in RM's Edit Source screen). By doing it in this fashion, any change I make to a citation is immediately and automatically applied to every instance of the same citation. My approach is called extreme source splitting. You can find the initial discussion about my approach at http://forums.rootsm.../?hl=adventures
I have long thought there is a bit of a terminology problem with the whole topic of source splitting and source lumping. Namely, RM's Master Source field corresponds with what is usually called a source and RM's Source Detail field corresponds with what is usually called a citation. RM then creates a footnote sentence and we have the following relationship.
footnote sentence = source + citation
Except I think it's the footnote sentence that's really the citation which leads to the absurdity that
citation = source + citation
I wish this terminology could be cleaned up a bit, but in the big picture that doesn't matter so much. What matters more is that RM8 indeed does have a feature whereby citations can be shared. It probably will solve the problem without forcing you to become an extreme source splitter. I say "probably" because I'm not willing to concede that it completely solves the problem until I am able to test it myself.
One stated reason for this whole "footnote sentence = source + citation" model is that it allows the "source" part to be reused without it having to be typed in again for another similar citation. A less often stated reason for this model is that it allows the "source" part to become an entry in a Bibliography. I think the Bibliography situation could be solved by simply defining a Bibliography sentence in a source template for completely split source templates and by not duplicating Bibliography entries in a Bibliography. I avoid retyping the what is classically called the source part of a new citation simply by copying an existing RM Master Source which already includes the information I need. I also make note of the fact that many/most/all genealogy sites these days provide you with a completed "footnote sentence = citation" that you can copy and paste into your genealogy software. But it's difficult to paste such a completed citation into software such as RM (and most others) that operate with the source + citation model. There is no way to paste it. Instead, you have to figure out how to split up the completed citation in such a way that RM can put it back together again the way it already was.
Posted 24 August 2020 - 08:53 AM
The model Jerry talks about is developed from the way a database designer would separate out data to reduce and reuse information through a process of “normalization”.
It boils down to the philosophy of creating a data holder that contains all data that can be reused, and anything left over is unique to the use. So in a simple environment (example) a book, a yearly census, a boat manifest, a church register, a bible are all sources, while the stuff left over, (page number, line number, paragraph, text ...) are considered detail unique to the use. As you reuse sources all you should need to do is select the previously entered source and add detail for “citing” the fact.
User interface implementation of this database model, does not have to follow the design of the database, but sometimes does.
Posted 24 August 2020 - 10:29 AM
I'm actually very supportive of data normalization as KFN describes, despite being an extreme source splitter in RM7. I became a source splitter in RM very reluctantly and only to solve the very nasty practical problem of being able to make changes to citations that had been memorized and pasted multiple times.
My only additional comment would be that sometimes you need more than the two levels that the source + citation model provides. That model has been generalized from books to other kinds of genealogical sources. For an example of needing more than two levels to achieve normalization, a top level might be something like U. S. Federal Population Census or U. S. Federal Agricultural Census, etc. A second level might be something like the census year. A third level might be something like the census state or territory. Etc. But the same number of levels to achieve data normalization is usually not appropriate for every source situation.
Posted 24 August 2020 - 09:35 PM
Iirc, we have seen indication in the RM8 preview of a reusable citation that can be tagged to multiple facts/events. A parallel is Place and Place Detail - Place is to Master Source as Place Detail is to Source Detail (Citation).
Posted 25 August 2020 - 07:10 AM
A parallel is Place and Place Detail - Place is to Master Source as Place Detail is to Source Detail (Citation).
Tom beat me to it, Place & Place Details are another perfect example of normalization where a Place does not need to be repeatedly entered to refer to the Churches, Cemeteries, Addresses within it. This relational data model helps greatly to minimize database size and add to efficiency. I do use Place Details and would be a Source Lumper by definition, I can only say get the Citation detailed and with enough information to begin with before copying to other facts, sometimes I would copy a similar Citation, make edits to reflect the new data and then start copying to to those facts.
For Moorob, in the case of a Census I do double up by entering Individual Facts and also Sharing the Census, changing the Citation on a Shared Event will be reflected an all Shares. This is the reverse of database normalization and more of a safety net for me as I do like the concept of Shared Facts but what are called Witness Events are apparently not globally supported although my other software does support them.
Keeping ones customers and their important views at a distance is never a good approach
User of Family Historian 7.0, Rootsmagic 7.6.3