Since I have to re-do all my data, I'm trying to do it correctly this time. Right now, I'm looking at Source Quality: Source/Information/Evidence.
A source can either be:
-Original- "in its first recorded form"
-Derivative- "extracted, transcribed or otherwise derived from the original"
My problem is what to do with photocopies/scanned copies, etc. They aren't originals because they aren't the original birth certificate/etc. But the definition of derived means that the info came from the original but isn't necessarily the same. There's a chance the new copy could have errors. [I'm guessing that these definitions came about before the common use of copy machines.]
If I'm physically taking notes from an original document, I could interpret handwriting wrong, etc. But if I'm making a scanned copy, it's going to have the exact same info as the original.
On the other hand, a scanned copy could be manipulated to change some of the data. I doubt that comes up often, but it can happen.
I'm thinking of using:
-Original- the one and only (ideally) version that has the original signatures, special paper, seals, etc.
-Duplicate- a machine-copied version of the original
-Derivative- Indexes, automatically computer-generated summaries (which rely on OCR software, which can make mistakes), hand-written notes, etc.
I could include Duplicate under Derivative, but I want to know to look out for the original/duplicate 1900 Census since I only have a summary which may be wrong or be missing data. Auto-summaries get a lot of things wrong, so I'd rather get info from an original or duplicate rather than a derivative.
Should I be posting in a different forum?