Friday, June 1, 2012

Creating Research Notes in RootsMagic 5 - Post 2

In my post Creating Research Notes in RootsMagic 5 - Post 1 yesterday, I demonstrated how to create the "Detail Text Note" for a Source in a list of Events for a Person or a Family.  The "Detail Text Note" for a Source might contain a summary, transcription, abstract or extract from the source material, or comments, discussion and analysis of the source material.  In other words, material that might be included in a detailed Research Report by a genealogy researcher.  As far as I can tell, RootsMagic 5 is the only current genealogy software program with this capability.

RootsMagic 5 can create a "Research Notes Report" that includes all Sources on the Events list, with or without "Detail Text Notes."

In order to create the "Research Notes Report," the user must enter information about the sourced Events into the "Detail Text Note" Research Note and/or Comment fields for each Event.  Otherwise, the Event is listed, with the source citation, but with no note or comment.  I will show this later in this post.

The creation of  the "Research Notes Report" is relatively simple in RootsMagic 5.  My process was:

1)  On the "Family" View with your target person highlighted, click on the "Reports" menu item and select "Lists:"

2)  On the "Create a Report" window, select the "Research Reports" item and then select the "Research Notes" item:

3)  The "Research Notes" window opens and the user can select what is to be included in the "Research Notes Report:"

The options available are:

*  Print research notes for Person, or for Family (Father, Mother, Children). [I checked Person]

*  Select person or family.  The user can select anyone from the Person list.  But only one person... [I selected Alpheus B. Smith]

*  Include only sources with research notes [I kept this unchecked - I wanted all Sources whether they had a Research Note or not]

*  Include Comments. [I checked this box]

I could also change the Report Layout by using the "Layout" button, and the fonts by using the "Fonts" button.

4)  I clicked the "Generate Report" button and saw:

There were nine pages on this list with 14 Events, all of which have one or more sources, but not all of them had Research Notes.

The format of these notes includes:

*  A header title with a creation date (on every page)

*  The date and location of the Event (two lines)

*  The text of the Research Note and Comment (as typed into the "Detail Text" Note fields)

*  A source number superscript at the end of each Research Note.

*  The source citation appears as a Footnote at the bottom of the page.

In the screen above, the reader can see that I did not have any text in the "Detail Text" note field for the Birth Event for Alpheus Smith, and the Report says "<<No research note>>"

5)  I created a Research Note for the Birth Event, and it showed up the next time I created the "Research Notes Report:"

As discussed in this and the previous post, the creation of the "Detail Text Note" for each Source citation is the critical feature for this report.  The "Research Notes Report" itself is very easy and quick to create, but the content depends on the Detail text notes for each sourced Event.

I understand that this is the initial version of this Research Report feature, but I have several suggestions to make it more usable and readable:

*  Add the Event name to the heading for every item on the Report.  When I transcribe or summarize source material, I don't always note which Event it applies to.  Without the Event name in the Header for the Report item, users have to write an introductory sentence or two for each item as I did for the Birth Event above.

*  Enable Centering of the Header in the Fonts button menu

*  Add the Source Quality information (Information Type, Source Type, Evidence Type) to the heading for each Source listed in the "Research Notes Report."

*  Add a "Research Notes" button to the "Edit Person" window (shown below):

There is already a "Research Log" button above the Person Event list and Person details.  Simply add another button for "Research Notes" to make this very useful report more noticeable and accessible.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Bart Brenner said...

Thanks, Randy! These two posts were very helpful. I now have a better handle on using the Research Log / Notes / Report functions of RootsMagic.

Gina said...

This is an awesome report. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. However, I have to disagree with your wish to add the event name to each item. I am using the "family" version of the report, which includes some events for children in the family, and having "Birth" print for each of the parents' births and children's births would be a little confusing. I am using ESM's method of adding the event type manually, in italics (ex: Birth of Peter Sheppard). Thanks, too, for the link to ESM's sample report! It's very helpful. Thanks again, Gina

beirnek said...

I've been doing the research notes since I switched to RootsMagic after reading a posting about it by Elizabeth Shown Mills in a mailing list. I have all of my citations done up properly for a brick wall ancestor, but the research report comes out to 117 pages, which is a bit daunting. The problem for me was that transcriptions of affidavits and other documents from a military pension file took up a lot of space and were repeated a lot as they were used in citations for lots of pieces of information. I'm wondering in those cases if I should put the transcription in the master text section and then just put the fragments in the detail section.

ayumi said...

wonderful work! the way you discuss the subject i'm very impressed. i'll bookmark this webpage and be back more often to see more updates from you.


Kevin Right said...

Though ESM's method for adding the event type manually, this link to ESM's sample report is also something new and helpful. Thanks a lot for contribution.
Kevin Right

Cindy Dy said...

I'm impressed. You're truly well informed and very intelligent. You wrote something that people could understand and made the subject intriguing for everyone. I'm saving this for future use.


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