Monday, March 16, 2009

Review: QuickSheet: Citing Databases and Images

Correctly citing sources of my research results is one of my major failings, so I was excited to find the latest QuickSheet by Elizabeth Shown Mills available from Genealogical Publishing company, one of the largest genealogical book publishers. I need all the help I can get!

This QuickSheet is available as a four-page, folded, 8.5 by 11, laminated, and lightweight guide easily found on a bookshelf or easily carried in a briefcase or laptop case for easy reference. I keep mine in the nearest corner of the bookcase, where I can grab it when I'm inputting a source citation into my genealogy software or when I'm going off to a repository.

The source citations for databases and images in this QuickSheet are based on those in the book:

However, the QuickSheet citations are specific for databases and images. Evidence Explained did not cite many of the databases explicitly. In fact, I cannot find a source citation model in Evidence Explained for online Family Trees at all.

The four pages of this QuickSheet are chock full of information. The first page, shown above, has a short column of Basic Principles about database types and the requirement to create citations for both the source that Ancestry used and the database/image that Ancestry provides as a product. There is a set of Basic Templates that can be used as a guideline for any other database, created by an outside party. The balance of the first page and the other three pages are devoted to Models for Common Record Types, supplying a Source List Entry, a First Reference Note and a Subsequent Reference Note for each type (similar to Evidence Explained models).

The 20 record type models provided on this QuickSheet include:

* Basic Format: Databases - Created by Ancestry
* Basic Format: Images - Manuscript Collection
* Articles (at Learning Center) - Staff article, unsigned
* Articles (at Learning Center) - Online archive for print publications
* Books: Database Extractions
* Books: Images
* Censuses: Databases - 1890 Substitute
* Censuses: Images
* City Directories: Databases
* City Directories: Images

* Draft Registrations: Images
* Family Trees - Documented Data
* Family Trees - Undocumented data
* Immigration-Emigration Rolls - Databases
* Immigration-Emigration Rolls - Images
* Maps: Images
* Military Records: Databases
* Military Records: Images
* Newspapers: Images
* PERSI: Database

There are footnotes on each page for comments about specific models to help the user understand some of the nuances of the records and the citations.

I use the census, military, newspaper, family trees and maps all of the time in my family history research, and have struggled to place correct source citations in my genealogy databases (to the point that I'm embarrassed to show my Notes and sources to anyone else!). This QuickSheet, along with Evidence Explained, will help me improve my source citation capabilities and enhance the quality of the family history books I hope to write.

The source citation for this product is:

Elizabeth Shown Mills, QuickSheet: Citing Databases and Images, Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, MD, 2009. It is ISBN: 9780806317946 and can be obtained from Genealogical Publishing Company (Baltimore, MD) for $7.95 plus shipping.

The Genealogical Publishing Company also offers a similar product for citing other online resources:

Elizabeth Shown Mills, QuickSheet: Citing Online Historical Resources, First Revised Edition, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore MD, 2007. It is available for $5.95 plus shipping.

1 comment:

Bob Kramp said...

I believe the main purpose for source citations is that ANOTHER researcher at any time in the future could go to those sources and confirm the information referred to. I use online family trees and I have posted some myself, but I don't think I could ever use these sources in my PUBLISHED research. They change like the wind! Perhaps that is one reason Evidence Explained does not even offer a format for this type of citation. Granted, other Ancestry databases are OK if they are based on original sources which one could confirm if they went through the effort and expense to track down those original sources. I'm thinking here of data on birth, marriage, or death.