Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dear Randy - How Do I Cite an Online Newspaper Article?

A reader asked in email:  "How do I create a source citation for a newspaper article found in an online collection, like Ancestry or GenealogyBank?"

The short answer is to "use Evidence! Explained, section 14.22."  I checked that, and then used the RootsMagic 6 Source Template for "Newspaper, Online Images" which should replicate the Evidence! Explained template:

For this exercise, I used the death notice for Elijah McKnew, published in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper dated 5 April 1912, on page 17 in the "Deaths" column, found on in their San Francisco Chronicle collection.

Here is the newspaper article screen:

The RootsMagic 6 source template for the "Newspaper, Online Images" category is:

The "Master Source" elements are (field entries in red):

*  Author: [left blank because none was listed]
*  Newspaper: San Francisco Chronicle [this element doesn't get used in the citation]
*  Title with place:  San Francisco [Calif.] Chronicle [this element gets used]
*  Publish Place:  San Francisco, Calif.
*  Edition Type:  digital images
*  Website:  Fold3
*  URL:
*  Collection:  San Francisco Chronicle Collection [this may be redundant here, but is necessary when a specific newspaper is included in a large online collection with a generic title]

The "Source Details" elements are (field entries in red):

*  Article: Deaths [the column heading]
*  Item Type:  [left blank, I could have put "death notice" but it would be redundant, I think]
*  Issue Date:  5 April 1912
*  Specific Content:  page 17, Elijah P. McKnew death notice
*  Access Type:  accessed
*  Date accessed:  accessed 5 March 2011
*  Credit Line: [left blank]
*  Annotation:  [left blank]

The completed source citation in "First Reference Note" or "Footnote" format is:

"Deaths," San Francisco [Calif.] Chronicle, 5 April 1912, page 17, Elijah P. McKnew death notice; digital images, Fold3 ( : accessed 5 March 2011), San Francisco Chronicle Collection.

With this source template, each newspaper to be sourced from a specific online provider needs its own Master Source.

Obviously, the reader should substitute the specific elements for his problem into the model above to craft his own source citation for a newspaper article found in an online collection provider.

I have quite a few obituaries from online digital image providers, and need to methodically go through them to add source citations for them in my RootsMagic database.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


Root Digger said...

Randy, Thank you for this post.

Sonja Hunter said...

Your timing was perfect, I was going to go looking for how to do just this in a few days. Thanks!

Electric Power Cords said...

Awesome. I am also going to try it now and will update what I would get.

SearchShack said...

Thanks for the information. I just switched to RootsMagic so the timing of your newspaper example was perfect!

Am wondering if you have an example of a digital pension record index. Roots Magic doesn't seem to have an option for a digital record. In this case so far I've just seen the reference to it in Family Search which refers me to Fold3. Will see the record later but would love to know how to document the document so I source it correctly when I do research at our local Family History Center.

SearchShack said...

Thanks for answering my question on your Saturday blog! I've been using the online newspaper guidance you posted here every day as I find more newspaper articles about Shackfords. I'll try the options you suggested when at the Family Resource Center next week when I see the actual source document.
I appreciated your comments in today's Genea-Musings re the benefits of transcribing and posting your own family history. Transcribing not only helps me see the more details but I really fid that I can use those specific words in new google searches which then find more newspaper articles. I think I'll also start posting my transcriptions weekly to see if they lead to more Shackford connections.