The maturing of the citation writer–which one are you?

What I observe:

  • Genealogy newbies: Do no citations because they will remember.
  • Genealogy beginners: Know they won’t remember and cite only so they can find the source again–a dashed off note is good enough.  If they refer to a style guide, they look for the exact citation  and copy what they see.  If there is no example that addresses the exact situation, there is a frustration directed towards the failings of the author of the style guide.
  • Genealogy intermediates: Look to the style manual to see what citation form might be closest. If they don’t find it, they try to incorporate the information of the source in the best location. Some frustration with the style manual but figures that it’s “good enough.”
  • Genealogy experts: Identify the focus of what is being cited; design the citation while empathizing with the reader and how they may perceive the citation.  Think about the research question and what is the emphasis of the item being cited and how that impacts the citation. Refer to the style manual for overall form and as a checklist for order and content. Also understand that they are telling the reader a story in the subtext–the story of the quality of the sources and the extent of the search through the variety of sources studied. When reading quality journals will often read the citations first to understand the subtext story.

Which are you?

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting:  finished reading Genealogical Evidence by Noel Stevenson and ordered the book, got my flight information for Richmond, reading my newly arrived Genealogy Standards; posted the blog about gender and genealogy, worked on my ProGen assignment (Proof Argument, draft #1) and the SGS newsletter a bit (it’s my weekend project), pet the cat and watched the Olympics (dare I say it–I am finding them a bit boring). Am investigating a Udacity course called “Build your Start-up,” a MOOC about starting your business.  It’s free and self paced.  ProGen will be done in the summer and I might start it in the Fall.  It would be fun to do it as a small group.


One comment on “The maturing of the citation writer–which one are you?

  1. Lisa says:

    Uh, oh… I fear I am perpetually stalled out at beginner! At least until someone asks me “how do you know that?” Then I fear of embarrassment has me running to clean up my act!

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