Keeping Track of Footnote Status

The Problem? How do you maintain writing momentum while composing footnotes? How does one track the status of footnotes as you write?

I doubt I am inventing anything here and, in fact, I suspect most folks come up with a system of some sort and perhaps one even fairly similar to mine.

I have a four methods I use to maintain consistency between similar footnotes, clean up footnotes and identify short form/Ibid footnotes. The main reason why I need multiple methods is because I find writing painful if I have to stop writing and make a footnote. What I do instead is intensely research and take notes (Evernote, Dropbox, Word are my friends). And then start writing and it can flow out of me.  “Flow” makes it sound simple; actually writing is only less painful if I do it this way.

If the writing naturally breaks up into chunks, I will write then do footnotes and then repeat. But, trust me, at the beginning, the paper is pretty ugly.

Here we go…

Method 1:

  1. I insert the footnotes into the very ugly draft. There are two types–ones I found while researching– These are usually in good shape because I carefully compose them while I am researching.  The other category are ones based on my documents I have collected over the years that I wish to reference in the document. These I  compose as I find I need them.
  2. Each footnote is also copied onto a Master Source List and placed in an appropriate category, e.g. censuses 1850 and before, vital records, books, etc. and in alpha order within each category.

Method 2: Color coding

  1. If I find I am missing a source,  I will make a footnote and instead of a citation I write what I am missing, e.g. “DR for Antje R.” or even “what was I thinking here?” These I put in red.
  2. If I have a partial footnote or I am missing information, I enter the partial citation, I enter a note to myself. For example, a newspaper clipping in my file but with no newspaper noted, I will put the citation in as I know it but put “What is the newspaper’s name?” in red. I might be able to find the name of the newspaper later.
  3. If I think the citation is complete and I am happy with it, I color it green.
  4. After all citations are green, I will then, and only then turn them all black.

Method 3: identifying Short form and Ibid opportunities

  1. I make all citations long form until all citations are “black.”
  2. While I write and if I think I have used it before (usually I know this because it appears on my Master Source List) I place a “SF” at the start of the citation indicating this citation is a candidate for a short form citation or “IBID” indicating there might be an opportunity to just use Ibid. But, I won’t know this until the paper is finished

Method 4:

  1. To cross check the citations after they have all turned black, I plan on (haven’t gotten this far yet on any document) turning them into endnotes (yes, you can change them back to footnotes when you are finished), and check each one very carefully.  I am not sure yet how this will work, but I think I will pick off the first one, paste it into a separate Word document making another Master Source List II, and turn the appropriate ones into short form or add Ibid. This will force me to look for inconsistencies, anomalies (should be few, but I know a few sneaked in).
  2. I will check each one against EE [1] to make sure any changes I have made are defensible.
  3. I think I will have to do this because I wasn’t religious about entering every unique citation into my first master source list, but even if I had, I would still probably make a Master Source List II because I want my citations to be super-consistent and composed appropriately.

Hope this helps someone.

Happy Hunting!

Jill

What I have done since the last post: worked on my KDP almost exclusively, toning up my two presentations for Jamboree which is just in 2.5 weeks, and signed up for their live streaming of their DNA Day. I bought some downloads from NGS and have listened to a couple so far (Judy R on women and the law and Lisa Alzo on eastern European brick walls).

[1] Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace,” third edition (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2015).

Advertisements

3 comments on “Keeping Track of Footnote Status

  1. Ann Royal says:

    Thanks, Jill, I was looking for something that would work for me.

    • Jill Morelli says:

      Give it a try–if you have questions just ask. But modify it as well. The key, I think, is that every source citation gets copied onto the Master Source List the first time. Then I think you could eliminate the 4th step. Good luck.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s