Video: Better Way to Cite Online Sources

Monday, 20 Apr 2009 | by Mark Tucker


Phoenix, AZ – April 20, 2009. Every genealogist and family historian from beginner to professional will at some time confront the issue of source citations. Although great advances have been made in recent years to standardize and simplify citations, it is still too difficult. Today on a video was released that proposes a better way to cite online sources.

This 7.5 minute video consists of two sections. The first section discusses some of the current issues with citing sources especially when it comes to online sources. The second section demonstrates an approach to quickly and accurately cite online sources. The technology needed to accomplish this exists today. The changes proposed by this video requires collaboration between various providers of genealogy software and services.

As a genealogy community, we have at times united to get our voices heard in such areas as records preservation & access, NARA fees, and other topics of key concern. You are invited to watch the video, provide feedback, and learn how we can work together to make citing online sources approachable to all researchers.

About is a blog created in July 2007 to discuss ideas and innovation in genealogy and genealogy software. It was recently recognized by ProGenealogists, Inc. as one of the 25 Most Popular Genealogy Blogs for 2009. To learn more, visit:


  1. Mark

    Nice article … I suggest that you look at the citation browser addon … they’ve already done the heavy lifting … some further work would be required by geneealogy websites and software providers, but htis might be a promising direction.



    Comment by Bob Bashford — 21 Apr 2009 @ 8:42 am

  2. I use Zotero and have looked at what it would take to have it support EE-style templates. Currently it does not support the many record types that genealogists use as well as being limited in the number of fields (author, place, publisher, etc.) offered.

    It is my hope that this effort could include companies and organizations that already have citation software. This would include zotero, EndNote, RefWorks, and EasyBib.

    Comment by Mark Tucker — 21 Apr 2009 @ 10:33 am

  3. Hi Mark, Thanks for opening up this conversation. The video is terrific for those of us “visual types!” I invite your readers to listen to my online radio show Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 64 at
    (also available in iTunes). In this episode I give my take on the subject. In addition, I asked both Ancestry and World Vital Records for interviews to give their thoughts on the subject and I play those in the episode as well. It’s a great chance to hear where the big subscription records companies stand on this important issue.

    As always you’ve got us thinking and hopefully all talking about how improvements can be made. Thanks Mark! Best, Lisa Louise Cooke

    Comment by Lisa Louise Cooke — 27 Apr 2009 @ 2:18 pm

  4. Hi Mark:

    Great Idea ! Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t already provide source citations when you merge a record into your database?

    Keep up the great THINK !



    Comment by Bill Pennola — 27 Apr 2009 @ 6:22 pm

  5. Well, Mark, you’ve certainly inspired some “water cooler” conversation with this video! Thanks for your initiative to get us to think about this.


    Comment by Stephen J. Danko — 28 Apr 2009 @ 4:33 pm

  6. [...] 50 days ago, I posted a video titled “A Better Way to Cite Onilne Sources” with 2 corresponding surveys. Since then 358 people responded to the individual survey and 9 to the [...]

    Pingback by Better Online Citations Surveys Now Closed | ThinkGenealogy — 7 Jun 2009 @ 10:19 pm

  7. [...] I’d be remiss if I didn’t point you to Mark Tucker’s excellent video post on “A Better Way to Cite Online Sources” over at ThinkGenealogy. Check it [...]

    Pingback by Source Citation Tips and Taps « Reclaiming Kin — 14 Nov 2009 @ 4:50 pm

  8. Mark,
    Thank you for your ground breaking work on down-loadable sources in 2009. Currently I am preparing a website for my personal Family History. I use RootsMagic and would like to use the feature that you showed in the movie on my website, so that others can quickly download the sources. Is there a template or detail instructions on how to code this information on my website?
    Bruce E. Mullenix

    Comment by Bruce Mullenix — 5 Feb 2011 @ 9:25 am

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