In December 2008, I wrote a blog post titled 9 Genealogy Predictions for 2009. It is now time to review that list and see how well the predictions matched reality.
1. Two more desktop genealogy applications will support source citation templates from Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence Explained. Currently Legacy 7 and RootsMagic 4 support this. The other two might likely be Family Tree Maker and The Master Genealogist.
Family Tree Maker 2009 now supports source citation templates following Evidence Explained. To my knowledge, no other desktop genealogy applications have announced this support.
2. One major online database (Ancestry, WorldVitalRecords, FamilySearch, Footnote) will announce upcoming support for Evidence Explained source citations. Other sites will soon follow with their own announcements.
I am disappointed that none of the mentioned online databases support Evidence Explained source citations. Please correct me if I am mistaken. If GenSeek is released in 2010, maybe it will be the first.
I’ve been immersed in technology for so long, that sometimes I forget that not everyone has a high-speed internet connection. Thanks A A Bowen for reminding me of that. Below you will find the text of the video, A Better Way to Cite Online Sources, in script form. Before I recorded the video of the PowerPoint and demo using Camtasia Studio 6, I wrote a script to get my thoughts together and try to be more concise. The text is likely not 100% of what was said on the video, but it is close. That is why I am calling it a script instead of a transcript.
Between the script and the detailed description of the demo, you should be in a good position to answer the survey questions without the need to see the video.
In Better Online Citations – Details Part 1 we examined how the QuickCheck model for “Book: Basic format” from Evidence Explained was coded in Family Tree Maker 2009, Legacy 7, and RootsMagic 4. From the screens we were able to identify implementation differences between the three applications. There are also differences between the applications in how citation information is conveyed via a GEDCOM export. The individual fields shown on the template screens are lost in the standard GEDCOM export making it impossible to create a rich EE-style citation in one application, export it to GEDCOM, and import it into another application while retaining that richness. In all cases (except when the exporter and importer of the GEDCOM is RootsMagic 4), the citation is changed from a “Book: Basic format” to a generic “old-style” (pre EE) format with important details lost.
There have been a number of comments from viewers of the video, “A Better Way to Cite Online Sources”, asking about how things work behind the scenes. Being a geek by nature, I tend to be technical in my writing and so I tried to stay away from too many details in the video. The main point was to show what a solution to the online citation problem might look like.
For those who want to know more, here are the details.
We will first start with the QuickCheck models found in Evidence Explained. These models can be used by software developers as a feature specification:
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 ThinkGenealogy.com 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.
ThinkGenealogy.com 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: www.ThinkGenealogy.com
This next award is long overdue. The second winner of the ThinkGenealogy Innovator award is Legacy Family Tree version 7. When the innovator award is presented for software innovation, it is for a specific feature. The innovative feature that is being recognized today is Legacy 7′s source citation templates following Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace.
Previous versions of Legacy allowed for source citations, but not anywhere near this level. So this improved citaion feature can be considered an incremental innovation. Evidence Explained (or EE ) is 885 pages and contains around a thousand citation models for U.S. and international documents. Just reading the book is an accomplishment in itself but then translating that into software? Amazing!