Sourced info/links or PDFs?

+2 votes
78 views
When you're working online and find info, is it best to save it as a link, a PDF or both? Many thanks
in The Tree House by Janet Roper G2G1 (1.5k points)

2 Answers

+4 votes
If I find something online that I want to save to my own hard drive for future reference, and I can download it as a common file type such as .pdf or .jpg, I do that.  That's because web sites often get updated, documents move, and links eventually break.  If it's a record that you want to upload as a source to a profile on this site, you need to be a little careful that you're not violating a copyright or the terms of service of the web site where you found the record.  If that's a possible issue, it's better just to link to the record..
by Dennis Barton G2G6 Pilot (368k points)
Thanks Dennis, you bring up some good points about sites being updated, docs moved, etc. I didn't think of copyright until you brought it up. So far all of the records I've found have been 'official' documents of some sort. Thanks for taking the time to answer ;-)

Janet, Even though they are "official" documents - often government records - that are not copyrighted, the image may be copyrighted.  Although I don't know much ​("anything at all" is more accurate!) about copyright laws (which vary in different countries), what I think of as a simplified description of when they do and do not apply is:

  1.  Factual information cannot be copyrighted, therefore if a document or image includes something like "Birth - January 1, 1900" you can repeat that in what you write, whether or not the document or image has a copyright notice.
  2. If a document is copyrighted then (until the copyright has expired) you cannot include an image of the document or a direct quotation from it in what you write.  Although most "official" documents are not copyrighted, I believe there are a few countries (also a few states in the US) that claim copyright for their official documents, so you need to be careful about this.
  3. Images are a whole different kind of animal - if someone scans (or photographs) a document that is not copyrighted, the image belongs to the person who created it.  Thus, if you download a pdf or a graphic file of a scanned document, you need to be sure that it is either old enough that the copyright (if any) would have expired or that permission for its use has been granted by the owner.
Thank you Gaile, I did not know this. This is more intricate than I thought.
+1 vote

Another way to save resources you find on the web is to add the page to the WaybackMachine. To do that, put the URL of interest in the "Save Page Now" box found in the lower right quadrant of the page. When you add the source to WikiTree, include the URL and access date. That way you'll know where/when to look in the WaybackMachine if the direct link doesn't work.

This works great for things like obituaries on a funeral home's website and static web pages like RootsWeb. Saving pages won't work if the info is behind a paywall (Ancestry) or if it's database driven (FamilySearch).

by Debi Hoag G2G6 Pilot (265k points)
Interesting.  I didn't know that option existed.  Thanks for sharing.

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