Should inline citations and Sources list the same information?

+8 votes


  1. FamilySearch 1880 Census
  2. FamilySearch 1900 Census
  3. FamilySearch 1910 Census
  4. FamilySearch 1920 Census
  5. FamilySearch 1930 Census
  6. FamilySearch 1940 Census
  • United States Census, 1880, database with images, FamilySearch 1880 Census,  Fairview, Jones, Iowa, United States; citing enumeration district ED 336, sheet 432C, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0348; FHL microfilm 1,254,348.
  • Iowa, County Marriages, 1838-1934, database, FamilySearch,  Fairview, Jones, Iowa, United States; citing reference 106, county courthouses, Iowa; FHL microfilm 1,255,529.
  • United States Census, 1900, database with images, FamilySearch, Benton & Emery Townships Spencer city, McCook, South Dakota, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 357, sheet 8B, family 154, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,241,551.
in Policy and Style by Mary Jenkins G2G2 (2.0k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
An inline citation negates the need to also list the same source in the See also: section under sources.  In the example above, it is always better to use the actual citation rather than the URL to which it is associated because URLs are subject to URL rot, change, or just disappearing with time.
On the other hand, I like what she's done here...

An inline citation can merely be a reference to a particular fact.

Whereas the actual source listing can provide much more detail (and then doesn't clutter up the biography when in edit mode).

3 Answers

+12 votes
If you are asking if the inline citation should re-state what's in the "Sources" section, I don't think that is necessary.  If you're asking if the two should dovetail together, I do prefer that they do.  

I like to use the <ref> and </ref> tags so that the inline citations in the profile show up in the Source section--with the net effect that at a glance, a reader of the profile can tell that there is a specific source for the statement just made. I don't usually have much of anything fancy in the inline citations--they are just numbers referencing down to the numbers in the "Source" section at the bottom of the profile--but using the <ref> tags this way seems wonderfully specific and thorough to me, so I like it.  

Admittedly, use of the <ref> tags for inline citations can be challenging for people not yet familar with html coding--though it seems to me to be fairly straightforward to learn.
by Cynthia Larson G2G6 Pilot (172k points)
I do this too Cynthia and agree with you.  I have no problem with HTML. I am a software developer so that comes naturally to me.  I would love some improvements to the "Edit" mode on the profile to make the <ref>blah</ref> more visible (font face/size change or color coding).  I do the CNTL+F to highlight the "ref" tag and that does help some.
I do it like this:

John Doe was born in 1863.
Some sort of source citation here

He married Linda in 1885.
another nice primary source here

Everything on it's own line, That way you can see what's what, when editing.
This would be a good addition to the chrome extensions, if it’s not already there, although they do grey out what’s between the tags in the straight edit mode

Gillian, I think I like your approach for <ref>s usage. I'm going to try it on my next profile addition.  However, I'd like to see them color coded.  

+6 votes
No, they shouldn't need to be duplicated (a 'horror' word for WikiTreers! LOL)

Your sources section should read

but since FamilySearch has been kind enough to give us a pre-written citation - why not use it? (in the proper place for inline sourcing)
by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
+8 votes
I think they can be combined without losing much.
by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
edited by SJ Baty

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