<Span> links for == Research Notes == citations [closed]

+16 votes

Edit: Since writing this post I have come to read more on the subject and in the Help:Alternative Sources page at Wikitree and I have discovered that the use of Span links "... is not ideal and is not generally recommended for manually-created sources. It is supported because it has to be. We may be able to find a way to fix this in the future."


Based on this information, I will not be using span links on profiles and will edit out those that I have created.  For research notes, I will try to incorporate them as a note within the source, for example:

Jones, Michael. "Quaker records 1800-1840." Cleveland, OH: Jones Publishing, 1984. p. 147. Note: As indicated in his forward, Jones only includes Quaker records from 4 counties.


Note: The records only cover 4 counties as cited at: Jones, Michael. "Quaker records 1800-1840." Cleveland, OH: Jones Publishing, 1984. p. 147.

For those that don't have a source to migrate into or are too long and need to be put into the research notes, I will merely add a mark that is not linked such as [a] or [i] or an asterisk and include a note below the text:

Blah blah blah.*

* Explanation of blah blah blah.

closed with the note: span links are discouraged by the style guide
in Policy and Style by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
closed by SJ Baty
Deleted - see above.

Nicely don, SJ, and beautifully explained!  I might add 1 extra - if you want the link to appear superscripted, as the footnotes do, you can do it this way:

<sup>[#a1 | [[a]]]</sup>

Ah, very nice - I wasn't sure what you meant by superscripted so I gave the <sup> code a try.  Nice touch!  

Caveat to add for those who don't know as I didn't: 

John was living in America since at least 1880.[a]


John was living in America since at least 1880.[a]

This explanation is absolutely wonderful! Thank you. For those people that don't understand why someone would use span links for research notes I would like to explain.

My mom hates to read. She just wants the facts. She would say:  "Put all your techy explanations on the bottom so I don't have to read through all your research explanations. I don't want to have to read the same paragraph three times because my mind drifts away half-way through the paragraph!"

She would rather I read the information and verbally give her the "short of it".
I prefer to use a name for the id=  I use C1850, C1860, etc.for Census and common names like Birth, death, Estate,  FG.  I use the same source reference in multiple places.  The just can't have spaces in the names.

7 Answers

+9 votes
Best answer

Here is a neat little trick for when you feel your Profile is getting a bit long and making folks scroll a lot.  This is an internal link to return the viewer to the top of the Profile.

Copy and paste this to the first line of the Edit Box.

<span id="1b"><sup>[[#1a|(Top)]]</sup>

Then copy and paste this where ever in the Profile you would like so the user can return to the top of the page.  If you have multiple Headers, this will take them back to the Contents index.  This does not interfere with the alignment of Categories at the top of the page should you have them.

<span id="1a"><sup>[[#1b|(Back to Top of Page)]]</sup>

Use this one as many time as you want.  No changes are needed for each use as it's sole object is to go to TOP.

Thanks SJ for showing us how to use this.

by LJ Russell G2G6 Pilot (196k points)
selected by Tina Arg├╝elles
+11 votes
Brilliant SJ, absolutely brilliant.  Many thanks as I was trying to understand the Span ID nomenclature and you have done it.  Many thanks.  I copied and pasted this to a cheat sheet doc..
by LJ Russell G2G6 Pilot (196k points)
+9 votes
I guess it is a style thing, but I don't see the point of using a separate Research Notes section to discuss sources. If you want to give prominence to the issues presented by the sources, you can discuss them directly in the bio, with in-line citations to the source citations. If you want to give the issues presented by the sources less prominence, you can just discuss them in in-line citations. To me, this seems like a creative, but complex, solution to a problem that doesn't need solving.
by Chase Ashley G2G6 Pilot (256k points)
I've come to agree with you on this subject!
Sorry SJ, I'm with Chase, I'd much rather read something like -

We know John and Mary were living in the United States by 1880 because they purchased a house at the end of that year.

With then a link to the source for the purchase.

I think you might also find that the type of enhancements you are proposing aren't recommended on WikiTree.
I've started editing my profiles in this way.
+7 votes

What Chase Ashely said!

If you need some discussion in sources, why not use the recommended citation style? Chicago Manual of Style and Evidence Explained both allow for some discussion within a footnote. Just look at examples in the NGS Quarterly, you will find this done all the time.

Also, I found the syntax of the example of Research Notes confusing. Just have the discussion in the Research Notes section if you need to and use citations to support where the hypothesis comes from. This just seems too cumbersome.

by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (461k points)
I have started trying to put all of my comments into the attached source and if too large, to add it below the text or if necessary to put a separate note - either way, I'm avoiding the use of span links.
+9 votes
While I personally would not use Research Notes in this way, I DO like knowing how to create internal links inside of a narrative, so that I could add a "See below" or "See his last will and testament" (and be able to link to it).

So this is very helpful. Thank you.
by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (821k points)
+3 votes

Nice writeup, SJ.

I find it goes well with this older post from Julie Ricketts: https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/225656/how-cite-different-pages-from-same-source-misunderstood-span

by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (540k points)
+2 votes
My personal issue with not using the <span> technique for notes is that sometimes the narrative can get bogged down by complex refs or parenthetical notes within the refs.

For example, Harry married Sally, daughter of joe and grace who lived in .... , 1 Aug 1856. I tend to put the "daughter of..." verbage in a Research Note and usse the span code with a <sup> and a letter to point the reader to the parenthetical note which they can read if they so desire.

I also use span notes when there is something that effects several children, like they were all baptized with their mother on a given date.

It just seem cleaner to me....
by Roy Lamberton G2G6 Mach 5 (56.0k points)

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