What is the policy on proper full citations? [closed]

+7 votes

Recently this https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/650562/template-uncertain-categorization-profiles-improvements was asked. I was wondering what the preferred policy on proper titles (documents, sources & photographs) and proper - full sourcing / referencing - are?

On this example the photographs are not fully titled

As far as I understood links cannot be copyrighted, but if used they must reflect the source as described by the full citation instructions as required by the sourced sources itself (for example: 

You must use the correct attribution and citation, viz.: Robertson, Delia. The First Fifty Years Project. http://www.e-family.co.za/ffy/ on http://www.e-family.co.za/ffy/g6/p6678.htm) ...

Marriage: https://www.eggsa.org/sarecords/index.php/56-general-information/157-citing-this-website

Details of voyage: https://www.huygens.knaw.nl/organisatie/copyrights-en-citeren/

Details of sailors and dates: [This I edited in - specifically footnote 5http://www.gahetna.nl/vraagbaak/hoe-werkt-deze-website/downloaden-afbeelding-0

Will on FamilySearch: https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/64687?availability=Family%20History%20Library (in many instances FamilySearch provides a citation button which copies the citation so that it can be easily inserted as citation; in this instance no such citation is ready but this information is available).

WikiTree profile: Barend Buijs
closed with the note: The answer is clear. In stead of creating new templates for {{Uncertain Sources}} and thus creating a immense amount of work for WikiTree, it is better to look at the quality of the way sources are being presented and referenced. Merely adding links does not constitute Evidence Based Sourcing. I chose the answer of Dale as best (though it keeps on getting inexplicably de-chosen), because he words the comment of Doug the best - evidence explained - the method that I too aim to follow, which is as Louis pointed out available under the Help Section for Sources, is the best policy. I'll be removing my remarks on the profile in question soon, as the comment boxes on public profiles are not the place to have to argue policy.
in Policy and Style by Philip van der Walt G2G6 Pilot (160k points)
closed by Philip van der Walt

It is really disheartening to see the replies that was made on this question by respected members of WikiTree. The question was not What is your opinion but What is the [WikiTree] Policy.  The Policy is clearly defined on the Help::Sources page.

Although there is a negative opinion about the use of weblinks to do a citation, the fact remains that it is still a WikiTree approved method to do a citation. If you don't believe me, please see point 2.4 on the link provided.

In fact it does not matter if Dale says 
a link is bad for several reasons.  or  Helen says 
Online links  alone may be ephemeral ot Dough says that 
you will need Evidence Explained to become a certified Genealogist. 
These are opinions I share but the fact remains, Weblinks are approved for use as citations by WikiTree which is of course the answer which should have been provided. The worst however is Philip van der Walt saying 
Merely pasting links or not putting titles on document images (metadata!) is in my humble opinion lazy work and not according to the Honor Code. 
Thus implying that anyone who uses the approved WikiTree citation method of a weblink is lazy. Fortunately someone removed that comment or maybe he hid it himself.

I expected so much more from you guys.

Regarding closed with note: I can only conclude that you have not recently read the Help: Sources page and also your interpretation of what was written, is very one tract  track minded to suit your opinion.

Louis, yes they are allowed but that does not make them a good way to work let alone the best. If familysearch.org removes our permission to see those images, as they have on other images, your link will be useless but a good citation will still allow you to find the information.
Hi Dale, you will see in my reply that I already said I share your opinions. Just have a look at my reply above. I am fully aware of what the implications are. It doesn't remove the fact that you handled this question about policy very poorly.

3 Answers

+10 votes

There is a preferred source citation format that is called out in the style guide. That form is based on the Chicago Manual of Style as defined for genealogy in Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills. This book has a companion website (it has been down for a while) and a Facebook group. 

by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (462k points)
Indeed. APA-style or Chigaco Manual - the point being that hyperlinks should be properly referenced.

I agree that websites should be properly referenced and not just be a hyperlink and as you say in your initial question many of them come inbuilt with appropriate sourcing that you just have to just cut and paste.

For websites that are mostly the work of one person or group, it is also in our honour code that "We give credit.  Although most genealogy isn't copyrighted, researchers deserve credit for the work they've done".

Unfortunately far too often it is just the hyperlink; some how it is too difficult to actually mention the person who is responsible for all that hard work or perhaps we have become too lazy, too used to just cutting and pasting hyperlinks.

I always appreciate seeing a good example of proper source citation or formatting.  Visualizing is a must. Only then do the "how to"  pages make sense.
Online links  alone may be ephemeral.

I have print outs  of images of the 1881  census of England and Wales  from version 1 of family search. The urls no longer work and in any case Family search no longer hosts images of the 1881.

I have a book open on my computer , it was written in 1908. The author doesn't use Chicago or any of the other modern referencing systems but  he gives me enough detail to find many* of the works and  records he references.(probably most if I were familiar with some of the more arcane referencing systems for records from the British Library and National Archives)

Any sufficiently detailed citation is fine. Freestanding URLs aren't very good. The style guide in the help section mentions the preferred format but doesn't dictate it. At least in the USA, serious genealogists will use Evidence Explained since that is the style used by the top journals and is what you would need to know in order to ever become a certified genealogist.

For anyone that wants to see good examples, EE, especially the 3rd edition, revised, is a huge tome of page after page of examples with sufficient explanatory text that it makes sense.

Nice opinion Dough, though it does not answer the Question in the header of this page.
+6 votes

Hi Phillip,

You will find all the information you need on the WikiTree Help: Sources  page.

Please note under Examples on the Help page the following:
The ideal citation format on WikiTree is Chicago Manual of Style (CMoS), generally following Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Explained[2]. But don't get hung up on this. The important thing is citing the source, not how it's done.

by Louis Heyman G2G6 Mach 7 (76.9k points)
What seems to be the problem Phillip? Maybe I can help you.
Phillip, I don't understand why you post something on the profile where no e-mail notifications are and not in this thread. Do you deliberately want to communicate with only yourself?
+2 votes
Doug actually has the best answer. Just adding a link is bad for several reasons, and the two most important ones are that links can and do break making it useless and without a full citation it becomes almost impossible to find the source another way when the link is either broken or the user can not use that because they may not have an internet connection. With the recommended methods of citing sources you could find the source from a good library with a genealogy section.
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
Thank You Phillip, but I still believe that the answer given by Doug is the best.
Thanks Dale. By stating that Doug has the best answer you are actually giving my view on this issue as well. Only you are stating it in better wording. So I'm choosing your wording as the best answer.
Philip Thank You again. Just an FYI, I am not the one removing the best answer selection, I don't play those games.
I genuinely appreciate you saying this Dale. Thanks.
Dale, Do you really think that your answer is a true reflection of WikiTree Policy?

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