Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Good Citations - A FindAGrave Question


Good good good good citations
I'm pickin' up good citations
You're giving me excitations
Good good good good citations

I received the following Twitter question from @Herstoryan regarding her article, Citation: Is it ever okay to enhance the standard? Opinions, Please...; @footnoteMaven ... would love your opinion - Citation: Is it ever okay to enhance the standard?

The Genealogy Citation Goddess, Elizabeth Shown Mills, has answered this far better than I ever could:

Citation is an art, not a science. As budding artists, we learn the principles — from color and form to shape and texture. Once we have mastered the basics, we are free to improvise. Through that improvisation, we capture the uniqueness of each subject or setting. . .Yet records and artifacts are like all else in the universe: each can be unique in its own way. Therefore, once we have learned the principles of citation, we have both an artistic license and a researcher's responsibility to adapt those principles to fit materials that do not match any standard model.


So the short answer is yes, it is okay to enhance the standard once you have learned the principles, if a genealogical citation doesn't match any standard model. I, on the other hand, believe there are other situations where a standard may be enhanced. This subject was discussed on footnoteMaven with Craig Manson of GeneaBlogie in "Add Copyright Notice To Citation."

Here, Herstoryan's discussion is of an image of a tombstone acquired from Findagrave.com and used in Herstoryan's Wordless Wednesday post.

Evidence Explained, by Mills directly addresses this situation on pg. 229, 5.16 Images: Markers & Plaques; Images Online. Accordingly the image should be cited as:

Source List Entry:

Find A Grave, Inc. Find A Grave.com. Digital images. http://www.findagrave.com: 2009.

First Reference Note:

Find A Grave, Inc. Find A Grave.com, digital images (http://www.findagrave.com: accessed 21 October 2009), photograph, gravestone for Mary Nancy McCaskill Massey (1881-1974), Amarillo, Texas.

Subsequent Note:

Find A Grave, Inc. Find A Grave.com, photograph, gravestone for Mary Nancy McCaskill Massey (1881-1974), Amarillo, Tex.

Here, is one of those situations where I would add more information that could be relevant in locating this particular online photograph of a gravestone. I would combine the Evidence Explained Citation for Images: Markers and Plaques Citation p. 229, with the Photographic Files Citation of pg. 622 for a hybrid citation as follows:

Source List Entry:

Find A Grave, Inc. Find A Grave.com. Digital image. http://www.findagrave.com/ : 2007. Memorial No. 15616487. Photograph © Walter Dunn.

First Reference Note:

Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave.com, digital image, (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 21 October 2009), photograph, “gravestone for Mary Nancy McCaskill Massey (1881-1974), Memorial No. 15616487, Records of the Llano Cemetery, Amarillo, Texas.” Photograph © Walter Dunn.

Subsequent Note:

Find A Grave, Inc. Find A Grave.com, photograph © Walter Dunn, “gravestone for Mary Nancy McCaskill Massey(1881-1974) Memorial No. 15616487.”

This would be my citation for an online reference in a blog, as an online blog offers a unique way to enhance the citation. That enhancement would be a direct link to the photograph in the citation, as above, as well as a direct link to FindAGrave.com. Here I added the link to the" Memorial No." I have also added the copyright notice for Walter Dunn. This is predicated on the photographer not relinquishing his copyright to FindAGrave.com. The copyright notice is for the photograph not for the digital image.

If I were fashioning a citation for a written, real world document, I would do it this way:


Source List Entry:

Find A Grave, Inc. Find A Grave.com. Digital image. http://www.findagrave.com/ : 2007. Photograph © Walter Dunn.

First Reference Note:

Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave.com, digital image, (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 21 October 2009), photograph, “gravestone for Mary Nancy McCaskill Massey (1881-1974), Memorial No. 15616487, Records of the Llano Cemetery, Amarillo, Texas.” Photograph © Walter Dunn.

Subsequent Note:

Find A Grave, Inc. Find A Grave.com, photograph © Walter Dunn, “gravestone for Mary Nancy McCaskill Massey(1881-1974).”

There is no absolutely correct answer. Two different researchers can cite this same information two entirely different ways. You must ask yourself, "Does this citation meet the purpose of citing a source?" Does it record the specific location of the piece of data, and does it record details that affect the use or evaluation of that data? The answer is yours.

Please cite, don't be afraid the citation police will ticket you. Learn to do it properly, but cite while learning. Consistency is paramount and finding the source is the ultimate goal. No naked facts!

For a similar, yet differing and equally correct opinion, read Thomas MacEntee's "How To Cite A FindAGrave Headstone."

Sources:

Wilson, Brian, and Mike Love. “Good Vibrations.” Lyrics. Good Vibrations, Single. Brian Wilson, 1966. Copyright ©1966 & 1978, Brian Wilson and Mike Love. Lyrics Freak good+vibrations_20013757.html : accessed 18 October 2007). (http://www.lyricsfreak.com/b/beach+boys/)

Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence Explained. Baltimore : Genealogical Publishing Co., 2007.

9 Comments:

Blogger Thomas MacEntee said...

Great post and I really appreciate the "citation police" comment. I think many new to genealogy want the guidance on how to cite their sources but are afraid of not using the proper format.

I especially like your section on copyright and how to determine whether a contribution to a website has surrendered the copyright on their photo or not. I like your format with the link to the memorial itself rather than the general Find A Grave site and including the copyright info.

October 21, 2009 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Thomas:

Thank you so much for the input and your excellent article.

Citing is an art, but an art form that can be learned. We are all here for the newbies.

I most admire Herstoryan for asking the question!

-fM

October 21, 2009 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger CMPointer said...

Thank you for answering her question. You helped me too ~ I think. While I wasn't trying to cite a photo on Find A Grave, I was trying to cite what the creator of the memorial had added to the online memorial. Ugh. At first, I put a generic citation on there because it was driving me nuts and I had a lot of other citations for my post today, and it was briefly mentioned information that corroborated what I already knew. So several hours later, I read your answer then went back to Mills' bible of genea-grammer [because it was still bothering me], and decided to use the citation for a website as a book with the "item of interest" as being the person's name and memorial number [with link]. What do you think?

Caroline

October 21, 2009 at 3:09 PM  
Blogger Herstoryan said...

Wow! I am overwhelmed and deeply grateful that you and Mr. MacEntee took the time to provide such detailed and wonderful responses to my questions. Thank you SO much for you kind insight and wisdom. Both of you are true mentors!

I absolutely need to buy that book ASAP! I am the first one to admit I do not have all the answers. I acknowledge that this is a journey and I look forward to learning along the way. I have a Bachelors degree in History which taught me how important it is to cite sources. I love how you said not to be afraid of the citation police! LOL I freeze sometimes I do admit! At least the intention is good. I can learn the rest with time. :)

I love how you pointed out that a blog adds a different dimension to online citation whereas we can add a direct link to our sources! Great idea and very well put!

Again, thank you so much for such a thorough answer. I am honored that you set aside the time to offer guidance to this newbie!

By the way I love, love, love the 2 cent stamp! Very awesome!

October 21, 2009 at 6:43 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Herstoryan:

NONE of us have all the answers. ALL of us are more than willing to help.

You're the brave one for putting yourself out there by asking the question. Thank you.

The 2 cent stamp is so me isn't it? Always sticking my 2 cents into a conversation.

-fM

October 21, 2009 at 7:11 PM  
Blogger Family Curator said...

. . . and that is why you are the footnote Maven!

October 21, 2009 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger Moultrie Creek said...

Great article and very good ideas. One question . . . do I hear a Beach Boys song in your title?

October 22, 2009 at 4:25 AM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Thank you Denise, but I don't have all the answer.

Denise2 - thanks to my iPod I hear the Beach Boys all the time!

-fM

October 22, 2009 at 9:32 AM  
Blogger Jasia said...

God bless all of you who care about such minutia. It relieves me of the burden of having to do so :-)

October 26, 2009 at 7:22 AM  

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