[APG Public List] citation think group APGers-isn't there one of those?

eshown at comcast.net eshown at comcast.net
Tue Jun 8 19:41:33 MDT 2010

Jacqueline wrote:
>If there is I want to join it!  I am just learning geny citations -  [I'm]
used to CMS and I need to learn the dif!

Jacqueline the difference between CMS and EE are essentially these:

CMS (like MLA and others) focus on OUTPUT, while EE focuses on INPUT. In
other words, the 'standard' guides tell us the minimum we need to cite at
publication time, to enable a reader of the citation to find a source; the
emphasis is upon the *minimum* because this is an age when all publishers
are trying to shave costs by stripping footnotes.  EE, in contrast, is based
on the principle that our "working citations" have *two* purposes: (A) to
identify the sources we use so we and others can relocate the source again
when needed; and (B) to record enough specific details about the *nature* of
the source that we, as our research proceeds, can expertly assess the
strength of the evidence the source provides and make valid judgments as to
relative credibility when sources disagree. If we, as genealogists, focus
upon thorough INPUT (i.e., getting all information needed for evaluation
needs, while we have the source right there in hand), then we also prevent a
common OUTPUT problem---that is, having whatever specific detail "this"
editor vs. "that" editor might ask for to meet the format preferred by his
or her press.

CMS et al. have customarily dealt with published materials, academic papers,
and traditional archival materials. They don't cover all those legions of
other original records that genealogists and other microhistorians use. EE
follows CMS for the things that CMS has customarily dealt with, at least the
publications. EE then covers all those original record types that CMS
doesn't. If all you use are published, derivative works, and you're
well-grounded in CMS, then you'll have nothing new to learn. But, from all
you've posted on this list, I'm betting that you aren't willing to restrict
yourself to just what has been published. :)

CMS et al. (including NARA), as they have moved into the handling of
electronic formats, continue the 'minimalist' mindset (which is particularly
peculiar for NARA considering the length of the citations they require to
original records!). CMS, MLA, et al. formats often call for little more than
a URL and a date---even, often, with no specification of what that date
represents (date the material was created vs. date we accessed it, etc.).
EE, because it is rooted in Philosophy 1-B, calls for complete
identification of what we are using and the form in which we are using
it---recognizing that there are critical evidentiary differences in a
database vs. image copies, in OCR'd material vs. images, in transcriptions
and abstracts vs. original text, etc.---as well as differences that result
when material is imaged by one provider vs. another.


Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
The Evidence Series.

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