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

eshown at comcast.net eshown at comcast.net
Wed Jun 9 18:19:16 MDT 2010

Cynthia wrote:
> I was thinking of, and still would like, a place to bounce off citations
(yes, only formats) . Discussions encompassing what you mention might occur
in the analysis of the citations themselves, but what I crave is a citation
buddy group to analyze the citations if a question arises.

> There are many details, and I think alot of us would like to just be able
to analyze and feel confident in our own citations.

Cynthia, dare I inject a few thoughts here?  Having buddies to "analyze" a
citation we create, in all those cases in which the 1100+ EE models don't
cover a special quirk, would be useful. The problem, as I see it, is that
sources and their citations don't exist in a vacuum. There's always
*context* that has to be considered--underlying principles do have to be
understood. Hashing through those would, more often than not turn what seems
to be a reasonably quick appraisal of your suggested citation into extended

One thing I hear over and again, from those who can't figure out how to cite
a particular source, is that they pick up EE, look up the source type in the
index, turn to that page, and try to make whatever models are there fit what
they are doing. 

What many of them have *not* done, they admit sheepishly <g>, is to sit down
and study the first two chapters, so that they have a solid grounding in the
principles that underpin citation and analysis. In fact, most admit that
they also haven't read the introductory comments for even the particular
chapter or chapter sub-section that covers the source type.

Skill in citing sources is much like successful genealogical research. When
we start out in genealogy, we want to focus on our direct line. We don't
care about collaterals. We feel that staying focused on our direct ancestors
will keep us from 'wasting time.'  Then we get stuck. Eventually, we accept
the fact that we need to research the collaterals to better understand our
direct ancestors and to glean clues from records that our direct line did
not create. The same goes for citing sources. Studying the "collateral
types" helps us better understand what we are working with. 

If, say, we use Footnote's index to final pension payments for RW pensions
at NARA and we turn to a citation guide to find that source type, we won't
find it in any citation guide anywhere. That can, indeed, leave us
frustrated and not at all "confident" in whatever citation we create. But if
we'll use EE's NARA chapter NOT just to look up models but (a) to study the
introductory discussions of NARA's organizational system and the kind of
detail we need to record for a NARA record; and (b) thumb through the rest
of the chapter for the the discussions that explain differences in various
types of NARA records, then we will have the knowledge we need to create all
kinds of NARA citations with "confidence."

It would also help, if you haven't already thought of this, to use the index
to look up not just the type of source, but the type of QUIRK that has
stymied you. Every quirk can't be demonstrated for every source type. But
you'll often find discussions of that quirk, and how to handle it, in a
discussion of a different record type.  

Best wishes,


Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG

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