[APG Public List] Regarding Australian records‏‏

eshown at comcast.net eshown at comcast.net
Wed May 12 20:43:30 MDT 2010

Debbie wrote:
>The reason I was using the database format for a digital image wasn't simply because EE contains a database example from the National Archives of Australia, but because I got it confused with a source definition I already had,
>namely this one: 
>The problem with the above definition is that it doesn't conform to Archival style, meaning there was no room for the series number, title or date range. I understand now that this is very much a website definition.

Debbie, all this is why Evidence Explained has so many pages of explanation. ☺ The software programs that develop all these templates are laboring immensely to be helpful; but there’s no way they can explain every situation to their users. 

The format in this template is appropriate for images you have accessed online. In the bracket called “format-used,” you should substitute “images.”  I’m not certain what “[M]><. [CM]>” in your software’s coding is supposed to represent, but that position of the citation is where you do two things:

1. Identify the specific record of interest
2. Note whatever information your online source gives about that source. 


>I do beleive I've got the handle on it now.  It is confusing, no matter how many years I plug away at it and I'm convinced it's just not something I'm very good at.  my new definition looks like this:
>PSORAKIS Panayoti George born 1910 Nationality: Greek - Arrived Mascot per Aircraft N88883 21 Feb 1949; D4878, Alien registration documents, alphabetical series, circa 1 Jan 1937 - circa 31 Dec 1964; National Archives of Australia: Department of Immigration, South Australia Branch; digital images,National Archives of Australia (http://naa12.naa.gov.au : accessed 10 May 2010).

There *are* a couple of issues to consider regarding this format you have chosen. 

--- When your citation leads with a reference to the individual document, then most software will use that individual-document citation as your Source List Entry. Thus, every individual document you cite from that archives will be treated as a separate item in your Source List. Conversely, if you lead with the name of the database, then your Source List Entry will be that database, and you can have many individual reference notes reuse that same Source List Entry, with the simple addition of the specific data that applies in each case.

--- When your citation leads with an archival reference to the original document, you are implying that you consulted the original. In doing so: you are copying the citation data that the web page gives you, without quoting them; you are assuming that the data-entry person made no error of identification (a risky assumption); and you are ultimately accepting personal blame for any error that data-entry person may have made in creating that website entry. However, if you follow your software's templates, adding items 1 and 2 above, you make it clear to all your readers (and to yourself at a later time when your recollection of this document has gone cold) that you are merely citing what the website says. Given the number of image providers online that give us incomplete citations, this is an important consideration.

--- In the specific format above, your sequence is a bit switched. You've adopted the U.S. custom of going from the smallest item up to the largest--i.e., from the document i.d., to the archives i.d.  However, after you type "National Archives of Australia" you add "Department of Immigration, South Australia Branch." That sequence tells your reader that the National Archives of Australia is a division of the "Department of immigration, South Australia Branch."  I suspect that the phrase "Department of Immigration, South Australia Branch" is equivalent to the U.S. NARA "record group name," in which case it is a unit smaller than the archives. Logically that record group i.d. should go after the i.d. of the series (which is a part of the record group) and before the name of the archives.

>Elizabeth, your response made me laugh out loud because you were right on the money. I tend to use Evidence Explained as "1100 Handy Citation Models You Can Pick From for Whatever You Use."

Well, that's better than using it as a doorstop. :)

Hope this helps,

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

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