The 2009 Software Update contains some exciting new (and updated) features! Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my thoughts and experiences that I hope will help you take advantage of all the great new enhancements. Today we’ll look at source templates.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit this: I don’t always practice what I preach when it comes to sourcing. My family tree may look great, but if you check out the sources, you’ll discover some irregularities.
Maybe you’re like me. If I don’t know how to cite the source of a particular item (How do you source a postcard sent from France during WWI?), I start guessing. My default is to include every detail I know—whether it’s relevant or not. Who doesn’t transcribe the entire title page of a book into the Comments field, right? I reasoned that if I could distract people with enormous amounts of information they might not realize that I haven’t taken the time to do it right.
And the results of all this personalized sourcing? A family tree that isn’t consistent and wouldn’t be terribly useful to those who don’t know my “system.”
So I was very excited when I learned about the new source templates. No more guessing whether I’ve captured the right data, no more wondering whether my family can follow my research paths, and no more wasted time entering paragraphs of irrelevant information. The new source templates are based on the QuickCheck models used in Elizabeth Shown Mills’s book Evidence Explained—the ultimate reference for citing research sources.
Instead of being creative with my sourcing, now I can select the source template that most closely fits my record, and the appropriate fields I need to complete automatically appear. It’s as simple as that.If you’ve already entered many sources in the traditional way, you can keep them just as they are. Or you can map the information in your old source to one of the new source templates. I’ve already started on mine and it’s been a fairly painless process. I’m looking forward to the day in the near future when my sources are finally consistent and useful.
For instructions on how to use the new source templates, download a PDF here.