11 April 2014

#genchat CHALLENGE: Practice Makes Perfect!

"Citation is an art, not a science."

~ Elizabeth Shown Mills
Evidence Explained, Second Edition, p.41

©Ancestral Journeys, 2014

Our #genchat discussion tonight was all about citations. Yes, they can be confusing. Yes, they can be tedious. But they are also necessary. 

Tonight's challenge is to practice, practice, practice.

Select one record set you use often, for example the U.S. Federal Census', and go back through your research and ensure that each record you have is cited correctly. By repeating the same citation over and over, while changing the dates, locations, and names, you are well on your way to being able to create a citation by memory. Once you have the basics, it is much easier to apply the practice to all the records in your collection.

Resources for this challenge, and for citations moving forward in your genealogy:

  1. Elizabeth Show Mills, CG, CGL, FASG. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland, 2012. 
  2. Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG. QuickSheet: Citing Online HIstorical Resources Evidence! Style*.  Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland, 2012. 
  3. Evidence Explained Website, Blog, and Forums: https://www.evidenceexplained.com/
  4. Evidence Explained Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/evidenceexplained
  5. Evidence Explained on Twitter: @EvidenceExplnd
  6. The Chicago Manual of Style Online. University of Chicago Press, 2010 - 2014. http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html
  7. Chicago Manual of Style Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Chicago-Manual-of-Style/139396659150
  8. Chicago Manual of Style Twitter:  @ChicagoManual

Remember that the ultimate goal is not necessarily about how you cite your sources, just that you do cite your sources. 

So get in there! Practice on one record set that you have a lot of material from, and then move on to other parts of your genealogy. Find a system to methodically and habitually create citations every time you look at a new record. Build a place for citations into your research log, your notes, or other organizational system. Create a document of those "commonly used" citations, so you can copy/paste the basics and only adjust the details. Choose whatever works for you, but do it. And do it today! 

Share with us via social media, blog or other medium what you learned, what habits you are trying to develop, what system you set up. Tell us what worked for you and what didn't, and reach out to the #genchat community for guidance, support, and encouragement in establishing this process for yourself. This can be daunting to some, you do not have to do it alone. 

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