I’ve been reading Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian by Elizabeth Shown Mills, which I ordered last weekend (and which arrived last Thursday, a day earlier than predicted by Amazon’s order tracker). It’s a small book, only 124 pages; I get the feeling it’s the pamphlet version of Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (2nd Edition), by the same author. As that book costs $50, I doubt I’ll be acquiring it any time soon.
The book is divided into three parts:
- Fundamentals of citation
- Fundamentals of analysis
- Citation formats
The first two make a good refresher course on why source citations matter, but part three is really why I bought the book. It turned out to be something of a disappointment.
It’s all sample citations, with minimal annotation or explanations. I was hoping for a discussion of which fields to include, and the appropriate contents for each field. (Some hints as to how all of it might map to GEDCOM tags would’ve been helpful, too.) Alas, there is none.
A fella named John H. Yates has a page, Using Mills Inspired Source Styles in Mac Reunion (http://jytangledweb.org/reunion/), that looks promising. Mr. Yates created a huge set of Reunion source templates, following guidelines in (I assume) Evidence Explained. However, there are two problems:
There are (almost) no GEDCOM tags specified in Yates’ templates, which means exporting data is impossible. Then again, it’s probably unfair to hold this against Mr. Yates: the GEDCOM ‘standard’ is so primitive, and so universally extended (incompatibly) and/or ignored, as to be almost useless. (Is somebody working on a replacement? Please?)
Reunion has some serious usability issues with source templates. They’re listed under Preferences -> Sources, even though they reside in (and apply only to) the currently-open data file. I don’t know of any way to import source templates into an existing data file, but I don’t want to manually re-enter all of Yates’ work. (I’d probably get half of it wrong, anyway.)
So it’s unclear how best to proceed. Investigation continues.
Update: Reunion 9 can import one data file into another, so that problem at least has been solved.