Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Considering the Source

I completely amaze myself with my ability to stumble over the obvious. Here's the issue (actually this just scratches the surface) - I want to do a better job with sources. I know. Big news. I'm sure I'm the only one.

Here's my work flow.
  • Gather piles of stuff and put them near my work space. Stuff is defined as the photographs, news clippings, letters or documents filling the boxes filling my house. 
  • Scan something and put it in a basket (or pile) to be filed or thrown away. Put the digital file in a folder to be processed (meta data, links to specific individuals, added to database, blog fodder, etc). 
  • Repeat until bored then start working on a digital file.
  • Something about a file prompts a blog idea. I start the post, forget the meta data, links or database and wander about my mental and digital files looking for information to complete the post. 
  • Look at post, realize I have no source listed and struggle to construct something that might pass for a citation if one had spent decades on a desert island talking to a volleyball. 
  • Give up and go back to scanning or playing with the digitized files. 

And here's my revelation.
Use my Legacy software to record the source when I'm writing the blog post.
Mind blowing, isn't it? It takes about a minute, gets the digitized record/photo/whatever into my database in at least one relevant spot AND I get a citation I can copy and paste into the blog.

Is it a perfect system? Well, no. I don't get the source added to all relevant events/people in the database. The odds of my maintaining it are slim. But it's far better than what I've been doing (nothing). Maybe I'll be disciplined enough to continue.

Any comments reflecting on my obvious scatterbrainedness, ADD or calling me a geneaditz will be met with a DUH! Family need not comment at all.


  1. Love your post and the picture. No solution though, other than be aware that you have to do it. Question, did you source the Bible for each of those individuals listed on the page? If not... (see previous post). For that, I would copy the page and paste to the notes section for each person named. Then a short citation put in the record of the person, with a "See Notes Section."

  2. Thanks for the tip Barb. I haven't done that yet (no surprise), but I do have them all sourced with a "Smith Family Record" source. I think I can probably replace that source with a new one using the Bible. Have to think about it.

  3. oh boy. oh boy. wish this didn't sound so familiar.

  4. That's not you in the picture, is it?

    I fear taking a picture like that in front of my piles - I might get injured if I touch them.

    Excellent thought about using the Legacy SourceWriter to create the source and copy/pasting it. The problem I have is then finding the other facts that should reference the source.

  5. The brilliant are rarely organized and neat.

    Well, that is what I tell myself! SNICKER!!

    Makes for a good excuse and makes me feel better about my pieces of paper all over the stick built and Tana, in briefcases, stuck to travel brochures. Well, by now, you are getting the idea.

    Do the best you can, try to stay on track, forgive yourself when you stray!

    Keep writing such wonderful posts, and ENJOY the process.

    Tomorrow you can organize the papers - - just like I will!

    *And, no, I do NOT believe that press about my being brilliant. Don't you see me ROTFLOL!!

    Great post!

  6. Susan - Do you use Legacy's source clipboard? It makes adding a source wherever it applies pretty easy.

  7. I love this post, too. Why is it that so many of us identify with the picture?

  8. That photo looks like my desk, but the pile would have a cat sleeping on top. When the doorbell rings, she jumps and the papers FLY!

  9. Susan, when did you sneak into my office and snap this photo!?!?!?

  10. Lots of claimants to the messiest desk ever out there! No cats here, but a couple dogs that can get lost under the piles.

    Randy, it's not a perfect system and you've pinpointed its greatest weakness. But I'm going with the glass half full here. Most of these family papers are illuminating rather than fully documenting the families. They are in support of the census, probate and land records. I'll settle for linking one or two individuals to the source - at least for now.

    Linda, I do use the clip board. My issue is when I have something new to add to a large group of people. I'm sure there's a way to select a group and apply a source to that group but I haven't tackled that yet. I'm really such a novice with the program. Just been plodding along adding bits and pieces here and there. Haven't put it through its paces yet. I think I have the manuel under a pile somewhere ;)

  11. That looks like my workspace! Like you, I am trying to get the sources....they are everywhere from owned books to scraps of paper. I am continually frustrated when I write for Flipside, that I don't have the source. Legacy....maybe I need to use that program.

  12. With all the technology we're trying to keep up with constantly, it's not surprising that a feature would elude you or anyone else! It took me ages to realize I had to figure out a way to record -- in one place -- the gazillion bits of info I find every time I open one of my 25 bankers' boxes of info -- find a note scribbled with an address, a comment that creates insight. I still need to find a family tree program! I use a MAC, but my brothers use P.Cs -- and I want them to be able to share (I'll do most of the adding) -- so Reunion doesn't look good. Have to do my research. ARgh.


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