APG-L ArchivesArchiver > APG > 2008-02 > 1203553062
From: Terry Reigel <>
Subject: Re: [APG] FTM and natural
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2008 19:17:42 -0500
On Wed, 20 Feb 2008 14:11:58 -0800, Carolyn Ybarra wrote:
> You know, I find this very interesting and am wondering
> if people are really talking about the same things. I
> would love to see a PMC session in which Bob or Terry
> demonstrate the ways they produce reports with eloquent
> sentences from their genealogy database programs. And
> perhaps compare it with what Elizabeth is talking about
> re the difference between a client report and a genealogy
> program "data set" (perhaps with what Peter calls
> "sentences wrapped around data values").
I've previously offered as a rough example of the kind of "non-computer" narratives that can be created in a genealogy program my article on "Creating Flowing Narratives" at http://tmg.reigelridge.com/narratives.htm - I've put up a pdf of the same report with source notes is at http://tmg.reigelridge.com/Ralph_Orzben_Reigel.pdf in response to someone's request on this list last year.
This is not a proof statement, nor a client report. What is it is a demonstration that a personal narrative created by a genealogy report can produce any sort of writing the author is capable of, just as a word processor can. Whether this example is actually good writing is an issue with the author's skill, not with the tool. The point is that I can create any text I am capable of writing with this tool.
I don't have the skills to author a piece that meets BCG's requirements for the narrative genealogy, as Elizabeth suggests as a test. But if anyone is willing to provide a specimen of such a narrative with the rights to use it for the purpose, I'd be happy to see if I could replicate that style with my genealogy program. I expect I could come quite close.
However, just because it can be done doesn't mean that it's necessarily the best tool to do so, in my view. I think which is the best tool depends on just what you are trying to accomplish. In my case, I'm trying to establish a family history for a considerable number of people, including in it as much as interesting material as I can find. I want to be able to produce a variety of outputs, on both paper and websites, that include a changing mix of individuals. Putting my editing efforts into my genealogy program made good sense in this case because I can easily reuse the same edited material time and again.
My only point is there are choices available - one can produce good writing with a genealogy program if one chooses to do so, and has the skills to do that quality of writing.
> I think some of the difference is based on which
> genealogy program you are using, and how much of a whiz
> you are at it. Also how much time and effort you put in
> on the front end. Clearly some of the programs have more
> flexibility, but it would be interesting to see a demo
> related to this particular issue.
> I and my program (Reunion for the Mac) are somewhere in
> the middle - I can print out coherent numbered
> genealogies, but have to go back and edit the sentences
> and sometimes add explanations, etc. And even then it
> comes nowhere near what I would do in a client report
> (but certainly can be appended to or incorporated in a
> In any case I'd like to see what kinds of "reports"
> everyone is talking about and how the genealogy programs
> can be used to the fullest in this context.
> Carolyn Ybarra, Ph.D
> Family Research Services
> 1017 El Camino Real #332
> Redwood City, CA 94063
> On Feb 20, 2008, at 10:17 AM,
>> From: Terry Reigel
>> To: APG-L
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>> On Wed, 20 Feb 2008 00:47:52 -0600,
>>> The only way to have "total control over the sentence
>>> structure" is to take a blank piece of paper--or a
>>> blank screen in a word-processing program--and start
>> Elizabeth, you seem to be discounting the discussion we
>> had here in early Feb 2207, in which I pointed you to
>> an example of a narrative in which I crafted exactly
>> the text I wanted in my genealogy program (the quality
>> of my writing ability isn't the point - the point is I
>> got it to say exactly what I intended). :-)
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