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Archiver > APG > 2008-07 > 1215989856

From: <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Professional genealogy as a career
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2008 17:57:36 -0500
References: <mailman.27760.1215666601.9525.apg@rootsweb.com> <DA3F7D69-20D9-45EB-9F71-0D8A03F48251@adhocgroup.net><021c01c8e47b$b3907bc0$1ab17340$@net><48795466.3030600@earthlink.net>
In-Reply-To: <48795466.3030600@earthlink.net>

I wrote:
>The point of good citations is not just to follow some nitpicking pattern.
point is to capture all the information we need about the source to evaluate
the quality of the information we take from it.

Barbara Vines Little responded:
>So true and the point that is so often lost in the effort to dot every i
and cross every t.

Agreed, but with caveats. Those who focus on the i-dots and t-crosses of
source citations, pro and con, come in at least four ilk:


1. Stereotypical (and maligned) English-teacher-types who insists things
have to be done exactly by a set of designated rules. (Obviously, Barbara,
you're not that type of English teacher. <g>)

2. Over-worked editors who desperately wish that writers would take the
trouble to learn the style of the journal or magazine and do citations
"right," so the editors don't have to spend hours correcting citations or,
worse, spend days trying to identify sources that writers supposedly used.
(Obviously, you're not one of these editors either :)

3. Very literal minded people who crave rules on the premise that if they
follow a pattern to the "T," their work will always be right and they won't
have to angst over it. The problem with this frame of mind, of course, is
that there is not a model to follow for everything in existence and, when
they encounter those quirky records, they stress out over having to make
their own decision as to whether they've "done things right." (I seem to
hear from about 20 of these a day!)

4. (All too often, alas) protests over "dotting i's and crossing t's the way
somebody else wants me to" come from those who are totally confident that
the way they have always done things is perzactly all that's needed. The
problem here, of course, is two-fold: (A) An aversion to "learning rules"
means we have all sorts of "holes" in our practices that we are totally
unaware of. And (B) as a result of those "holes" we don't recognize, we end
up NOT capturing" all the data we need to evaluate the quality of the
information we take from our source."

One thing has never ceased to amaze me, over the past 11 years since the
first _Evidence!_ came out: the number of individuals who argue that
substance is more important than form (and quote me to back them up) --
whenever they've been called to task by someone who has pointed out
deficiencies in their **substance.**

Research is a fascinating field, isn't it? :)


Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
APG Member, Tennessee

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