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Archiver > TMG > 2000-01 > 0947575242

From: Robin Lamacraft <>
Subject: TMG-L: Citations and Sureties in Shared Datasets (methodology?)
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 17:50:42 +1030

At 22:51 10/01/00 -0600, Elizabeth Shown Mills wrote:
>Several past messages have carried the following exchange:
>< I have accessed my Swedish records through microfilms from the LDS library
>in SLC. At first I put that as the repository, but then though better(?) of
>it, and . . . changed it to be the Landsarkivet in ...>
>< I would disagree. Unless you have actually seen the records in the
>Nowegian locations, . . . Realize that the citation details -- volume, page,
>record -- are likely to be different from what you might have recorded from
>LDS, and that if one were looking in Norway it may be a completely new
>May I add about 2cents worth here? Comment No. 2 I agree with totally.
>The Evidence! recommendation that FHL film number
>be cited *in addition to the identification of the original material that
>was filmed* is the one we follow at the NGS Quarterly. The Q totally agree
>with Lee's premise that our citation should not imply we consulted something
>we didn't actually see, or make it seem that we visited a repository we
>didn't actually visit.


I too, agree with comment (2) above. But I see that we need a minor point
of clarification here to resolve an increasing problem with citations and
sureties when two or more persons work as one on a common dataset.

We need to be careful about the choice of singular for "you" and the royal
"we" in the context of _seeing_ something before citing it. If I am
maintaining a data set that is shared by a group of researchers, then I
have the problem with the model where the surety and the citation depends
on who enters that evidence with sureties and who publishes or amends that
record or its sureties.

There is no problem here if the "you" and "we" can be agreed by the
researchers and any journal editor as if they are acting as if they are one
person. If this group-personage concept cannot be accepted by the
publishing fraternity then a record entered by one researcher must have its
surety ?down-graded? and citation modified when that record is transferred
to another equal researcher. It would then need to be upgraded when
returned to its originator as part of the common dataset.

This is a serious weakness in the model for collecting and assembling
genealogical evidence. It can only be improved when genealogical software
keeps an *audit trail* of when and who enters a piece of evidence, and when
and who assigns sureties to that evidence. These amendments to the
assessment of the evidence may occur on several occasions and they may be
made by different researchers.

The Internet will force a new view of shared research with common goals.

I would prefer to make a judgement on the standards of fellow researcher
and be able to accept their assessment as if it were my own than have to
modify the surety placed by another person on the same record because I
have not _seen_ it. Hence, in the ideal world, I would like to be able hold
a number of sureties for a record and to choose which values I consider
Primary. This would allow me to retain the record that I or some other
researcher had initially assigned this a higher (or lower) surety.

Are there any current discussions about citations in globally-shared,
multi-researcher collated genealogical evidence?

It would seem to me that as long as any extract from such a dataset is
published as a joint effort of all the researchers with an addition that in
each citation has a field which identifies the author who was the primary
assessor for that piece of evidence then this would a sensible basis on
which to proceed. This primary assessor field could be added to the
concepts in "Evidence!" for cases of joint-research without disturbing the
principles outlined therein.

In TMG xx, this would sensibly be achieved by adding a new Source Element
Group (just for this purpose). TMG would also need the added facility add
multi-surety assessments any evidence and to select which values are to be
considered primary without destroying the audit in the process.

Robin Ross Lamacraft (Adelaide, AUSTRALIA)
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