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Archiver > TMG > 2010-02 > 1266869207

From: "Darrell A. Martin" <>
Subject: Re: [TMG] Census Tags - Repetitiveness
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 2010 14:07:14 -0600
References: <000a01cab3ee$d16efa60$744cef20$@com>
In-Reply-To: <000a01cab3ee$d16efa60$744cef20$@com>

Tom Momeyer wrote:
> Hi,
> Have been adding more census tags lately and noticed that with a number of
> them, say 5 or 6 over a period of 50 - 60 years lifespan, that the journal
> and/or narrative reports get a little (lot :-) ) monotonous. I'm using T.
> Reigel's custom census tags, however, the exact default sentences probably
> don't matter, it may just be a matter of changing some of them manually in
> the memo field and sentence.
> Is anyone willing to share their strategy for these sentences so that
> someone doesn't fall asleep reading them? Any examples from a real live
> Second Site website?
> I could see that if there were other tag types sorted in between the census
> tags so that they didn't run from one to the next, that would probably help
> break up the "story". For some of the 1800's people I'm working on, I don't
> have other events (so far anyways) to break up the census tags. I noticed
> in SS, using Two Column format (rather than Narrative), there is less of an
> issue, however, they are still repetitive.
> Thanks, Tom


My strategy is to accept the obvious. Repeated similar events result in
repeated similar text. This text is assumed to be of interest to those
who read or view it. In my opinion, those who *are* interested in the
content will not fall asleep. Those who are *not* interested in the
content cannot be prevented from sleeping -- unless you figure out a way
to toss an occasional lit firecracker at them through their computer

I will go even a step farther. If most of your output handles censuses
the same way, resulting in similar text for similar situations, this can
actually assist the reader/viewer. They may more easily notice things
that are out of the ordinary. However, if you vary your output to avoid
monotony, you may waste your reader/viewer's time as they try to figure
out "why this census information doesn't read like this other census
information" when there really isn't a reason at all. The more creative
your narrative prose, the greater this possible danger.

It's all about what you are trying to accomplish. If you are trying to
provide usable genealogical information to current or future
researchers, don't worry about monotony in the prose. The more you try
to avoid repetition, the more you risk obscuring the basics. If an
engaging, readable narrative of your family's history is what you are
after, editing Tag sentences in TMG, with the aim of producing reports
that do not need to be edited more, is probably not the way to go about
it. However, there are probably a dozen people on this list who will
jump in to try to prove how wrong I am on that last point [grin].


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