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Archiver > TMG > 2011-03 > 1300800846

From: Terry Reigel <>
Subject: [TMG] Citing Poor Sources - Was: Re: Name changes in narratives
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 09:34:06 -0400
In-Reply-To: <>

Darrell A. Martin wrote:

> In my opinion, creating a "source" to explain this, that
> is, to say that I do not really HAVE a source, is a waste
> of time. In fact, it is much worse. I found this out when
> I discovered that my carefully worded placeholder
> "sources" saying that I had no credible evidence, were
> being regarded by some people as BEING evidence.

Interesting, Darrell. Obviously, unless you totally make people up, which I really doubt you do, you do have some source for your entries. The fact that it may be some family tale or other source you don't consider credible doesn't change the fact that is is a source.

I consider source citations primarily for my own use, and I want to know where every record in my data set came from. That's mainly so when I later find some conflicting piece of information I can evaluate the relative merits of each. So I do record my actual source, no matter how unreliable it may be. If I later find better sources, I exclude the original one.

> One person actually told me, in so many words, that she
> loved my Web site, because she knew if there was a
> footnote, I had proof. Yikes!

That is amazing. I've often told correspondents when I send them a report that some of the data is supported by poor sources, and they can look at my citations and evaluate the merit of what I have recorded. Your experience suggests I've been assuming more insight in such cases than might be merited.

> Regardless, I refuse to allow my lack of credible
> evidence to prevent me from managing my research so I can
> FIND that evidence; and, I'll be boiled in oil before I
> create another useless "source".

I totally agree with the first part of this statement. But as I said above, I don't consider any Source useless, because it tells me where the information came from. I do agree with the part of your statement I snipped out that it may be best to exclude truly questionable information from any publication, unless there are clear disclaimers attached to that person, and maybe even then.

> (Note: Please don't bother me with suggestions about
> sureties, until TMG gives me a way to connect exactly
> which sub-elements of a Tag are either supported or
> contra-indicated by exactly which assertions in the
> evidence.)

You won't find me suggesting the use of sureties to convey the merit of your evidence, and it has nothing to do with the inability to associate them with sub-elements. The real issue, in my view, is there is no sensible way to output them so the can be understood by readers. I use sureties, but only for my own use, so I can see in the Tag Entry Screen which Sources supported each element without opening the Citation screen.

Terry Reigel

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