Archiver > TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM > 2011-02 > 1297101570

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Subject: Re: [TGF] census citation help
Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2011 10:59:30 -0700

Remembering the larger context for this discussion...

Elizabeth asked for comments on her citation:
1860 U.S. census, Hampden County, Massachusetts, population schedule,
Russell, Russell Post Office, p.9-11, (penned), p.599-601 (penned),
p.12 (penned), p.602 (penned), dwelling 1-34, family 56-93, digital
images, [1][2] accessed 6 Feb 2011);
National Archives microfilm publication M653, roll 504.
I offered my approach:
1860 U.S. census, Hampden County, Massachusetts, population schedule,
Russell, pages 9-12 (written), dwellings 1-34, families 56-93; digital
images, [3] ([4] accessed 6 Feb 2011),
citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 504.

Michael wrote [about my use of a comma to separate the NARA reference in the
Ancestry section]:
> Just one point of issue here, Linda (the rest is all good). You would use
> semicolon, not a comma. Though the "citing" part at the end is provided by
> the publisher, it is not part of the publication information. It should
> actually be treated as a separate clause, using the semicolon. And to be
> clear, we are not reporting what source Ancestry *used*, we are reporting
> what Ancestry *cited* -- the use of the word "citing" as opposed to some
> other word makes this clear.
I agree, that we are reporting what Ancestry cited. That is why I replaced
the original "from" with "citing"
I see that my 2007 (2nd printing) edition of EE uses a semicolon for the
"citing" phrase for a 1870 census example (section 6.25, p. 277).
I also see that in the online NGS Family History lesson uses a comma for its
example of citing an online census image.

So, perhaps the NGS recommendation is incorrect, my EE is out-of-date, or
perhaps there's another point of view.
I looked at EE section 2.74, the discussion of the use of semicolons in
citations. It starts off with:

"As a grammatical device, semicolons separate major elements in a sentence."

and later

"In citations, semicolons are used for the same separation purposes."
EE identifies five common citation situations using semicolons:

1. separating major elements in a complex situation

2. separating a source from a discussion of that source

3. separating the original source from its derivative form

4. separating multiple sources cited in the same reference note

5. separating the source from its source

#2 and #4 wouldn't seem to apply.

#1 depends upon how one identifies a situation to be complex. From the EE
discussion for this situation complexity seems to reflect primarily how many
commas are used in each level.

#3 specifically mentions citations for digitized materials, so this would
apply. The example given has two levels, the original and its derivative.
That pretty much covers describing the US 1860 populations schedule and
also describing Ancestry where the digital image is viewed.

#5 discusses the situation of a published source that cites its own source.
This seems to be directly applicable to this census example and Michael's
point. Ancestry is the publisher citing its source for the publication.
The EE discussion for this situation includes:

"Depending upon the complexity of the situation, we may need to separate the
two with a semicolon, as in example 1, or we may separate them more simply
with a comma, as in example 2."

Complexity appears to be somewhat in the eye of the beholder. I think
"citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 504" isn't all that complex.
I would use a comma because it emphasizes the connection between this
information and Ancestry. But it would appear that either a comma or
semicolon could be used, so both NGS and the EE 6.25 examples, as well as
Michael and I, are correct.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would get into a serious
discussion about punctuation. What have I become?



Linda Gardner




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