ColinMc wrote:It does strike me that we (and here I mean new/ less experienced users) all need a single document with clear definitions of what is a repository, what is a source, a citation etc etc.
I take what you are saying, But I couldn't care less about best genealogical practice. I made my choice to work with FH, and that's what I want to learn to use to the best of my ability.
So I care what terms mean within the program I am using
That being the case the actual labels "repository", "source, "citation" actually do not matter that much. They are merely data entities* that within FH have relationships with each other. The question for you is then how to make best use of those relationships to do what you want to do.
* Chunks of similar data held in a standardised way - On the main FH records screen, the major data entities have their own tab.
At the core of what you are wanting to do is to manage the relationships between individuals
and their families
* and to record information about those individuals and families. The "managing the relationship" is key; without that requirement you could just use a word-processor document.
* A family is defined as a couple (husband/wife, father/mother)
Managing information is a lot easier if the information is recorded in a standardised way - which is why we use facts
(either events or attributes) rather than just massive notes for each individual or couple (although that is possible). It is helpful to get your mind around which facts relate to couples and which to individuals - so a birth fact relates to an individual and a marriage fact to a couple. Parentage is managed through the relationship of the individual to their family (learning to understand the contents of the "All" tab and how the data is structured is useful).
Beyond the core functionality there are a series of data entities to help answer the question (if desired) - how did I work "that" out? Sometimes this is a reasoned argument best held as a bit of text attached to the fact (the "that" above) in a note. More often you rely on something external that has a level of recognised "authority" (a recalled memory, a family note, a signed document, a government record etc.). These are loosely referred to as "Sources
". Being a data entity it has a structure (standard bits of information - not all of which have to be used)
Using data entities in an internally consistent way enables you to use the software to answer questions through things like queries - if you want to.
It gets complicated because FH allows you to manage the relationship between facts and sources in variations on two different ways. The relationship (the link) is referred to as a citation
- a term that is in major use in academia. It is a data entity but because its primary use is as a link, it is not visible on things like the records page. In the property box (for individuals and families) you can see the space for Sources (top Right) and Citations (bottom right - although it is not labelled as such). [Click the "Show Sources" icon if necessary to show the RHS of the property box] You cannot enter citation details until you have entered a source (because the citation is a link to a source).
In database systems (and FH is a database system) links are important because you get different types of links; where links are one to many (or many to many) they need to be defined. Thus
- A fact can have many sources
(e.g. birth sourced to a certificate, a birth index, a newspaper announcement, etc.)
- A source may support many facts
(e.g. a census can support "place of residence", "occupation", "date of birth" etc.)
A citation defines each of these links
In an academic document:
You might have an Event Fact for an Individual "Born: 21 April 1926 in London".
A source for this might be "Pimlott, B, 1998, The Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth II
(This is an academic form of the structured definition of a book: Author/Date/Title/Publisher)
Your citation to link this fact with this source would be "Pimlott, 1998, page 2" - which provides a (hopefully) unique pointer to your source (Pimlott, 1998) and an indication of where in the source (page 2) the supporting information would be found.
This works fine where information comes from printed books and similar and is being incorporated in academic papers etc.
Outside this use it gets more complicated because it is not clear what a "source" is.
- is "the 1881 Census" a "source", or is it the collated volume of census returns for a particular enumeration district (the physical thing that the National Archives could produce if requested), or is it the specific sheet on which the individual is recorded?
- is Wikipedia a source, or is the specific webpage a source?
The more detailed the source, the less detail is required in the citation.
What you use in the great scheme of things does not matter, although a level of consistency makes it easier for you. However it fuels the "lumper" / "splitter" debate because the pros and cons of each approach are of different priorities to different people.Repositories
I don't think are that controversial possibly because they are not particularly useful to most people! They might be thought of as places where sources are kept. Thus they would have been important to the Church of Latter Day Saints - who have a major influence on the GEDCOM definition.
I don't know if this gives "a single document with clear definitions of what is a repository, what is a source, a citation etc".