* Question about "Essentials" template set

Questions about Generic and Templated Sources within FH and their associated Citations and Repositories
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Gary_G
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Question about "Essentials" template set

Post by Gary_G »

As I'm seriously looking at using a Strathclyde-like citation style, I've been playing with the Essentials collection templates. to see if they would work for me. I've noticed that many of the templates have a Collection and URL field that are never actually used. While I am quite capable of cloning and editing the template definitions, I'd rather understand the "philosophy" of use of the Essentials collection before doing so. There may be a good reason to leave them as is.

Has there been any writeup on the Essentials collection that might explain how it was intended to be used?
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Re: Question about "Essentials" template set

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

Other than material on the Strathclyde site, and the Macdonald book (neither of which reference the FH Essentials collection) I'm not aware of anything.

Re Collection and URL, my interpretation is that they're used to record the online location (if any) of the source but it's odd they aren't used.
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Gary_G
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Re: Question about "Essentials" template set

Post by Gary_G »

Thanks, Helen. It's curious, because the Essentials collection is clearly Strathclyde-based and this is one place it noticeably deviates from that standard.

I've both the Strathclyde manual and the MacDonald book, so I will take the essentials templates and "tweak" them to align them better with the MacDonald book. The book does a decent job of explaining the purpose and format of each field. So; it shouldn't take too long. Must admit; it's nice to have a reference that is straight-forward in its explanations.
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sbell95
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Re: Question about "Essentials" template set

Post by sbell95 »

To add to the confusion, Ian Macdonald doesn't seem to use the "access date" field in any of his citations, whereas the Strathclyde style guide does include this. Like Teresa who frequents this forum, you may have to come up with your own citation "flavour" that combines elements from the Essentials collection, Strathclyde and Macdonald.

Perhaps the thinking of Calico Pie with regards to the Collection and URL fields was that they are just one way to access a record (unless it's born-digital, of course!) and hence do not need to be displayed in a footnote but still recorded somewhere for future reference?
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Gary_G
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Re: Question about "Essentials" template set

Post by Gary_G »

Oddly; the MacDonald book actually explicitly advises against using the access date, but does employ the URL.

It seems that everyone has their own version of the "Essentials" templates and, likely, so will I. :D

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Just a late add...

For me, the site and URL are important, especially with digital images, because the quality of the digitized images of microfilm can vary. eg. Genealogy Quebec vs. FamilySearch church records. So; I will be adding both. After I study the image, I may want to go back and see if it has been updated and possibly look for another website with a better image.

I'm not so hung up on having an access date, but some sites are now re-imagining their records and sometimes the older versions are not quite as clear. Seeing an older date may prompt me to check the site again for a better image. However, for many records, when they're gone they're gone and I've found having an access date doesn't help that much; especially for pay sites. I'll likely keep the date; more as a security blanket , than anything else.

What strikes me is the similarity in basic content with most of the citation formats. For an amateur genealogist like myself; the big difference is the aggravation introduced by some styles. eg. gratuitous verbiage, excessively formulaic punctuation and font styles, and the introduction of details of seemingly limited value. There are cases in which absolute clarity is required and only a "legal" approach will do. However; due to the limited amount of time available to assemble citations in my large projects, I find the "legal" approach not to be practical.
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Re: Question about "Essentials" template set

Post by fhtess65 »

I do find his advice here odd...I believe the reason for the access date is so that we, and later researchers, know that at that moment in time, we found the record in a certain way. As most of us have probably experienced, digital record images do move around depending on the contract with the owning repository, plus, even the owning repository can change.
Gary_G wrote: 24 Feb 2024 00:26 Oddly; the MacDonald book actually explicitly advises against using the access date, but does employ the URL.

<SNIP>
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Re: Question about "Essentials" template set

Post by fhtess65 »

And it took years of working on wrapping my head around genealogy citation, very different from academic citation, and exploring different methods. According to someone on a FB group, what I've done (cobbling together a style) is "wrong", but hey, it works for me and professional genealogists have commented positively on the quality of my citations.

It really was only once I'd learned that I had to understand the nature of the source I was citing, and pull from it the various elements needed, that I finally figured things out.
sbell95 wrote: 23 Feb 2024 23:55 To add to the confusion, Ian Macdonald doesn't seem to use the "access date" field in any of his citations, whereas the Strathclyde style guide does include this. Like Teresa who frequents this forum, you may have to come up with your own citation "flavour" that combines elements from the Essentials collection, Strathclyde and Macdonald.
<SNIP>
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Researching: Spong, Ferdinando, Taylor, Lawley, Sinkins, Montgomery; Basiński, Hilferding, Ratowski, Paszkiewicz
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Re: Question about "Essentials" template set

Post by jbtapscott »

I don't use any of the templates as I prefer to follow my own existing consistent approach, but in terms of the Access Date I do think it has a quite important place for certain sources. The 1939 UK Register is one particular area where transcripts / images do change over time (as FMP, etc., receive notification of deaths and thus "open" records that were officially closed), and thus the date you actually accessed / recorded the details are quite important.
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Gary_G
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Re: Question about "Essentials" template set

Post by Gary_G »

Teresa;
I see nothing wrong in making some adjustments to a style to make things work for oneself. Publishers certainly create their own unique style and I don't think the FB pundits would dare to criticize them. I understand that ESM has also tweaked her "standard" style in her new book. If it's good for the goose, it's good for the gander...

By the way; In the section 6 of the MacDonald book, about 4 pages in and under the topic "URL", you will find MacDonalds reasoning about why not to use access dates. Frankly; I feel his arguments have some merit. All said and done, though; I will likely use an access date anyway and for the reasons I previously stated.

I've looked over your Strathclyde variant (shown in your web-articles) and see nothing that alarms me whatsoever. I note that, typically, most of the length is due to explanatory text that is added to the citation itself, as required. While I might structure mine ever-so-slightly differently, the citations look perfectly functional.
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