Sunday, 30 November 2014

Standing at a crossroad...

I feel like I am standing at a crossroad, choosing which path to take. I can continue with my family tree rebuild the way I have been or I can stop (yet again) and study up on proper source citation, the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) and other such weighty matters. It would be easy to just keep going on my merry way, but I now realise that I have been somewhat lax in recording the proper source citation details for much of the detail in my tree.

Way back when I was in university, I only ever had to write one "serious" essay for an economics course. None of the other courses I studied required essays, and as such I never really had to learn how to cite sources properly. In fact, the one essay I did write (which I got a B for - yay me!) only had a small handful of sources and the lecturer was more interested in our reasoning and justification for the stance we took on the topic than in the citation style. At the time I thought I had dodged a bullet by avoiding essays, but now I'm not so sure...

I guess now that I am revisiting my family tree I might as well do it right this time. (Why am I always creating so much extra work for myself?!) Of course this introduces a couple of new problems into the mix - not only will I have to (finally) learn how to cite sources correctly, but the software I have been using to date (MacFamilyTree) appears to be somewhat deficient in its source handling. Oh yeah, then there's the genealogy tool I have been writing - that will need some serious rework to correctly handle citations and while I'm doing that, I might as well try to factor in the GPS.

I like the idea of the GPS and understand the need to proper source citations. I could just keep going and pay attention to citations and GPS from now, but part of me is screaming that that just wouldn't do. If I'm going to do something, I might as well do it right.

So I guess my to-do list looks something like this:

  • Learn proper source citation techniques for genealogical sources
  • Work out how to use and apply the GPS to my research
  • Find a better genealogy package that has robust source support
  • Re-engineer my genealogy tool

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