Thursday, December 2, 2010

Going all fundamental

Since some of us are discussing things fundamental to data, thought I'd think about things fundamental, too.  Maybe you'll consider joining me.

1. What are the best tools most used or suggested to those just beginning the family history journey?
2. What are the most common or most discouraging errors made by those new to the practice?
3. What tools help good researchers become great researchers?
4. What tools help great researchers become great writers?
5. What tools help all of us archive and preserve our treasures?
6. What tools are most helpful in breaking down brick walls?
7. What tools help great writers publish?

Add or opine! --GJ


Margaret Harris said...

1. Start with what you know. "Work from the known to the unknown". In your list of resources, you should go first to living relatives for information.
2. I think a common error is trying to take on too much all at once.
3. Good researchers to great researchers, tools: attention to detail, cite your sources, keeping an open mind.
4. Great writing begins with taking the facts you've discovered, recording them in narrative style, and drawing some possible conclusions (hypotheses).
5. Tools for archiving and preserving: organizational skills.
6. Breaking down brick walls--tools--the ability to think outside the box and reviewing our sources to make sure we didn't overlook something.
7. Tools that help great writers publish: discipline, consistency, dedication.

GeneJ said...

Thank you for the great comments, Margaret. I'm glad to see "work from the known to the unknown" on your list!

Rosina Lippi said...

This may not be the right place to ask this question, and if that's the case, please redirect me. But here goes:

As an academic I have been very frustrated by the way the existing software packages handle bibliography and citations. It's a subject I've raised on various forums, but mostly people seem to be oblivious or unconcerned. (I use TNG for my own genealogy data and let's just say that (1) while I otherwise really like the software, the source/citation element is lacking; and (2) I've made myself a pest on this subject on the forum and with some of the developers, and had to give it up)

I've been wondering now for a while whether it wouldn't make sense to build a source/citation package for genealogical research that is based on some other bibliography program. There are some very sturdy open source programs such as Zotero which allow the user to set up custom source types that would be inclusive of all kinds of detailed source information. I realize that the next step -- embedding a specialized version of Zotero -- into a wider context software base -- would be a huge challenge, it still seems that it would be better than trying to invent the wheel.

At any rate, I very glad to see that there are genealogy types who don't run away from this perennial and very important complication. Thanks for taking it on.

Russ Worthington said...


Your comments are valid, but this Blog and the BetterGEDCOM project has moved on to an organisation FHISO.

BetterGEDCOM nor FHISO are software developers. However, much of the FHISO team are made up of developers.

Their goal is to develop an international standard for the exchange of Genealogy information. That would include Source material and Citations.

I can only suggest that you continue to encourage your program developers to create a bibliography that meets your needs.

Have you been to the Evidence Explained website and posted your concerns there?