FamilySearch Wiki talk:Source Citation Formats

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Turabian? Shown Mills? Chicago? Oh my!

I'm preparing to launch WikiProject:Linking to Books in the BYU Family History Archives but I don't know which format to use for the inline references which will link to the digital copies of local histories online. Should I use APA? MLA? Chicago? Shown Mills? Turabian? Any ideas? It would be nice to come to a consensus before adding these 1300 references so the community won't have to come back and change their citation format later. Ritcheymt 17:03, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Is Shown Mills widely accepted outside the Wasatch?  I tried to get a copy through Books-A-Million here in Virginia and was told it was "too obscure a title" for their distributor...  They suggested I get Chicago or Turabian.  That doesn't matter a whole lot in terms of what direction the FS wiki takes.  I just thought it was interesting.  Eirebrain 00:48, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

My preference is to use Chicago as the basic format guide, with Shown Mills as the back-up for citations specific to genealogical manuscripts and specific types of documents peculiar to the genealogical world. That said, I have some additional comments to add.

The whole purpose of bibliographic and footnote citations is to guide the reader to the source of information from whence the statements made in the Wiki page came. For that reason, I guess I am less concerned about which style we use than I am about helping the reader find the source of what we contribute. Remembering that the Wiki is a community project, contributors will add things with no citations, all the way to having so many citations that it is hard to read through an article without losing what is really being said. The latter is especially true of too many inline citations.

I think we should strongly suggest a standard for citations, both bibliographic and footnote, but realize that many of our contributors will simply not contribute if those guidelines are too stringent. We who are pioneering this effort can do much to set the standard by adding the right kind of citation now, so whatever the standard we are going to use, we need to stick by them and try to be as consistent as possible. Jbparker 17:21, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Inline citations vs. footnotes

We may need to cite sources differently depending on whether we're mentioning a great record source within the body of an article or creating a footnote. Ritcheymt 17:44, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Are there standards for inline citations?  What about citations in bulleted lists?  I assume they follow bibliographic form, which is different from footnotes.  Shown-Mills refers to both Chicago Style and MLA in her book Evidence.  I assume she used them as her basis and made adjustments as needed to cover genealogical applications, kind of like how the GSU took the DD book numbering system and adjusted it to fit the needs of the FHL.  Are Chicago Style and MLA all that dissimilar?  I don't know.  I would vote to use Shown-Mills, if my assumptions about her sources are true.  Bakerbh 22:47, 30 April 2009 (UTC) 

How Wikipedia does it

To see how Wikipedia handles this, see Wikipedia:Citing sources. Ritcheymt 17:44, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

I don't like the example that Wikipedia lists right at the beginning of the article.  To me, the publication date should follow the publication info, not the author's name.  Bakerbh 22:49, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Disadvantages of Shown Mills format?

Shown Mills seems to be the most accepted format within the U.S., but is it accepted (or even known) in the rest of the world? Also, formats like Chicago, MLA, APA, and even Turabian are supported by various word processors, software, and Websites such that users can enter bibliographic data into a form and have the system generate a reference. This brings fairly high-quality source citation to the "common man" who doesn't have a printed style manual at home. (But then, it could be argued that this "common man" doesn't cite sources anyway.) Ritcheymt 17:44, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

My opinion on this is above. Bakerbh 22:51, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Inertia, rework, and Chicago

Sometimes it's easier to just keep doing what's already being done than try to change everything. Chicago format was used for the research outlines -- the paper publications which made up the seed content for this site. Turabian and Shown Mills are both based on Chicago format. So if we went with Chicago, we wouldn't have to change thousands (tens of thousands?) of citations. And really, if Chicago were so broken for citing books and microfilms, would it still be around? Ritcheymt 12:57, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Standardized Citation Style

I agree that  Chicago style with Shown Mills is  used for most professional reports and is comfortable for us.  Why make matters more complicated by redoing all the work entered from the old Research Guides? Proarenee 10:43, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Multiple References to Citation

Looking at some pages, you will find a single source referenced multiple times, other pages will have each reference having its own reference to the same source. Does that make sense? An example of what I am referring to is New Sweden. This is an excellent page with excellent sources. I noticed that the first source is cited multiple times and then the second source is repeated multiple times. According to Diltsgd in the Talk page, the footnotes have problems when the second source is referenced once. If this is the case, that is a very bad bug in my opinion. Thomas Lerman 16:33, 17 May 2009 (UTC)