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Question/answer » Source citations: a sign of quality

Assessing resources is an important skill of a genealogist. Can I trust the information for my research? When information is taken over from sources, it is important that this information is provided with a source reference. Source citations make a publication verifiable. The presence of citations in a publication is therefore a sign of the quality of the underlying research.

For this reason, Genealogy Online show a quantitative assessment of the source citations in the publication. For this purpose, it is checked whether sources are linked to each person or his genealogical events. This can be the name of the source (archive organization, archive, inventory, record number) and possibly an internet address of the source and the actual scan of the source. Every family tree program offers the possibility to add citations. When the genealogical data is exported to GEDCOM, these sources are included.

To determine the qualification that Genealogy Online attaches to a publication, Genealogy Online checks whether at least one source reference has been included for a person and their information. Ideally, each piece of information that you have obtained from sources and included in your family tree is provided with a source citation. Genealogy Online cannot judge the quality of the source reference. As the author of a genealogical publication, it is up to you to make qualitative citations to help yourself and others.

Genealogy Online calculates the ratio of persons / persons with source citations and attaches the following label to it:

  • unsatisfactory - the ratio is lower than 20% (so less than 1 in 5 people have information provided with a source reference)
  • insufficient - the ratio is between 20% and 50%
  • sufficient - the ratio is between 50% and 80%
  • good - the ratio is higher of 80% (so more than 4 out of 5 people have information provided with a source reference)

Does your publication have a lower score than you would like? Make sure that the information in your family tree program is provided with source references (in the fields intended for that, not in note fields). Programs like Centurial extensively support this process, this is evidence-based genealogy software.


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