Standards for Use of Technology in Genealogical Research
Mindful that computers are tools, genealogists take full responsibility for their work, and therefore they
- learn the capabilities and limits of their equipment and software, and use them only when they are the most appropriate tools for a purpose;
- do not accept uncritically the ability of software to format, number, import, modify, check, chart, or report their data, and therefore carefully evaluate any resulting product;
- treat compiled information from online sources or digital databases in the same way as other published sources--useful primarily as a guide to locating original records, but not as evidence for a conclusion or assertion;
- accept digital images or enhancements of an original record as a satisfactory substitute for the original only when there is reasonable assurance that the image accurately reproduces the unaltered original;
- cite sources for data obtained online or from digital media with the same care that is appropriate for sources on paper and other traditional media, and enter data into a digital database only when its source can remain associated with it;
- always cite the sources for information or data posted on-line or sent to others, naming the author of a digital file as its immediate source, while crediting original sources cited within the file;
- preserve the integrity of their own databases by evaluating the reliability of downloaded data before incorporating it into their own files;
- provide, whenever they alter data received in digital form, a description of the change that will accompany the altered data whenever it is shared with others;
- actively oppose the proliferation of error, rumor and fraud by personally verifying or correcting information, or noting it as unverified, before passing it on to others;
- treat people online as courteously and civilly as they would treat them face-to-face, not separated by networks and anonymity;
- accept that technology has not changed the principles of genealogical research, only some of the procedures.
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© 2000, 2001, 2002 by National Genealogical Society. Permission is granted to copy or publish this material provided it is reproduced in its entirety, including this notice.