Last week I wrote about evidence management and the New FamilySearch Tree. The plan this week was to write about Ancestry.com Member Trees. I struggled as I wrote. I decided Ancestry.com has a piece of evidence management that isn’t represented in my model. It was time to revisit the evidence management diagram.
Here is how it has looked:
Since I’m hardly an expert on genealogical methodology, my model draws heavily on experts. Elizabeth Shown Mills “Evidence Analysis: Research Process Map” has these basic components:
From sources we draw information. From information we choose evidence. The proof of a conclusion lies in a careful analysis of the source, the information, and the evidence.
Upon this foundation, I drew upon my technical background for my contribution. What interfaces (technically, user interfaces and underlying objects) does a genealogy program need to implement this? Desktop genealogy programs already have interfaces for entering sources and for displaying individuals. I came up with two more: an evidence summary, and a conclusion entry interface. Here are the four interfaces juxtaposed beneath the evidence analysis components:
The bottom row became the evidence management diagram shown at the beginning of this article. Some of the boxes are displayed more than once to communicate some technical stuff that I won’t bore you with.
Writing about Ancestry.com Member Trees, I realize there is another interface that can play an important role in evidence management. I include it in the new evidence management diagram:
The circular nature of the new diagram evolved (revolved ;-) from the addition of the new Compare interface.
- To evaluate a potential source, we compare all the “facts” we believe about an individual with information in the source. If the comparison is favorable, we have identified a new source.
- Through a source interface, we enter a citation and other information about the source.
- We take information from the source and create an evidence summary.
- To help us make a conclusion, the analysis interface displays relevant evidence.
- Our conclusion becomes one of the “facts” displayed about a person.
While names may have changed, the function of the red, green, purple, and blue boxes remains the same as before.
What do you think?
- Are the changes an improvement?
- Is it easier to understand?
- Does it meet the needs of newer users? Experienced users? Genealogy program software engineers?
- Is the circular format appropriate?
- Have I correctly applied industry terminology?
- Do the interface names accurately reflect the function of the interface as explained here and in previous articles?
- There are technical inaccuracies, to be sure. (For example, information comes from the source, not the source interface.) Are there inaccuracies that can be corrected such that the usefulness of the diagram increases?
I have come to depend upon your feedback during this series of articles. After you’ve had a chance to respond, I hope to have the stamina to go back and revise all the previous articles with the new diagram and the new terminology.
Thanks in advance.
With this new model, I am ready to take on Ancestry.com… Next time…