I received the following in response to my article, “It’s Not My Fault! URL Citation Principles.”
Dear Ancestry Insider,
OK - some of us are OLD ladies, who have been grinding microfilm readers since before some of you geeks or nerds [whatever] were born. What will those numbers tell us? Yes, indeed, I have been missing some of *sources* of my printouts for quite a time now. I have had to school myself to grab a pencil real fast. I found a suspect English born great-aunt's christening in the right county in England, but being familiar with the IGI (even though it is generally a poor source) I deduce the source is the IGI. Give us old ladies (and a few elderly gentlemen) some clues as to what we do with the numbers. Is this in Mrs. Mills' book on Evidence (items from the internet)?
You said “What will those numbers tell us?” I guess turnabout is fair play because you’ve lost me. I don’t know what you are asking.
I hope your question is not about the section titled “Don’t Try This at Home” I make the statement “If you aren’t technically savvy, skip now to the conclusion.” This is not a question of intelligence or ability to learn. This is a practical matter of prerequisite knowledge.
Perhaps you are wondering what the “right” citations would look like, or maybe even what the “wrong” citations might look like. But don’t miss the point. The article was not about Mills Standard. Yes, Mills’s book, Evidence Explained, can alert you to issues you might not have thought about. Yes, you can probably write shorter citations after reading her book. But what the article talked about was principles you use whether you use Mills of make up your own. The point is that if you want to get back to the source latter, you need more than a URL.
Bad URL, Bad Citation:
Good URL, but still a bad Citation:
Assuming the URL will break (which it will), what information will you need to get back to the record? Here’s a citation that works. I’ve not compared it to Mills, so I wouldn’t publish it in an article or a book. But, hey, it gets you back to the original even if the URL breaks:
The source was an image I found on 30 September 2011 at www.familysearch.org, United States Census, 1870 > New York > New York > New York City, ward 01. Image 396 of 792 was page 2 of the 1st enumeration.
This citation doesn’t fit any particular standard, but it will get you back to the online source even if the website changes somewhat and it indicates the source was digital images.
Does that help? If I still haven’t answered your question, post a comment to this article.
-- The Insider