Consideration for URL usage for Printed vs Electronic Citations

 
 
 
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rworthington
rworthington's picture
Consideration for URL usage for Printed vs Electronic Citations

Dear Editor,

I have been following two recent Citation Issues user forum questions, specifically in the area of the use of a URL. The one I read this morning, suggesed using a longer form of the URL, directly to the web page of the information being cited. While the other, the URL entry stayed at the web site level. 

In thinking through these different approaches, it dawned on me that there may be a use for both. Meaning, if I were to have a locally, not a formal publication, I would use the web site level (shortened) URL, with enough information for the reader to find the record I was citing. But, if I were to "publish" my research on a website, such as an online tree somewhere, it might be helpful to have the longer form, or clickable, URL.

In studying some of your work and Dr. Thomas W Jones work, I have discovered that I have been trying to craft the citation for myself, that I found the record in one of two ways. One being from a Search or Hint, where the record group in question was found by searching, or Two, where I found the record by Browsing, using "way points" [ > ]. 

I found the record in one of two ways, so the citation, for me, might reflect how I found that record. I was thinking that was a reminder for me, but may be helpful for others to find that record. The Long vs Short URL observation, fit into the mix for me. How I found the record, and where that Citation or Reference note would be presented.

Thank you,

Russ

EE
EE's picture

Russ, EE is totally with you on the conclusion that (a) there are multiple valid ways to cite these sites and (b) as researchers, we have the right and responsibility to assess each situation and choose the one that fits best for any given situation. To quote EE 2.37 for starters

>Identification of a website’s address—its URL—can be tricky. Long URLs typically represent dynamic pages created on the fly when we enter a search term. We may find a long URL reusable so long as we do not clear our computer’s browser cache. However, it likely will not work for others or for us at a later time. An alternative is to cite the website’s home page, along with keywords in the path that takes a browser to the proper site. That method is not more permanent, however. The reorganization of a website could eventually make our cited keywords and path unworkable. By recording the access date, we may have a reference point we can use to retrieve the material from an Internet cache such as WayBack Machine (http://www.archives.org).

As you will have noticed, EE's examples sometimes use exact URLs and sometimes paths (called waypoints in Jones's workbook). Sometimes, as with an example at 7.18, we might choose to use both:

     1. Sel Parish (Sel, Oppland, Norway), Ministerialbok, Døde og begravede [Death and Burial Records], 1905–19, “Deaths,” section, p. 139, Bernard Matias Pedersen entry, 5 February 1905; digital images, National Archives of Norway, Digitised Parish Registers (http://www .arkivverket.no/URN:kb_read : accessed 1 April 2015), English-language path: Oppland > Sel/Sel 1905–1919 > Parish register (official).

The Editor

rworthington
rworthington's picture

Dear Editor,

Thank you for your reply.

I am trying to separate, in my mine anyway, Have I provided enough information to Search for, or that I had to Browse for, the record that I am citing. 

I should admit that most of the websites that I rely on are the Ancestry family of websites, including Find A Grave, and FamilySearch.org. Hints from Ancestry, to me, are those records that I can search for and tine. It' those unidexed records on FamilySearch for the Waypoints, and Fold3, I would also use WayPoints, if I am not able to Search for the record I am looking for, which is my usual way to approach Fold3.

It was in a Study Group of Dr. Jones book that we spent time on that "waypoint" term.

Again, Thank you for the feedback.

Russ