Citing online newspaper

 
 
 
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ChrisLather
ChrisLather's picture
Citing online newspaper

Hello there, I'm new to posting but not new to the forum.

I use Tom Tryniski's website "Fulton History" frequently in my research, that being said I want to be confident that I'm forming accurate citations. Looking at my older citations, I did something like this:

First Reference Note:

"Miss Adele Rapp Is Bride of Harold Collins," Albany (New York) Evening News, 19 July 1930, p. 4, top left col.; image copy, Old Fulton New York Post Cards (http://www.fultonhistory.com : accessed 14 February 2018), Historical Newspapers United States and Canada.

However, today I was trying to retrace my steps and find this article — but I couldn't replicate my research! This definitely raised cause for concern. I did some searching, and did find the article again, however I am at odds with how to tweak the citation.

The difficulty here is these images are organized digitally by their PDF number and not by the newspapers original page number.

So far I've gotten something like this:

First Reference Note:

"Miss Adele Rapp Is Bride of Harold Collins," Albany (New York) Evening News, 19 July 1930, p. 4, top left col.; image copy, Old Fulton New York Post Cards (http://www.fultonhistory.com : accessed 14 February 2018) Browse Archives > Historical Newspapers United States and Canada > Albany NY Evening News > Albany NY Evening News 1930 > Albany NY Evening News 1930 - 1959.pdf

This citation seems overly long to me, but would guide one straight to the article. I feel creating a direct path to the cited article might be the most helpful to anyone — including myself — trying to find what is cited.

Would it ever be feasible to shorten the path? For example:

Browse Archives > Historical Newspapers United States and Canada > Albany NY Evening News > 1930 > 1959.pdf

Should such specifics be reserved for personal notes and not for final publications? Any input would be greatly appreciated!

rraymond
rraymond's picture

Chris,

I've faced the same problem. I've done what you've done, at least in my private notes. I've included the full path reflecting the current organization of the websites. Removing redundant information from the path seems acceptable. (I assume you intended a - instead of a > in the last element.)  

For the public citation, I've sometimes found a search term that gave as a single result the image of interest, and used it to form a shorter citation.

“Services Held at Flat Brook,” The (Chatham, New York) Courier, Thursday, 14 November 1935, p. 4 (unpaginated), col. 1; digital images, Thomas Tryniski, Old Fulton New York Post Cards (http://fultonhistory.com : accessed 23 October 2015), search “Miss Lena Schillinger”.

I am not aware of a convention in genealogical citations making it clear whether or not the quote marks should be included in the search. Google uses square brackets. Personally, I include quotes when required and leave them out when not. Also, while it violates punctuation rules, I place the period outside the quote marks in any situation where a computer requires an exact syntax to function properly and including the period causes the action to fail.

The downside of both the path and search approaches is that changes could invalidate either one. Fortunately, Thomas has made browsing his collection much easier than in the past and the citation to the original has all the necessary elements.

---Robert Raymond

 

ChrisLather
ChrisLather's picture

Robert, I hadn't thought to provide search terms in the citation, which could certainly work in some situations. I would probably do the same thing and leave the period outside of the quotations. Also, I've struggled with deciding whether to include Tryniski's name in the citation or not. In this here today gone tomorrow digital world I understand why including a path or search terms might not be recommended for inclusion in a public or published work. Perhaps including the PDF reference in the citation could be helpful, as this seems less likely to change? You've definitely provided some great thoughts. Thank you!

Christopher Lather

rworthington
rworthington's picture

Great question.

Now, if I could only get my genealogy software to turn the Layers around.

"U.S. Obituary Search (1977 - Today)", database, GenealogyBank (https://genealogybank.com : accessed 16 February 2018), Herald News (West Paterson, NJ) - Thursday, July 22, 1999, obit for John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Lauren Bessette: Events Mark a Sad Turn for Kennedys.

I think it should look like:

Herald News (West Paterson, NJ) - Thursday, July 22, 1999, obit for John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Lauren Bessette: Events Mark a Sad Turn for Kennedys; "U.S. Obituary Search (1977 - Today)", database with transcription, GenealogyBank (https://genealogybank.com : accessed 16 February 2018)

Not happy with "database with transcription", but that is what I am seeing. Not a digital image, but has the text of that article.

GenealogyBank suggested:

Herald News () , obit for John F. Kennedy Jr., Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Lauren Bessette: Events Mark a Sad Turn for Kennedys, GenealogyBank.com (https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/13A71B70D5B10A20-13A71B70D5B10A20 : accessed 20 February 2018)

Not sure why that don't have "West Patterson, NJ" on the ( ), but they have offered that as the Citation.

FYI - my software only provide a Reference Note option.

Russ

 

EE
EE's picture

Russ, you didn't specifically ask a question, but I think you're asking for tweaks, so: here goes. I'll also make this response in parts, due to the length.

For the first example, demonstrating what your software does, you show:

"U.S. Obituary Search (1977 - Today)", database, GenealogyBank (https://genealogybank.com : accessed 16 February 2018), Herald News (West Paterson, NJ) - Thursday, July 22, 1999, obit for John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Lauren Bessette: Events Mark a Sad Turn for Kennedys.

EE would suggest:

"U.S. Obituary Search (1977 - Today)", database, GenealogyBank (https://genealogybank.com : accessed 16 February 2018),  transcription,   Herald News (West Paterson, NJ),  Thursday, July 22, 1999, obit for John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Lauren Bessette: "Events Mark a Sad Turn for Kennedys."

The reasons for the tweaks are these:

  1. I inserted the word "transcription" to explain that your source offers a transcript rather than an image. When using sources that offer an image, then we would substitute "imaged at" or something similar in this field.
  2. The title of the newspaper should be in italics, that being the convention for identifying titles of all standalone publications of whatever type.
  3. The hyphen that you use after the newspapers locale is replaced with a comma, the conventional punctuation that separates the newspaper's ID from its date.(Incidentally, a hyphen's purpose is to join two words or word parts into one, as in "socio-economic." When we want to separate two thoughts for emphasis, we use an em dash—as discussed at EE 2.65.
  4. The title of the newspaper article should be copied exactly (which you apparently did) and placed in quotation marks. Those quotation marks tell our reader (and us at a later date after our memory of this source has gone cold): "I'm copying/quoting this exactly."

The Editor

EE
EE's picture

Russ, you also express the wish that your software would allow you to reverse the layers in order to emphasize the obituary itself. You suggest this possibility:

Herald News (West Paterson, NJ) - Thursday, July 22, 1999, obit for John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Lauren Bessette: Events Mark a Sad Turn for Kennedys; "U.S. Obituary Search (1977 - Today)", database with transcription, GenealogyBank (https://genealogybank.com : accessed 16 February 2018).

EE's tweaks are as follows:

Herald News (West Paterson, NJ), Thursday, July 22, 1999, obit for John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Lauren Bessette: "Events Mark a Sad Turn for Kennedys"; accessed via "U.S. Obituary Search (1977Today)," database with transcription, GenealogyBank (https://genealogybank.com : accessed 16 February 2018).

The same reasons given in the last message apply here. Additionally:

  • The citation would be clearer if the second layer were introduced by an explanatory word or two. Otherwise, readers who are accustomed to the academic practice of stringing together fifty different sources into one note with semicolons separating them might think you are citing two different sources. As an alternative, you might say

Herald News (West Paterson, NJ), Thursday, July 22, 1999, obit for John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Lauren Bessette: "Events Mark a Sad Turn for Kennedys"; transcription in "U.S. Obituary Search (1977Today)," database, GenealogyBank (https://genealogybank.com : accessed 16 February 2018).

Robert Raymond, above, uses alternate wording for that bridge. The exact wording in this field  is not formulaic. What's important is that we choose words that accurately describe the situation.

  • In the phrase "1977 - Today," you'll notice that I pounced on that hyphen again. To show a range of dates, numbers, etc., we use the en dash (–), which is longer than a hyphen but shorter than an em dash. EE 2.65 again.  (Incidentally, these are easy to make on our number pad. Using a PC: Alt+0150 gives us the en dash. Alt+0151 gives us the longer em dash.)
  • You'll also notice that, amid citing the name of the database, I put the comma inside the quotation marks. That's the long-standing U.S. convention: periods and commas inside of quotation marks.  (Some regions of the word put periods and commas outside the quote marks.)

Re your example of how the website provider suggests that you cite the source, I'll just refer you back to our longstanding laments over certain websites of this type that do try to be helpful—which we appreciate. But, they would be more helpful if they engaged a citation writer who understood historical sources and the long-standing basic conventions for citing them.

 

The Editor

rworthington
rworthington's picture

Dear Editor,

Again, thank you.

Just to make sure I understand the database title, "U.S. Obituary Search (1977Today),". I tried to maintain the exact Database Title, as provided by the vendor. In our Citations (for me Reference note). I should make that adjustment of "no spaces" betweem the 7 and the T.

I do know, and it drives me crazy, where Ancestry sometimes does

U.S., [ the rest of the database title ]

and

U.S. [ the rest of the database title ]

meaning no comma after U.S.

My notion has been, and I am guessing I need to slack up a bit, to present the Database Title as it is presented to me. I may need to rethink or think a little harder about my "Copy / Paste" of the Database Title for my Source information.

I spend more time on this layering of my citations and have determined that my software won't allow me to do it correctly.

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to tweak this for me.

Russ

EE
EE's picture

Russ, long-standing citation rules allow us to correct deficient punctuation in titles, in the interest of clarity. (EE 2.76). 

Re Ancestry's "inconsistency" in using (or not) a comma after U.S., I haven't checked for specific examples, but it could be the difference between (a) "U.S." being used as an adjective to modify what comes after it or (b) its use as a geographic unit or to represent the "U.S. government" as the creator of a set of records.

The Editor

rworthington
rworthington's picture

Dear Editor,

OK, I get the placement of "transcription", makes sense to me. I added it in the wrong place, but I wanted the citation to reflect that it was not the "normal" Image that I see on GenealogyBank.

Of course, a Newpaper is like a Website name, get the Italic. My bad.

#3 - got it.

#4 was a puzzle for me, in the way it was presented in the transcription. Because I was not looking at an image, to see if it was a sub-title, I really wasn't sure how to include in, but I wanted to include that text in the Citation.

Question: and will get this has an optional answer, IF I could see that "Events Mark a Sad Turn for Kennedys." was a subtible, and wanted to include it, you demonstrated how to do that ? I probably wouldn't have included a subtitle, but I was working on this example in my database and thought the subtitle, if that is what it was, should be included.

Thank you and on to your next response.

Russ

EE
EE's picture

Re the subtitle issue:  being a bit short of time today, I didn't go to that provider's website to study the actual obituary. I just worked from the details you provided.

If the first line of the headline says "Obituary of John F. Kennedy Jr., Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and Lauren Bessette" then, yes, that first line (in quotes) would be the title, after which we'd add a colon and continue with the subtitle "Events Mark a Sad Turn for Kennedys."  Evaluating just your details, I did not treat the "Obituary of ..." phrase as an exact quotation because most obituaries don't actually start out with the word "Obituary of ..." Most articles that appear in an obituary section of the paper will just start with the name, in which case, we'd likely preface the title with  the word obituary as a descriptor—i.e.,

Herald News (West Paterson, NJ), Thursday, July 22, 1999, obituary, "John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Lauren Bessette: Events Mark a Sad Turn for Kennedys"; transcription in "U.S. Obituary Search (1977Today)," database, GenealogyBank (https://genealogybank.com : accessed 16 February 2018).

The bottom line, always, is that when we copy words exactly, we put quotation marks around the words we copy.

The Editor

rworthington
rworthington's picture

Dear Editor,

Thank you so much.

Russ