Question about citing databases with images...using "entry" vs. "image" vs. other words

Thanks to the explosion of digitalization of records, I have many citations that are found through "database with images" collections. I know that one option, when the digital image is an exact copy of the original, is to lead the citation emphasizing the original document as layer 1 and then the database in which it was viewed as layer 2. discussed often, it is often easier to lead with the database when working with our software programs. Therefore many of my citations are database led. It is just easier, especially when I have multiple citations to the one record set.

Here is an example citation:

"Vital Research Records Search Selection," database and images, West Virginia Division of Arts, Culture and History ( : accessed 16 Feb 2019), database entry for Benj F Frederick and Sarah Collins, 15 Mar 1866, and register image for "Marriage Register, 1853-1900" [Ritchie County, West Virginia], p. 14.

This was formed in part based on another discussion in these forums. Link

My question is about the use of both "database entry" and "register image". I don't often see the use of both of these phrases in other examples. Why is it broken out this way in this case when in other use cases, it often isn't?

For example, in section 8.43 of EE, pg. 418 (3rd ed.) there is an example that emphasizes the website which is a database with images. In the example, only the word "entry" is used.

In another example, for passenger manifests, section 11.17, you use the word "manifest" instead of either entry or image. But when one is using the "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891" collection at FamilySearch, one is typically going to use the database to search for a name and then view the image. So is "entry and image" or "manifest" more appropriate?

I guess I'm not clear on which words to use when completing my citation. After all, unless you have a specific link or waypoints already provided, you are most often going to be using the actual database for searching to find the right record and then viewing the image.  When is just "entry" appropriate? Why "entry" and "register image" in the WVCulture example? Why "manifest" instead of say "entry and image" in a passenger list example?


Submitted byEEon Thu, 12/19/2019 - 12:16

Niteowl 1851, you’ve done well with your consolidation of the two types of records you are citing from that database: the company’s database entry and an imaged page from the original register.  (To nitpick: EE would use the conventional period for abbreviated months.)

You ask why EE uses some examples for “database entry” and some examples for “document image”—specifically why, at 8.43, there is an entry for “database entry” when images are available.

Even in situations when images are available, there are many occasions on which we do wish to cite just the database entry—or both. Sometimes, the actual image may be missing although the database carries an entry for it. Many times, our reading of the document differs from the database entry through which others search for the document. In those situations, we’d cite both and then explain the discrepancy.  &c &c &c.

Submitted byniteowl1851on Fri, 12/20/2019 - 00:50

I suspect I'm overthinking things...again.

Let's say you have a database that you search and view the transcribed entry and also the linked image. If the information matches, or at least does not contradict each other, would it be fair to simply say "entry and image" or should you stick to just "image" (or whatever type of image that is, ie. "register image", etc.).  In most cases, I am only providing the main website URL, so there is no URL that links directly to the image in the reference note (I despise just looking at very long URLs.). Also, because the database is easily searchable, I am not providing a path. So to "find" the image, you would search the database and usually end up viewing the "entry" first before clicking to access the "image".

In cases where a path is used to go to a specific image (example, when a record set is not indexed) or a direct URL is provided, then omitting "entry" and only using "image" is natural.

Of course, as you point out, there are other exceptions...

Submitted byEEon Sat, 12/21/2019 - 16:27

niteowl1851, if (1) you use a database that consists of both company-created database entries and document images and (2) the database entry (abstract or extract) did not differ from the original for the details that it extracted, then (a) there's usually no reason to cite the database entry but (b) your identification of the database would beneficially note that it is a "database with images" for future reference.