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View Full Version : Which Elizabeth Shown Mills book should I buy?


Scott Signal
09 February 2008, 09:30 PM
I'm pretty much brand new to genealogical research. I just bought Reunion and I'm beginning the daunting task of sifting through and confirming the information that my family members have accumulated. It's been recommended that I purchase Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian. I checked it out on Amazon and saw there's a newer and more expensive volume from Ms. Mills entitled Evidence Explained. Anyone have any insight into which I should pick up? Thank you.

Scott

AE Palmer
11 February 2008, 07:09 PM
I'm pretty much brand new to genealogical research. I just bought Reunion and I'm beginning the daunting task of sifting through and confirming the information that my family members have accumulated. It's been recommended that I purchase Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian. I checked it out on Amazon and saw there's a newer and more expensive volume from Ms. Mills entitled Evidence Explained. Anyone have any insight into which I should pick up? Thank you.

Scott

It all depends on how much you are willing to spend for high quality reference material. Both books are outstanding. "EVIDENCE!" was, until recently, considered to be the gold standard for sources and citations thereof. E.S. Mills new book is hundreds of pages longer and more up-to-date. It is now considered the gold standard. It is also considerably more in $$$ than its predecessor.

For my money, EVIDENCE! is a good place to start as the process of researching printed material [and genealogists deal with LOTS of paper documents] has not changed much over time. Then again, the use of Internet sourcing is expanding exponentially and having the latest in methodology is never wrong.

Again, it is your call and $$.

mhougland
12 February 2008, 12:42 AM
If you will be citing a lot of sources from the Internet or oddball places, definitely buy the newer edition, "Evidence Explained." A new edition of the Chicago Style Manual combined with the older "Evidence!" is adequate for the most citations. However, anyone who writes for genealogical publications should invest in the "Evidence Explained." It is terrific and a good investment - a genealogy reference book must have.

jonathanedwards
12 February 2008, 01:00 AM
If you will be citing a lot of sources from the Internet or oddball places, definitely buy the newer edition, "Evidence Explained." A new edition of the Chicago Style Manual combined with the older "Evidence!" is adequate for the most citations. However, anyone who writes for genealogical publications should invest in the "Evidence Explained." It is terrific and a good investment - a genealogy reference book must have.

I bought the digital version of Evidence Explained on Footnote for $24.95.

http://www.footnote.com/evidenceexplained.php

I have found it to be helpful. It is "keeping me honest" as far as my selection of sources and disclosure goes. The discipline of genealogy and subsequent GEDCOM files would be advanced greatly if every researcher read and internalized its contents.

Michael Talibard
12 February 2008, 04:14 AM
Supplementary question: will these books be equally useful on both sides of the Atlantic?

Scott Signal
12 February 2008, 01:14 PM
Thanks for the advice.

Scott

jep111
12 February 2008, 10:56 PM
Supplementary question: will these books be equally useful on both sides of the Atlantic?

Michael

dny47
20 February 2008, 06:34 PM
It all depends on how much you are willing to spend for high quality reference material. Both books are outstanding. "EVIDENCE!" was, until recently, considered to be the gold standard for sources and citations thereof. E.S. Mills new book is hundreds of pages longer and more up-to-date. (snip)
For my money, EVIDENCE! is a good place to start as the process of researching printed material [and genealogists deal with LOTS of paper documents] has not changed much over time. Then again, the use of Internet sourcing is expanding exponentially and having the latest in methodology is never wrong.

I'm new to genealogy, so please excuse my naivet

Amy
30 June 2008, 04:47 AM
What has changed regarding the style of citation for an internet document that necessitates hundreds more pages?

The newer Mills book, "Evidence Explained," is more than just a book about citing Internet sources. It contains models for citing the sources we typically use in genealogy research, whether online or offline. While the citation models are rooted in the formats described in style guides such as the Chicago Manual, "Evidence Explained" goes further into the specific details you need to include to create precise citations for many, many types of documents.

John Yates
20 October 2009, 01:56 AM
"Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace", 2nd edition is now available. Mine is now on order, of course. :-)

http://tinyurl.com/yl9r9ps

John Yates
23 October 2009, 09:07 PM
I received my copy of the second edition today. So far, I have only found a few new paragraphs in the Forward and Acknowledgments sections, the addition of "tweets" to the Blog section, and some inconsequential changes in the example data itself.

It is a hasty comparison, and I'd be pleased if someone proves me wrong [I was all primed to be adding new templates to my templates code], but it appears to me that this should be called a Second Printing more than a Second Edition.

Unless someone sees something I haven't yet, the second edition is not worth the price if you have the first edition.

I wanted to get this message out in case others are tempted to buy it, as I was.

kmgenealogy
24 October 2009, 06:36 AM
I received my copy of the second edition today. So far, I have only found a few new paragraphs in the Forward and Acknowledgments sections, the addition of "tweets" to the Blog section, and some inconsequential changes in the example data itself.

It is a hasty comparison, and I'd be pleased if someone proves me wrong [I was all primed to be adding new templates to my templates code], but it appears to me that this should be called a Second Printing more than a Second Edition.

Unless someone sees something I haven't yet, the second edition is not worth the price if you have the first edition.

I wanted to get this message out in case others are tempted to buy it, as I was.

Thanks John. What about those of us who don't have the "first" edition? I have over 2000 people and not sure I want to change the sources/citations for them. If I decide to go this route, can I just start using her format with new entries, even if I also have the source in my format?

Leister - Are you even considering offering Ms. Mills' format in an upgrade? If so, should I go ahead and buy this expensive book? As I'm now on a slim fixed income, I really have to consider my purchases carefully.

Thanks, Kaye

bchaplin
26 October 2009, 08:46 AM
"Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace" is about $36 on Amazon. I assume this is the new edition?
http://www.amazon.com/Evidence-Explained-History-Artifacts-Cyberspace/dp/0806317817/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256557163&sr=8-1

I also noticed a book called "Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case", by Christine Rose. I'd be interested to know if anyone has found Christine Rose's book to be useful as well, or the first would be sufficient. I definitely need to buy one or the other, as I am really uncertain if I am sourcing my material correctly.

theKiwi
26 October 2009, 10:44 AM
"Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace" is about $36 on Amazon. I assume this is the new edition?
http://www.amazon.com/Evidence-Explained-History-Artifacts-Cyberspace/dp/0806317817/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256557163&sr=8-1

If you click the "Look Inside" link on the image of the book you'll see it gives a copyright notice of 2007 on one of the pages you can see.

Roger

S McCormick
26 October 2009, 12:54 PM
I have the earlier (smaller) book by Shown Mills. I also own "Genealogical Proof Standard" by Rose. I study each as appropriate in my genealogical searches. They serve different purposes. Shown Mills' book discusses how to cite your research so that others can follow your research. Rose discusses how to decide whether or not to accept information as being pertinent to your search and how to judge its value and validity.

So far, I have found these two references sufficient for the way I am learning to handle my sources.

Sue

Reiner L. Sauer
26 October 2009, 07:47 PM
Leister - Are you even considering offering Ms. Mills' format in an upgrade? If so, should I go ahead and buy this expensive book? As I'm now on a slim fixed income, I really have to consider my purchases carefully.
Thanks, Kaye

Why is there a need to wait for Leister?

Has any Reunion user -- who own the Mill's book -- ever created a Reunion source template file, which uses the examples of the Mills' format?

Is it possible to get a link so that we can download this Reunion-clone?

Regards
Reiner

John Yates
26 October 2009, 09:29 PM
Why is there a need to wait for Leister?

Has any Reunion user -- who own the Mill's book -- ever created a Reunion source template file, which uses the examples of the Mills' format?

Is it possible to get a link so that we can download this Reunion-clone?

Regards
Reiner

I have created a parameterized a source templates file for all of ESM's 170 (3 each) formats. I have written a command line program that uses these templates, allows the end user to give the values of the parameters, stores this in a database, and I have a program that will read a Reunion report file (in rtf) and replace all source references found in the file with the ESM verson found in the database. New templates can be added at will, old ones modified as needed [without hurting citations already base on the existing templates], and a host of other useful "features". But I have more programming to do to make this easy to use by end users.

ESM "Evidence Style" formats cannot be done inside Reunion currently because it only allows ","s as field delimeters. (unless you do them all free format, and although that is an option, it is far from an optimum one).

I have a successful run duplicating exactly all 170 examples (x3) in "Evidence Explained", 2007 version. I contacted ESM some months ago and I may distribute my parameterized templates, but NOT the EXACT examples she uses in her book. So I have to change the thousands of lines of the parameters I used to prove my program worked, to something I can distribute (if I include the Reunion Register report I have that uses all 170 quickcheck models I've coded templates for). And I've had to put it on the shelf the last month or so while I pursue other activities. I would like to finish off a 1.0 version soon, but my programming time is a bit unpredictable at the moment. It isn't quite in a shape to be distributed yet, and I still need to write a web site "manual" for it.

So, you are right we don't have to wait for Leister if we adopt a postprocessing program that rewrites the sources in rtf output reports. And I'd be happy if Leister eventually takes my parameterization internal to the program, and allows interested end users (only) to fill in the template parameters, and have the program output the ESM format rtf directly, without a postprocessing program. [the code I'll distribute will have NO copyright strings attached, Open Source in the same vein as the SQLite database code I used for the database].

I am determined to get a version of this out. I can't predict exactly when. I think I have about a month's worth of work to do, but don't know how long it will take me to do that months worth of work. :-(

John Yates
26 October 2009, 10:17 PM
Thanks John. What about those of us who don't have the "first" edition? I have over 2000 people and not sure I want to change the sources/citations for them. If I decide to go this route, can I just start using her format with new entries, even if I also have the source in my format?
[...]
Thanks, Kaye

How one chooses to do source referencing is a personal choice. I discovered ESM's "Evidence Style" at the same time I was going to start over from scratch with 1500 people and do sourcing "properly". [with thousands more ready to go in from sources in hand]. So I will be starting over. But, there is no need to change any you have already, my program will ignore anything without a special "tag", JHYNNNN for example, where NNNN is a number. So with what I am advocating and programming, you could start using it only for new references, and change old ones one by one, but only if you choose to.

Many people state that their current method is fine with them. Let me draw an analogy that will show that these people have a valid point, I have a valid point, and put it in an overall perspective.

The analogy is to "Biological Classification". See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_classification

Life, Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, ... is the scientific way of classifying organisms. To me, this is equivalent to the ESM "Evidence Explained" method. What most people have done to date is akin to "Folk Taxonomy" see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folk_taxonomy

Having a Ph.D. in Theoretical Chemistry, I choose to use the "best" "scientific" model as I see it (ESM's "Evidence Style"). But if the "Folk" model works for you, by all means use it.

But a Genealogical program should not PREVENT you from doing the "Biological Classification" style. It should allow it, as well as the "Folk" style.

The data model I am programming is general and will allow "Evidence Style" templates, current Reunion templates (with only "," field delimiters), John Doe Style, Jane Smith Style, etc. If Reunion does such a code generalization once, it will easily handle any style from then on with no code changes, just template changes which end users can share with each other. You could download a template file of your choice, and modify individual template files to your needs, if you wish.

clairebettag
27 October 2009, 06:22 PM
ESM "Evidence Style" formats cannot be done inside Reunion currently because it only allows ","s as field delimeters. (unless you do them all free format, and although that is an option, it is far from an optimum one).

Will your program work if my Reunion sources are in "free format"?

Claire Bettag

John Yates
27 October 2009, 08:02 PM
ESM "Evidence Style" formats cannot be done inside Reunion currently because it only allows ","s as field delimeters. (unless you do them all free format, and although that is an option, it is far from an optimum one).

Will your program work if my Reunion sources are in "free format"?

Claire Bettag

Yes. But perhaps not how you envision it working. It will not touch them at all. But if you add new references with a tag (that is itself in a free format reference) like CB1, CB2, etc. (3 initials would be recommended, or at least a 3 character upper case key). So it would not alter anything you have done to date, but it will allow you to add new references in "Evidence Style" and go back and change previous references to the new scheme, if and when you wish. And it will add an alphabetic bibliography only for the "Evidence Style" ones it finds. My program rewrites rtf report outputs verbatim unless it finds an ES key. Then it replaces that rtf with rtf from a database file for that reference, and saves the bibliographic style of it so at the end it can add an alphabetic, unique, bibliography in the rtf file just before the rtf end of file.

I think I'll put up a very short example of what what I've done and how it works on my website soon. I've been touting this for some time with no concrete example. I'm sure I have skeptics by now. ;-)

John Yates
27 October 2009, 11:20 PM
I think I'll put up a very short example of what what I've done and how it works on my website soon. I've been touting this for some time with no concrete example. I'm sure I have skeptics by now. ;-)

I just threw this together. See: http://jytangledweb.org/sourceman/

John Yates
28 October 2009, 07:09 PM
I just threw this together. See: http://jytangledweb.org/sourceman/

I just added a new section at the bottom of the above web site that has the familyfile, the register report output before my program rewrite, and the rewritten output containing three QuickCheck models (I don't think I'll get copyright sued for that) and three of my own making. All six have the List, Full, and Short examples, and their input representation in my data model is also provided there.

I thought this would be much more informative to those interested in what I am coding.

John Yates
29 October 2009, 01:06 PM
I just added a new section at the bottom of the above web site that has the familyfile, the register report output before my program rewrite, and the rewritten output containing three QuickCheck models (I don't think I'll get copyright sued for that) and three of my own making. All six have the List, Full, and Short examples, and their input representation in my data model is also provided there.

I thought this would be much more informative to those interested in what I am coding.

To even further pull back the veil on the (sadly unfinished) code, I just added output examples of a Command Line SourceMan run, and output of a Batch run of SourceMan.

John Yates
30 October 2009, 09:47 PM
I received my copy of the second edition today. So far, I have only found a few new paragraphs in the Forward and Acknowledgments sections, the addition of "tweets" to the Blog section, and some inconsequential changes in the example data itself.

It is a hasty comparison, and I'd be pleased if someone proves me wrong [I was all primed to be adding new templates to my templates code], but it appears to me that this should be called a Second Printing more than a Second Edition.

Unless someone sees something I haven't yet, the second edition is not worth the price if you have the first edition.

I wanted to get this message out in case others are tempted to buy it, as I was.

I brought my concerns to Elizabeth Shown Mills directly. Here is her reply to me, which she allowed me to share here.

=====
Re the new edition of _Evidence Explained_: over 400 pages were updated.
Some new resources were added, but the size of the book was not expanded
because it is intimidatingly large already. New material was incorporated by
"trimming verbal fat" to make room. In that process, the paragraph and
section numbers were not changed, because many people have already memorized
locations for frequently used material.

As for the costs, one of two things were going to happen:

(1) Printing charges for reprinting the first edition were increased to the
point that the publisher would have to charge an extra $10 for the same
material---and that *after* I agreed to take reduced royalties to keep the
price as low as possible. (As you probably know, many print publishers are
being squeezed out of existence in the present economy.)

(2) We could offer a new edition for the same printing costs, so long as I
was willing to invest the time to prepare a new edition.

Needless to say, when I received this news in mid-June, I dropped everything
else I had planned for the summer and did the new edition. For a $10
increase, IMO, buyers did and do deserve the most up-to-date material
possible.

As for not making alterations in existing template styles, I don't think any
user would have appreciated that!

What would *I* recommend to "all those people on fixed incomes" who ask for
your recommendation? If they have a copy already and it's working fine for
them, then continue to use it. The new edition is for those who want
everything as up-to-date as possible or those who have not yet invested in
the guide.

Elizabeth
=====