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View Full Version : What to do with defunct email addresses in sources?


Nick
03 September 2009, 05:25 PM
Probably like many of you, I have an awful lot of sources containing informants' email addresses, often the only contact I have for them.

In a few cases, the email address for the same person has changed over the years. Should I go back and change every instance of the old address to the new address?

I have a feeling this is a stupid question, and the answer is yes, of course. But email addresses - and even postal addresses - are so ephemeral , are they honestly of any use as a source? How many will still be extant 20 years from now?

Any thoughts on this subject would be most welcome.

Karen Peters
03 September 2009, 09:32 PM
Nick,

You're right, you know you should update the e-mail addresses. Go to the Source List (command-s) and search for the old e-mail address. It should go a little faster that way.

You're also right that e-mail addresses are ephemeral, but I still believe in recording them. At least it gives someone a starting point when tracking down a source. It's better than nothing. I do put a date with any e-mail or web site I use as a source. If the website or e-mail doesn't work anymore and I can't find the new address, I put "link expired" next to it.

Does anyone else have a better idea? I'd love to hear it!

AE Palmer
04 September 2009, 07:28 PM
Probably like many of you, I have an awful lot of sources containing informants' email addresses, often the only contact I have for them.

In a few cases, the email address for the same person has changed over the years. Should I go back and change every instance of the old address to the new address?

I have a feeling this is a stupid question, and the answer is yes, of course. But email addresses - and even postal addresses - are so ephemeral , are they honestly of any use as a source? How many will still be extant 20 years from now?

Any thoughts on this subject would be most welcome.

I agree that one should retain the old email address. And I do like the idea of identifying it as defunct. As for updating the data with a new address, Reunion makes it easy to add more info to sources. In such cases. I would simply add the new email tag with the date of change so that I can track these changes over time.

Peter Cook
04 September 2009, 11:14 PM
Probably like many of you, I have an awful lot of sources containing informants' email addresses, often the only contact I have for them. On this topic, I am in agreement with the Guru (Elizabeth Shown Mills : "Evidence Explained" 3.42) that e-mail addresses should be treated the same as snail mail addresses - kept private.
My method for addresses uses either the E-mail address field or the Location of Source field with this format "Withheld", State/County, Country; and the actual address appears in the Free-Form Text with the "Exclude from Endnotes" box ticked.
Where the link (either address type) is broken, like Karen I note that fact - again in the Free-Form Text section.

Bob White
05 September 2009, 08:54 PM
I don't even enter email addresses or snail mail addresses into Reunion. If a cousin named Molly Jones emailed some information to me, my source is noted "Email from Molly Jones on Sept 5, 2009" and I use Address Book for all email and snail addresses. The only such addresses in my file is my own so that it will print in the corrections blurb that is printed on some reports.