Add title to Citations?

It’s a little tricky to search for Citations because they don’t have a title.

An example: I’ve got a 1940 census record for a family that’s needed for a person I’m editing. I don’t have the the citation on my clipboard, so I need to go grab it. If I search for it, I can find it using the Source name, but the search results don’t actually include the citation itself because it doesn’t have the search text in it. Otherwise I can just scroll until I find the Source, but that’s a bit tedious. So I do a new search with the source ID that I just discovered and that shows the citations. Now I have to decide which of the citations to that census I want, but none of the visible citation info is useful for that. What I sometimes do is put what amounts to a title in the Volume/Page, but that fails when there is an actual volume/page in that citation, and is misusing that field.

The other method I use is to go to the Citations view and find it that way and then come back to the entry I’m editing, but then I’m bouncing around windows.

I could be missing something and there’s an easier way to find citations, in which case I’d be happy to hear it.

Otherwise does it make sense to simply add a title field to the Citations?

If you create standardized Citations strings or bibliography string for your sources, it will contain the Source Name and you could add the Record of Interest in the string…

for your example, something like this:
“National Census 1940 for {Country Name}, {County}, {Place}”, RID. 222444555, Page 654344, Line 13-18, RoI: “Them Richardssons”, accessed 2020-10-02 at {link to where you found it}.


one live example for a norwegian source created in Zotero (I have not added the PoI here):

SAO, Oslo skifterett, H/Hc/Hcb/L0005: Skifteforhandlingsprotokoll, 1877-1882, s. 323b-324a . (1881). https://media.digitalarkivet.no/sk10051007301327

If you know the family that already has this citation attached to their census record, then go the family, edit the census record, and copy the citation to the clipboard.

But for a larger discussion…

Citations do have a title because a citation cannot exist without a source. So in the citation filter you can add criteria for the source and the citation in the same filter.

Search for the source by either ID or Title and then add the information about the citation. Volume/Page: state, county, locale…

Of course, the citation information needs to be consistently entered the same way for a search to work.

See also this feature request. As I commented there, even if the sorting and grouping did not change, it would be very helpful simply to display the date. Currently only the Volume/Page information is displayed.

This seems like the only reply that addresses the actual issue. Citations are not listed with adequate info to make it easy to ID them in the search windows.

@DaveSch, yes, I could go and copy the citation to the clipboard, but that’s not easier than being able to find a citation ad hoc in the first place. Plus if I try to add an existing citation to an event, I don’t get the whole filterable list, just the simpler search box.

To @StoltHD’s point, maybe I don’t understand. I don’t see how making a long Source string helps me out. For example, the 1940 US census has info on multiple families. Naming it differently doesn’t help me find the citations from that source. Also which string is this and where does it appear if I am searching for a citation?

If citations had a user-definable title, it would solve this problem. I could do something like “Patel 1930 US Census”.

I do not understand.

Within the citation view, with the combination of Source and Citation, a quick filter can be entered to find any specific citation.

Any part of the Source and/or the Volume/Page line can be entered into the Select existing Source/Citation search field to select an existing citation.

Maybe our confusion is your example. If you are looking at the image, it tells all you need to know to identify a citation from that source unless you are using a non-standard source citation method.

You keep referring to the family and the citation. The Source/Citation refers to the document. The S/C gets attached to the event which is then attached to the person or family.

Unless you enter the information like:
Source: U.S. 1940 Census
Citation: State, County, Locale District, Page Family:Patel

Other than that I do not know what else to offer.

Maybe one of the problems is in the Citation selector.

When adding an existing citation to an event, if you enter information in the search field for the Source, only those citations that also contain that search criteria will be added to the search results.

If the Source is “Book Title” and Citations “Page ##”, putting “Book Title” in the search does not allow selecting a citation for a specific Page:##.

If you enter as the search a specific “Page:##”, all citations containing Page:## will be returned along with their Source.

In the U.S. 1940 Census example, putting that into the search no citations are returned because “U.S. 1940 Census” is not a part of the underlying citations.

It’s knowing how you have configured Sources/Citations that will guide you as to which search criteria is best used in each case.

This is also why with things like census records, I give each person their own citation based upon the Line:##. If I add a new person from the same census page, it is just a new citation.

Same here, I create a new citation for any new Record of Interest or Person of Interest.
I can use the same Citation for multiple Events, i.e. when there is an occupation, a birth date and so on,

Thanks for all the replies.

Yes, I’m beginning to think it’s probably best to use the Volume/Page for much more than (or something different from) volume & page, as @StoltHD suggests, so that a search will find it. I hadn’t thought of that, as I was following the volume/page idea. It does seem a little odd to have to replicate info that’s already in the source. In bibliographic terms, I’ve been thinking of the Citation as a simple page or line number, stuff that’s added to the Source, not that replicates it. So putting all the biblio into the Citation seems like it shows the inadequacy of the model.

So, in the case of including a long reference, would it not make sense to rename that field to something like “Citation reference” or maybe add another field (as I’m suggesting with “title”)?

It occurs to me that another solution would be to improve the search box for sources/citations so that when sources are found, they always show their citations.

Just to be clear, the citation search really doesn’t work otherwise. Here’s an example scenario to show that:

I have an obituary article from a newspaper. It lists surviving family. I used it a week ago when I was entering the death data for the deceased and now and I want to use that as evidence that one of the deceased sisters was married and add that same citation to the sister’s marriage event.

I enter the new event, click to add an existing citation, and now the search (or filter?) options will find me things related to the volume/page of the citation or the title of the source, or the ID or last change. Goodness knows I can’t remember what page the story was on, so I can’t actually find the citation directly. If I go to the source by scrolling, I’ve got dozens of citations for it and I can’t see from the visible info which one is the correct one. So I close the event and go find the citations in the citations window, which has better search/filter capabilities.

Again, to be repetitive, the solution is to make identifiable info visible for citations in the citation search/filter. Suggested solutions so far:

  1. Put much more complete info into Volume/Page in the citation. (I’d add that changing the name of this field would then make sense.) (If this is a best practice, perhaps it could go into the wiki?)
  2. Create a new field explicitly for such info. (I started this by suggesting it be “Title”, but whatever works.)
  3. Have all citations show up when Sources are found in the dialog instead of only showing the citations that match the search.

I can agree that the Field Name should/could have a different name…

In the beginning when I used Gramps, I did the same thing as you, until I started to use Zotero to collect and store all my sources, then I started to read about Citations and Bibliography, or Source References as you might think about them as…
I started to see how researchers and scientists cited their sources… i.e. ("Edison), 1934, p.34-45) in the text and had full bibliography as End Notes…
I then started to look at what I could do in Gramps to both get unified Sources, and readable Citations…
So I started to use full Bibliography strings with page numbers and record numbers in the page/volume field, it was just after that I experienced the difference in the search and filter result, I didn’t even think about it, for me the Citations was just a necessary connection between any object and a source in Gramps…
Today I know it’s way more than that…

I also add a Note with the full citation string to the citation where it is given on a site, i.e. Familysearch, for the Source I add the bibliography information, without the details…

One way to solve this would be to do it the same way as done when creating titles for a place…
Add the source name to the Citation in a readable string… i.e. your “title”.

I have learned the hard way that it’s better with a little redundancy, than not be able to find something back in a year or two…

So, in your example with the newpaper (its a great example)…
I would do something like this.

Source

  • Newspapers Name and all information about it

Citation

  • “Newspaper Name”, Date, Page, Section

nothing more, and I would use it for all the information I found.
If I have a lot of articles from the same Newspaper, it might be I split the sources to multiple “vintages”
i.e.
Source

  • Newpaper 1930
  • Newpaper 1931

and so on…

I really wish for the same hierarchy for sources and events as there are for places… But I would still do my full, somehow redundant Citation String, to follow the standards in the rest of the “researcher world”…
For me its less work now, because Zotero generate the strings for me as long as I do the job of adding the information I need in Zotero.

If you would like to generate citation strings for single sources, you can use this site for it (this string is generated by that webpage):
ZoteroBib . https://zbib.org/. Accessed 4 Oct. 2020.

You tell nowhere in citation title what the citation is about? i.e. person’s name in census or x & y marriage record from that register.

Thanks, that’s interesting.

What are your corresponding Zotero citations looks like (regarding these Gramps citations)?

I’m a big Zotero user, so no worries there. :slight_smile:

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You tell nowhere in citation title what the citation is about? i.e. person’s name in census or x & y marriage record from that register.

Interesting that you call it the title!

One issue here is that it isn’t always possible to know what the citation will have, as in that newspaper example of mine. The obituary is of John Doe, but it includes the fact that he has grandchild Maria Romano. What name is going to help me find that? (I could come up with one, but the point is that it’s not obvious.)

@John

My sources and citations looks like that:


or that, a simple marriage citation:

But sometimes like this I want to detail parts of source record:

Above, these are citations of a french marriage certificate. I’ve separated it in multiple citations, to disociate confidence level between marriage record itself wich is formal, from witnesses names and their occupations which are declaratives, and another thing; in margin there is a divorce statement for which I want a separate citation too.

As you can see, I’ve make two parts in citation title separated by a pipe sign. I repeat marriage certificate information at the begining of each citation, the pipe sign, then I write what part of marriage record I cite thru that citation (divorce, groom’s father identity, …).

This is the divorce event where the divorce citation is used:


Finding citation, searching for divorce keyword, is pretty easy:

In your newspaper case, I’ll use 1 source and 2 citations (one by fact) labeled like this as their title (volume/page information):

  • Source: Newspaper xyz
  • Citation: John Doe Orbituary | John Doe: Orbituary
  • Citation: John Doe Orbituary | Maria Romano: John Doe’s grandchild cited in John Doe Orbituary

Finding “John Doe Obituary” using citations search windows would be easy, then selecting one citation or the other to associate it to the event you are editing should be easy too.

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Yep, much of the same…
And I got some new tips :slight_smile:

I do the the same for secondary information from a source if I need to set different attributes…

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Another tip, if your source is the last you’ve created, double click on last modification column title in the citations search window you’ll get your source displayed first in list and, after deploying/opening it, you’ll see your last citation as first displayed citation in that source

Thanks. In my example (and often in practice) this isn’t the case, so this method won’t work, but it’s a good one to keep in mind.

I have to say that I do not like this practice. It’s the same article, so the same citation. Splitting into two citations is misleading.

By the way I’m confused a bit about the “fact” distinction here. The newspaper article is making several claims, one of which is the death of John Doe, and the other of which is his relationship to Maria Romano. What’s the distinction you’re making? (Technically it’s making even more claims: that he had a granddaughter; that her name was Maria Romano; that she is still alive; etc etc.)