How does one cite the "ever changing" ScotlandsPeople?

Dear Editor;

ScotlandsPeople seems to have changed frequently over the last 15 or more years. It comes as no surprise that the example in section 9.56 of my 3rd ed. copy of EE doesn't help to cite the current website structure.

There is no longer a, “Statutory Births 1855–2013,” collection. It has been renamed. 

To reach the relevant search page, one now needs to select Advanced Search > Statutory Registers > Births from the main URL, https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk.

Once there, the search-page title is simply, "Births".

So; would the following citation make sense?

(I assume that the page number (p. 280) or entry number (entry no. 838) need not be included, since the entry number already forms part of the cited reference number.)

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Source List Entry

“Statutory RegistersBirths.” Database and images. ScotlandsPeoplehttp://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : 2019. 

First Reference Note

“Statutory RegistersBirths,” database and images, ScotlandsPeople (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : downloaded 16 March 2003), image, birth registration, Charles Murison, born 19 November 1891, registered 9 December 1891, District of Plantation, County of Lanark; citing Statutory Birth Registers no. 646/1 838

Subsequent Note

“Statutory RegistersBirths,” ScotlandsPeople, image, birth registration, Charles Murison, born 19 November 1891, registered 9 December 1891, Plantation, Lanark. 

 

Submitted byHistory-Hunteron Sun, 05/05/2019 - 08:14

Addendum:

1) I would have tried a "trail of breadcrumbs" style of citation for this site, but read in one of the posts that it was not recommended . That said; would the new site structure now make it a viable option?

2) I'm not sure that using quotation marks around the collection would be correct in this case, since it is not a literal cut an paste.

3) I used the "dash" notation in naming the collection, but something tells me a colon might be more appropriate. The "births" are something like a subsection of a chapter in a book.

Submitted byEEon Sun, 05/05/2019 - 09:39

History-Hunter, EE maintains a subscription with many different record providers for its own research needs, but ScotlandsPeople is not currently one of them. With regard to the three issues you raise in your second message:

1. When a site's database is structured so that we access material through a series of menu choices, rather than just querying a database for a name, then the "path" approach is usually necessary. (EE 10.6, 10.35, 10.39, and discussion at 11.33, for example)

2. Quotation marks are used around any three words that we copy exactly from another source (EE 2.6). Normally, we do not put collection names in quotation marks. When a titled manuscript is in a collection, we put quotation marks around the title of the manuscript, but we do not do that for a collection. (EE 2.22)

3. Dashes are commonly used to separate two things of equal weight or to add more emphasis to something we want to set off. Colons are used to separate two things when the second part is subservient to the first, as with Title: Subtitle or volume:page (EE 2.63, 2.65)

Submitted byHistory-Hunteron Sun, 05/05/2019 - 19:36

Dear Editor;

Given your responses, it would appear that the citation of ScotlandsPeople would now follow a format very similar to what I've been using for Ancestry. However; it is complicated by the need to incorporate a sufficient number of search terms to minimize the resulting list. Once one has the list of results, supplying the  reference number is sufficient to display the desired image.

Technically; one could use no search terms and subsequently search a very long list for the specified reference number. There is, unfortunately, no way that I can see to specify the reference number directly. If there were, crafting the citation would be far more simple.

As a result; I've come up with the following "trial" citation, as a basis for further comments.

Source List Entry

Statutory Registers: Births. Database and images. ScotlandsPeoplehttp://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : 2019. 

First Reference Note

Statutory Registers: Births, database and images, ScotlandsPeople (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : downloaded 16 March 2003) > Advanced people search > Statutory registers > Births, search terms: "Murison [surname], Charles [forename], Male [gender], 1891 [to] 1891 [year range]", ref. 646/1 838, image of birth registration for Charles Murison, born 19 November 1891, registered 9 December 1891, District of Plantation, County of Lanark. 

Subsequent Note

Statutory Registers: Births, ScotlandsPeople, image, birth registration, Charles Murison, born 19 November 1891, registered 9 December 1891, Plantation, Lanark. 

Submitted byEEon Mon, 05/06/2019 - 10:31

Thanks, History-Hunter, for supplying a helpful example to use for ScotlandsPeople's current iteration. Including the search terms is a necessary strategy in many cases. One question: is there a reason why you left off the quotation marks around the database title?

Submitted byHistory-Hunteron Mon, 05/06/2019 - 14:32

Dear Editor;

I will add the quotation marks back in.

One of your previous statements (see below) led me to believe that the collection name should not be quoted. However; I really wasn't sure what your intent was, since I have been using quotes around collection names (whether more than three words or not) in other examples I've posted. Could you clarify a bit?

"2. Quotation marks are used around any three words that we copy exactly from another source (EE 2.6). Normally, we do not put collection names in quotation marks. When a titled manuscript is in a collection, we put quotation marks around the title of the manuscript, but we do not do that for a collection. (EE 2.22)".

If you wouldn't mind, for future reference, could you comment on any rules for stating multiple search terms in a citation? What I did was just my best guess based on the single search-term example I'd seen in EE 3rd ed. and the syntax sections of the same book. I'm happy to see my extrapolation skills are working.

History-Hunter, even in citations, sometimes one rule bumps up against another. Usually (as in this case), it's a situation in which a rule applies in Situation A but doesn't in Situation B because it would create confusion in Situation B. By longstanding convention when citing manuscript material, we use quotation marks around the exact title of the manuscript (when it has an exact title), but we don't use them for the collection, series, subgroup, and record group. That way, anyone reading our citation (or we a later date after our recollection has gone cold) will be able to instantly identify the manuscript as opposed to the record heirarchy in which it is filed.  For example, see EE 11.53:

   1.  “Record of Employee’s Prior Service” (Form AA-2P), filed 3 March 1941, Leonard Ray Anderson pension file, Social Security no. 702078940, 1941; Records of the Railroad Retirement Board, 1934–, National Archives Record Group 184; RRB–Congressional Inquiry Section, Chicago, Illinois.

If we used quotation marks around every element in this archival heirarchy,  we'd have this:

 1. “Record of Employee’s Prior Service” (Form AA-2P), filed 3 March 1941, "Leonard Ray Anderson" pension file, "Social Security no. 702078940"1941; "Records of the Railroad Retirement Board, 1934–," "National Archives Record Group 184": "RRB–Congressional Inquiry Section," Chicago, Illinois.

That plethora of quotation marks would not make the entry clearer--which is why, a hundred or more years ago--some unnamed individuals decided that document titles would carry quotation marks, but the units of the filing system would not.

 

Re writing rules for the use of search terms, that's a quagmire EE has decided not to wade into. We're not convinced rules are needed for that in a citation or that they would create a positive benefit.

Dear Editor;

I think I see how to attack search terms. If I put double quotes around the whole search term expression and single quotes around the explicit search terms themselves, it seems to make sense. I believe I’ve seen something about this in the EE book.

Submitted byHistory-Hunteron Thu, 05/09/2019 - 16:01

Dear Editor;

I have updated the citation to correct the quotations and also to utilize the search criteria that the site conveniently prints out for the user. This will make it easier for others to use as an example.

Due to the site having been restructured since 2003, I've also added a note to explain that the image access instructions reflect the current method (rather than show the less than useful original instructions). As part of the restructuring, the website owners did not carry forward previously purchased record access permissions. This meant that I was not able to re-download the same image, just to update the download date.

Source List Entry

“Statutory Registers: Births.” Database and images. ScotlandsPeoplehttp://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : 2003. 

First Reference Note

“Statutory Registers: Births,” database and images, ScotlandsPeople (http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : downloaded 9 March 2003) > Advanced people search > Statutory registers > Births, search terms: “Surname: 'Murison', Surname Option: 'Exact', Forename: 'Charles', Forename Option: 'Exact', Gender: 'M', From_year: '1891', To_year: '1891', County: 'LANARK',” ref. 646/1 838, image of birth registration for Charles Murison, born 19 November 1891, registered 9 December 1891, District of Plantation, County of Lanark. Record access instructions were updated, on 9 May 2019, from those used on the stated image download date.

Subsequent Note

“Statutory Registers: Births, ScotlandsPeople,” image, birth registration, Charles Murison, born 19 November 1891, registered 9 December 1891, Plantation, Lanark.

Submitted byRobynRon Sat, 05/11/2019 - 22:49

Dear HistoryHunter,

Here is a helpful page on the NRS website:

https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/guides/birth-death-and-marriage-records/statutory-registers-of-births-deaths-and-marriages

I am using the following structure for my ScotlandsPeople downloaded images.

National Records of Scotland, "Statutory Registers of Deaths," database with images, ScotlandsPeople  (https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/ : accessed 29 June 2018); digital image, Margaret Pryde death registration, died 14 December 1883, registered 18 December 1883, District of St George, City of Edinburgh; citing Statutory Registers no. 685/1 1278.

I decided to keep the "Statutory Registers of Deaths," as the database title (as I have way too many to go back and change) but also if you google that title, the first thing to come up is:

Image removed.

and you look at this page, it clearly states:

Today the records are available as index-linked digital images on our ScotlandsPeople website, in the ScotlandsPeople Centre and at Local Family History Centres.

 

Regards,

Robyn