Research over much time - citing what I used when but.....

This is probably only an issue for looooong term researchers but...

I am preparing a series of "all the descendants of" articles for publication on my blog.  I've been researching this family for 35+ years and over the years I've used (for example) courthouse deed books, then microfilms of those deed books and then digital images of those deed books. This isn't to say that I've used all those formats for each record but rather I've used courthouse deed books for some generations and individuals, then microfilm for more generations and individuals, and lately digital images for even more individuals and generations.  Because I cite what I actually examined, my citations for the same TYPE of documents vary quite a bit. I'm comfortable with that because it accurately reflects my research.

But I'm wondering if it would be a service to future readers/researchers if I went back and "updated" my research and examined the digital images for those documents where I've previously reviewed either print or microfilm?  Am I crazy? 

Submitted byEEon Sat, 04/06/2024 - 09:37

Heather, most serious researchers of history do their research over years or decades. The problem you (and we and they) face is real.

One expectation exists: Before publishing anything, we always go back and check every cited source. Not only will we find that somehow, somewhere, we made mistakes; but we also find that digital sources change their identities and their locations.  A critical part of being a responsible researcher and writer is that verification and correction of sources prior to publication.

Well, I am most definitely checking every cited source and for courthouse copies I am often checking by looking at the more easily available digital copies. And of course, you are right, errors do creep in both on my part, and occasionally I suspect on the part of various image providers.  And I guess since my eyes last landed on the digital copies that are the ones I should be citing.  Thanks for guiding and clarifying for me.