Confidential Report

I recently ran a confidential report from BeenVerified in the attempts to find a relative of an adoptee. After running the report it was downloaded as a PDF so that I can hand it off to the client. I am not quite sure how to formulate the citation since no one will have access to the online version and the PDF doc will be sent for the client to keep privately.

My citation looks something like this:

"Report for Stephen M. Smith," pdf, BeenVerified ( : downloaded 24 October 2019), PDF privately held by Jack Woods.

Does this work?

Submitted byEEon Sat, 10/26/2019 - 11:13

Eventide, you've captured most of the essential elements. Without seeing the report, EE is left with a question or two and a suggestion or two.

  1. Does the report you downloaded carry the exact title that you quoted (i.e., put in quotation marks): "Report for Stephen M. Smith"?  Or is this your way of identifying the report.
  2. Given that there are many Stephen M. Smiths in the world, there would need to be some additional details to identify the search terms that you had to use in addition to his name.

Considering these two issues, EE would likely do the following:

  • Drop “Report for Stephen M. Smith” from the field it now occupies, the field for database title. As you've noted, there is no actual database by this title to which you or another researcher could go.
  • Cite directly to the website, then place the search terms after the website’s publication data is identified. I.e.,

BeenVerified ( :  24 October 2019), search for "Stephen M. Smith," [AGE, LOCALE, OTHER SEARCH TERMS USED]; PDF report privately held by Jack Woods [EMAIL ADDRESS or CITY, STATE].

EE would place the website title in italics because the site is a standalone publication. EE also suspects you know this, but we’re noting it for the benefit of our readers.

And, yes, adding that other identifying information does put us into the realm of citing information on living people, given that the website specializes in delivering data on living people. In our own private research notes, it's essential to record this data. If we share the results with someone other than our client, then we would need to alter the details similar to the way we now handle personal data of correspondents. In those brackets used above for the personal data we might say [AGE, LOCALE & OTHER PERSONAL DETAILS FOR PRIVATE USE ONLY].