Citing Riksarkivet

Trying again.  Attaching image this time of a screen grab from my genealogy software program.  

I do not know how to cite Riksarkivet.  I do not know who runs Riksarkivet, who compiles the databases, who to give the credit to, or anything.  I am only guessing when I have filled out the template that is the image I have attached.

It would be so much easier if I could just see an example of a citation for Riksarkivet.  You say you have one, but I do not see it in your most recent edition (2017).

Submitted byEEon Sat, 03/07/2020 - 21:06

Swede_dane2021, I know you're frustrated. But I can't give you a citation unless you upload a document or screen grab that shows exactly what you're using. It doesn't work to just give me the details you've extracted into your software template. That leaves me with no way of evaluating the record itself to recognize whether something critical was left out or misinterpreted when you selected details to enter into your software's template.

Let's back up a bit. It's good that you made this comment:

I do not know how to cite Riksarkivet.  I do not know who runs Riksarkivet, who compiles the databases, who to give the credit to, or anything.

When we encounter a new website, always we need to take the time to study the site itself--not just copy the item of interest. That study of the website is how we learn who created the site, whether it's an official government-agency site offering officially archived materials, or whether it’s a conglomeration of things created by various other entities. A trustworthy site will also provide much background we need to understand its records. If we don't understand the website we are using, we won't understand how to cite the source and, more importantly, we won't understand how to use the source and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.

Riksarkivet is Sweden's National Archives. The home page is here:  Do read the "about." Explore the site. Use all the link buttons to find out about the types of records that they have to offer. Read the pages that tell you how its records are organized; you need that understanding in order to adequately identify what you are using.

Regardless of the archive or website, there is no one citation model we can rotely copy without adapting it to fit what we are using. But we do have to understand the records that we use in order to make those adaptations.

Riksarkivet's materials may be accessed in various ways:

  1. at the archive itself, where we would consult manuscripts
  2. at a library such as FHL, where we would consult microfilm
  3. online, where we would consult digital images--or else database entries created by the archive to give us a few basic facts

For access methods 2 and 3, when we’re using images of the original documents rather than the originals themselves, we have two things to cite:

  • Layer 1, the document
  • Layer 2, the identity of the provider of the film or the digital images

In EE’s QuickStart Guide, on the page for “Manuscripts & Online Images,” note the Robert Coalter  example. This demonstrates the use of materials from a major archive—such as Riksarkivet—which organizes all its materials within Record Groups.  

From there, turn to Chapter 3, “Archives and Artifacts.” The start of this chapter explains how large archives organizes their material. It explains the basic pieces of information that we need to include in our citation to manuscript materials.

EE 6.57 (in the chapter on censuses) and 7.45 (in the chapter on church records) both carry examples for records archived at Riksarkivet.  EE 7.45 also discusses seven different types of church records held in Riksarkivet, to help users distinguish between them and understand the purposes for which they were created.

In both EE examples, you will note:

  • the first part of the citation (layer 1) cites the manuscript;
  • the second part (layer 2) cites the published format in which we use the record.

The two examples at 6.57 and 7.45 both cite the microfilm. You are using the website.  The adaptation is easy.

  • Layer 1: Create your citation to the document image using the model for Jarnä at EE 7.45. You will substitute the appropriate details for your document and the collection and record group, etc., in which the document is archived. The data that Riksarkivet attaches to the image will usually supply these pieces of information. Then add a semicolon to mark the end of that layer.
  • Layer 2: Instead of citing the microfilm, you’ll cite the website. Follow the basic website model in the QuickStart Guide— “Database Title,” Creator of Website, Title of Website (URL : Date).

Finally, all of the comments above are based on a presumption that you are using actual imaged documents from the website, as opposed to a database entry or “extract” that Riksarkivet created to give you a rough idea of what the document is all about.  Those are two significantly different types of material that need to be cited differently. This is one of the reasons why I say that I cannot give you a model you can simply follow in every jot and tittle if I have not seen what you are trying to cite. EE 2.1 tells us:

Citation is an art, not a science. As budding artists, we learn the principles—from color and form to shape and texture. Once we have mastered the basics, we are free to improvise. … Records and artifacts are like all else in the universe: each can be unique in its own way. Therefore, once we have learned the principles of citation, we have both an artistic license and a researcher’s responsibility to adapt those principles to fit materials that do not match any standard model.

But first, we do have to take the time to (a) understand what we are using; and (b) learn the basic principles of citation and evidence analysis. That's how we ensure that we use trustworthy sources and that we can relocate them when we need to. That's why EE was created: it provides the basic principles of citation and analysis and it offers a very basic introduction to thousands of different types of source. But, even in 892 pages, it can't give exact models for every type of document (including all the quirks of each), in every archive, every website, and every delivery format.


Submitted byswede_dane2021…on Sun, 03/08/2020 - 18:17

Thank you for your help.  As soon as I can find someone who can teach me how to create an image of what I am looking at in the format you want (jpeg), I can upload.  I cannot find anyone on the web who can tell me how to make a screen grab on a macbook air and change it to a jpeg.

Submitted byEEon Sun, 03/08/2020 - 19:42

Swede_dane2021, here at EE we do not use a Mac or MacBook. However, wikiHow's instructions for a screen grab seem simple: hold down the command key and the shift key at the same time that you type the number 3. That gives you an image in png. Our EE site uses png as well as jpg. Hope this helps.