Citing Layers vs. Paths: Is It Really an Either-Or Choice?

An email forum for researchers currently carries a thread on citing long URLs vs. digital paths (aka “waypoints”).  One commenter saw an advantage: If we cite the path, then we can eliminate layered citations. 

Can we really?

Two examples below, from Evidence Explained, 3d edition revised, illustrate citing both layers and paths. In each, coloration is used to distinguish between the layers of the citation

EE 5.19 First Reference Note

     1. Genealogical Committee, LDS Church, “Cemetery Records: Yountville, Napa, California,” MS (Salt Lake City: Filmed by the Genealogical Society, 1956), unnumbered p. 2, Mary Francis Boggs (1851–1856); imaged as “California, Cemetery Transcriptions, 1850–1960,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 1 April 2015), path: Napa, Yountville > Yountville Cemetery, image 3.

EE 7.18 First Reference Note

     1. St. Liborious Church (St. Libory, Illinois), “Liber Baptismalis ab anno 1849 die 30 Murt. usque ad initium anni 1863,” unnumbered pages, unnumbered entries in chronological order, “Elisabetham Aberle” baptism, 12 November 1857; accessed as “Illinois, Diocese of Belleville, Catholic Parish Records, 1729–1956,” browsable images, FamilySearch ( : 1 April 2015), path: St. Clair County > St. Libory > St. Liborious > 1849–1862 Baptisms, First Communion, Confirmations > image 33 of 68.

Would you feel comfortable eliminating the first layer and just citing the website and the path to the image? Would you understand the source as well, from just the path citation?

HOW TO CITE: Elizabeth Shown Mills, "Citing Layers vs. Paths: Is It Really an Either–Or Choice?," blog post, QuickTips: The Blog @ Evidence Explained ( : posted 28 September 2018).