Home > EE & GPS Support > Sources and Reference Notes - Sources and Citations in GEDCOM


Sources and Citations in GEDCOM

Moderator's Note: Suggestions for improvement welcome.
Discussion Tab Guidelines: A discussion topic has been started for each of the headings on this page; feel free to begin a discussion of your own, as well.

Page Quick Links

Summary
Inner workings of GEDCOM source methodology
GEDCOM test results




Summary

"Before you decide something is broken, it's a good idea to know how it was designed to work." -- Reading between the BetterGEDCOM lines

Data based Applications allow for the creation, application and reporting of Reference Notes and/or Source List Entries using "Citation Elements" (source information Data Fields in Applications) and "Templates" (provides for arrangement of the Citation Elements and punctuation). Some Applications allow the user to make Customized Citations, too. GEDCOM supports the transfer of only a few Data Fields, mostly generic Citation Elements such as Author, Title, Publisher, Date, etc. When Applications use comparatively larger and/or more complex source source systems vendors group Citation Elements together and assign these groups to available GEDCOM Data Fields to effect the transfer. [1] [2] This means in a GEDCOM file, data now being exported as Author is often not or not just author data, Title is no longer just title data, and so on and so forth. It becomes a manual process to untangle the data upon import.

[1] Terry's TMG Tips, "Considerations for Exporting Sources to GEDCOM 5.5 Files."
[2] Gena-Musings, Software Programs, GEDCOM Files and Source Citations.... and BetterGEDCOM discussion "Do Genealogy Template Sources Survive When Passed Through GEDCOM?"


Links



Inner workings of GEDCOM's source methodology


GEDCOM recognizes about ten Data Fields (Author, Title, Publisher, Date, etc.) by which all Citation data is exported. The Data Fields are grouped as follows


SOURCE_CITATION: Each Source_Citation relates to one or more assertions in the GEDCOM record. GEDCOM's Source_Citation points to a single Source_Record, which identifies a parent-level source. The Source_Citation record also provides Data Fields for child-level records specific to the related assertion. These mechanics recognize that sources have a one to many relationship with Reference Note citations. When the Source_Record defines a whole book, the unique Source_Citation Data Fields would typically point to a passage on a page in that book, and provide for analytical comments and "source of the source" related to the full citation. The Data Fields in GEDCOM's Source_Citation group are listed below.
  • PAGE (WHERE_IN_SOURCE)
  • TEXT (TEXT_FROM_SOURCE)
  • QUAY - See BetterGEDCOM Requirements Catalog, "Certainty Assessment (QUAY)" [link pending]
  • MULTIMEDIA_LINK - See BetterGEDCOM XXXXX [link pending]

  • SOURCE_RECORD (see below)


SOURCE_RECORD: As above, GEDCOM's Source_Records have a one to many relationship to Source_Citation records. GEDCOM defines the Source_Record data as, "a bibliographic description of the source cited.." Thus, GEDCOM assumed the details of a "parent level" source record (part of the Reference Note) to be the same as the details found in a bibliography or Source List Entry, and vice-versa. (In practice, this is often not the case.) The SOURCE_RECORD includes pointers to two other records, the SOURCE_REPOSITORY_CITATION and SOURCE_PUBLICATION_FACTS. GEDCOM's available Source_Record fields are listed below.
  • AUTH (SOURCE_ORIGINATOR)
  • TITL (SOURCE_DESCRIPTIVE_TITLE)
  • ABBR (SOURCE_FILED_BY_ENTRY)
  • TEXT (TEXT_FROM_SOURCE)

  • SOURCE_REPOSITORY_CITATION (see below)
  • SOURCE_PUBLICATION_FACTS (see below)


SOURCE_REPOSITORY_CITATION: This record holds a pointer to the REPOSITORY_RECORD and is a place holder for two other GEDCOM Data Fields:
  • REPOSITORY_RECORD (REPO)
    • NAME (NAME_OF_REPOSITORY)
    • ADDR (ADDRESS_STRUCTURE)
  • CALN (SOURCE_CALL_NUMBER)
  • MEDI (SOURCE_MEDIA_TYPE)


SOURCE_PUBLICATION_FACTS:
  • WIP



GEDCOM test results