Source Citation Made Easy

One of the things that I have trouble with in my genealogy research is source citation.  Of course, I understand the importance of citing sources, and I do so to the best of my ability.  My two big problems are format and decision-making.

When it comes to format, I’m fairly comfortable with the Modern Language Association (MLA) style.  I used it the most in college and I can write an MLA source citation for print books in no time.  What I have trouble with are the oddities.  By oddities, I mean letters, photographs, microfilm, etc.  I often end up creating a sort of hodgepodge citation with what information I know others will need to look it up later.

Whenever I do research, I’m faced with either having to write down a lot of source information, making sure to note it thoroughly so I know which digital source it goes with, or making digital copies or photocopies of the title and verso pages if I can.

I then enter all of the information into my genealogy software at home.  Once in my genealogy software, it’s not easily retrievable for side projects, such as blog posts.  Maybe that’s a flaw in the software I’ve chosen or maybe it’s common to all genealogy software.  I’m not sure.  In any event, I then find myself having to look things up and write out new bibliographies for my blog posts.

A while back, I was looking for source citation apps on my phone and found a couple that I wanted to try.  I ended up really liking EasyBib.  It’s free and it is really easy to use.  At first, I just input the information for the type of source I was using and then write down whatever it generated (you can e-mail it to yourself).  Then, I realized there was a corresponding website, which made it even easier.  I started clicking the copy and pasted option and pasting it directly into my post.

Today, as I was reading the newest issue of Internet Genealogy, I came across a list of genealogy apps.  There were several listed that I am familiar with and use, but EasyBib wasn’t one of them.  In fact, there were no suggestions for source citation apps.  I decided to play around some with the website.

When you first see the website, you can choose a citation style and a source type.  The most common source types have their own tabs, but there are other options.

59 source type options

59 source type options

Once you have selected what you need, type in the book title, web address, etc. and click “Cite It” to generate a citation.

If you sign up for an account, you can create folders and projects.  One of my folders would be “Blog.”  Projects within this folder would be “Rakestraw, Francis,” “Springer, Frank,” etc.

I started this with Francis Rakestraw and added a couple of source citations to the project.

Francis Rakestraw sources

Francis Rakestraw sources

I can then check each source that I’m using, click “Export,” and select “Copy & Paste”.  It will open up a new tab with a works cited page.

Works Cited tab

Works Cited tab

EasyBib turned out to be a great solution for me, and I wanted to pass it on in case it might be useful to others too.

One thought on “Source Citation Made Easy

  1. Pingback: Recommended Reads | Empty Branches on the Family Tree

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