Organizing Internet Sources

Organizing Internet Sources

Treat online sources no differently than you would a record you acquired from a research repository or by writing for it. The "repository" in this case is the Web, and a CD-ROM is similar to a book. Say you found a census image online. Follow the same procedure you...

  • Treat online sources no differently than you would a record you acquired from a research repository or by writing for it. The “repository” in this case is the Web, and a CD-ROM is similar to a book. Say you found a census image online. Follow the same procedure you would had you found it on microfilm: Make a printout of the page or take notes from it. Then record and file your printout or notes as you would any other document. Make sure when you cite your source that you give the URL, so you and others will know that you used an electronic version as opposed to the microfilm, and you can find it again if needed.

  • Suppose you find some cool Web sites with databases that you don’t have time to follow up on right now, but you don’t want to forget to check them later. Putting the URL in your bookmarks or favorites is fine, but will you remember next week why you added it? Print out just the first page of the site, so you have the URL and site name. Then write on the back of the page what you want to follow up on, including the surnames or families you need to check. Create a single file folder for these clues that you come across on the Internet. If your file is getting too fat, then break it down by surname or family group, according to whichever filing method you’ve chosen.

  • Not sure whether that John Hunsinger on an online database or from another source is yours or just someone with the same name? Always record these “strays,” since you never know if they might tie into your family after you’ve done more research. Create a file folder labeled “Hunsinger: Relationship Unknown,” or if you know which branch it is, but it isn’t yours, file it under “Hunsinger: Iowa branch.”

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