As I have mentioned previously I am working on becoming a certified professional genealogist. Currently I am participating in a ProGen study group. This is another step in my education to become a pro.
Our group this month is working on citations. I was reading Elizabeth Shown Mills’, Evidence Explained,1 which got me thinking about some issues I deal with on my blog. I started my blog to share with family and friends what I have discovered. Sharing stories, facts and photos on my blog was pretty straightforward. When I started I was writing about what I knew starting with my grandparents and using family photos mostly from my parents albums. Then I started including more and more of what I had found doing research on my own family lines of those ancestors in those albums, distant cousins would contact me and share their stories and photo. I’m not sure if I always gave proper credit when I shared on my blog. If I failed I sincerely apologize for being remiss in giving credit or asking proper permission to use.
My blog is a digitally published “original work of authorship” with family photos.2 Here is what I have learned:
- Photo credits, tells the reader who I may have gotten the photo from. Giving my source credit is not only a courtesy but necessary. If a reader wants to evaluate the accuracy in a subjects information knowing the route the photo took to be in my procession gives the reader the information necessary to evaluate the material.
- Copyright is automatic.3 Yet I still should remind the reader that even a blog is copyright protected.
- I also have the responsibility to honor others’ copyrights. Be it a photo, information, maps and other original intellectual properties, giving credit and asking permission to use.
Using source citations and creating them for each fact that is not widely known is part of becoming a professional. I will be incorporating them into my future blogs.
1 Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained: Citing History from Artifacts to. Cyberspace, (Baltimore, Maryland, Genealogical Publishing Company, 2017), Third Edition Revised.
2 Elizabeth Show Mills, Ed., Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice, & Standards, (Baltimore, Maryland, Genealogical Publishing Company, 2018), p.153.
3 Mills, Professional Genealogy, p.152.