Sourcing. Yes, we all know we’re supposed to do it. And yes, if we’ve been at this long enough, we’ve suffered from our own self-inflicted pains of not sourcing. The challenge for me over the many methods I’ve tried is finding a way to do it that is super quick & easy (because recording the source isn’t as fun as reading the good stuff I just found!), but still gets all of the requisite information to find the source again.
- What is sourcing? I’ll pause here for a quick primer on sourcing just in case this sourcing business is as confusing to you as it has been for me. Sourcing is all about recording the authority of the information (the source) you have and the repository (where you found it). The most common example is a book. The information found in the book is accredited to the source – the name of the book. The repository is the library, archive or relative’s house where you found the book. What do you record about your source? The best rule of thumb I’ve found is everything you’d need to know to find the source, keeping in mind that others, maybe 50 years from now, may want to chase down that source, too. So, “grandma’s attic” for the repository may be a little cryptic…if you don’t know who “grandma” is and where “her attic” is located. For the definitive authority on citations and sourcing, turn to Elizabeth Shown Mill’s book, Evidence Explained. Read more