Add Citation Screen Does Not Save Changes to Source Fields

Suppose I am in the main Sources tab, I highlight an existing source, I click the > icon to slide in the Citation screen, and I click the + icon to add a new citation. I am now in the Add Citation screen. It’s a very excellent screen and is a much easier screen to work with than are most of the other source and citation screens in RM8. It actually is a window that can be made full screen and I can pretty much see all the data I need to see all at the same time. I wish the Master Source and Master Source Text, Media, Etc. panels would just be open at this point, but at least I can open them and see them.

Now suppose I make changes to the Master Source and Master Source Text, Media, Etc. fields and click OK to commit the changes and return to the Edit Citation panel. All my changes are gone. Any changes I make in the Add Citation screen to the citation fields are kept after the OK but the changes I make to the source fields are lost.

Is this a bug or a feature? I sure hope it’s a bug and that it can be fixed. However, I fear that it may be a feature because the design may intend that the user not be able to change the source fields while making a new citation.

I thought about making a video about this issue, but maybe this text description of the problem will be adequate. I continue to find sources and citations to be extremely hard to work with in RM8. If I could make changes to the source fields from the Add Citation screen, that would make working with sources and citations much easier to work with in RM8. That’s because the Add Citation screen is an actual window instead of a sliding panel and therefore it has much more room to work with than does the Edit Citation panel. Indeed, I very much wish the Edit Citation panel could be opened as an Edit Citation window that looks just like the Add Citation window.

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Looks to me like a continuation “screen” to inform the user of what Source they will be creating a citation for, but, instead of creating a separate textual upper portion with the Source info (ie. a mere duplication) … the actual Edit Source “panel” is being re-used and that is why they are defaulting to “rolled” up. There wouldn’t seem to be any expectation to change that information, but for the fact that the re-used “panel” gives the appearance of being editable.

I fear your explanation is the logic being used by the designers. But I do have an expectation of being able change the source information in the Add Citation window. I think it’s a conceptual error not to be able to do so.

There is a simple workaround. Simply go to the Add Citation window as I described and immediately click OK without adding any data or changing anything. That puts you back into the Edit Citation panel where you can change both source and citation fields to your heart’s content and no data is lost. But the key is that you are back in panel instead of being in a window. Add Citation is a window and Edit Citation is a panel. I can’t possibly convey how much nicer I find it to be able to work in a window instead of in a panel.

Until recently, there was a different approach that made sense. Namely, I could change the source information in the Source panel before going to the Add Citation window. But a change was made to RM8 so that the footnote sentence being generated is no longer displayed in the Source panel. Therefore, I have to get to the Add Citation window or to the Edit citation panel to see the footnote being generated as I enter the source data. And as I said, I much prefer to work in a window than in a panel. And the only way to work in a window instead of a panel is to use Add Citation rather than Edit Citation.

Another complication is that RM8 requires that a source be given a name as the first thing you do with it, and I like to copy and paste text from the footnote sentence into the source name. So there is a chicken and egg problem. I’m a source splitter and I create new sources by copying existing ones. So I need the footnote sentence to exist to able to create the new source name to replace the source name I copied. I was trying to solve the chicken and egg problem of which order I do things by using the Add Citation screen to do all my work of entering a new source and citation. It all worked well until Add Citation did not save my new source information.

I’m sorry but I can’t see allowing the existing Source info to be changed within the Edit Citation screen as the solution to your problem. Instead, I see it as just another undesirable potential user interface trap where folks would inevitably unintentionally change Source(s) info already created, just because those fields were editable, and create mass change that would have them either unaware, seeking support to undo, or complaining that a window labeled Add Source shouldn’t already have existing Source info embedded.

If I cannot edit source fields from Edit Citation, then it’s essentially impossible for me to be source splitter in RM8.

I do realize that RM8’s reusable citations make it much less necessary to become a source splitter than it was in previous versions of RM. But I have over 80,000 citations that are already completely split. Such citations have to be accommodated somehow or other when I covert to RM8. I had been long planning to do a massive and SQLite assisted conversion to not being a complete source splitter after converting to RM8. But I had second thoughts after seeing a video about an easy way to do sources and citations in RM8.

The video was by the Family History Fanatics who happen to be big fans of RM. What they were doing in their video was copying citations out of Web sites such as familysearch and ancestry and pasting them directly into RM8 as completed footnotes with no division into a source part and a citation part. They advocated their procedure as an easy way to do sources and citations.

I have long thought the footnote = source + citation model is pretty obsolete, but that is inherently how GEDCOM and lots of genealogy software generate footnotes. However, the online sites seem to be moving more to model where the source is represented by an undivided footnote as the citation and by an image file. I really like that model.

The undivided footnote plus image file is the model I use, where every footnote is undivided and is stored in RM’s and GEDCOM’s source field and is accompanied by an image file. When I first started doing sources this way, I used RM’s free form template. I put the completed footnote into the footnote field, I left the page number field blank, and I attached a media file to every master source.

I quickly realized that I could accomplish the same thing and standardize my footnotes at the same time by developing source templates in RM that placed all the data in the master source. RM will export such citations by putting the entire citation in the footnote field and by leaving page number blank. That’s the same thing the Family History Fanatics video talked about and that’s more or less the same thing the online sites do. This model really transfers extremely well between different software and I find it very easy to understand and use.

Such citations can be as Evidence Explained compliant as you wish. Indeed, you can take any RM source template, make a copy of it, and change all the fields to be source fields. Doing so will not change any of your footnotes at all. If they were EE compliant before the change, they will still be EE compliant after the change.

So where does that leave me? When I go live with RM8, I’m going to remain as a source splitter, at least for the time being. I’m going to prepare all my new footnotes by copying an existing source to make a new source. The source I copy will be as similar as possible to the new source I need to make. I will go to the Add Citation window to create a new citation and immediately back out to Edit Source panel. I hate to back out, but I have to because RM will not let me update the source fields from the Add Citation widow. In the Edit Source panel I will change any necessary data to the source fields and link in the image. I will memorize the newly made citation. Only then will I go into Edit Person to paste the newly memorized citation as needed. And believe it or not, I’m actually getting pretty close to going live with RM8.

What I’m doing may sound hard or convoluted, but it’s really pretty easy. It is actually much easier to work under Source => Citation to create the new citation and its footnote in RM8 than it is to do the same task from within the Edit Person screen itself. You have fewer levels of sliding panels in Source => Citation than if you do the same thing inside of Edit Person and the process is much easier to manage.

I only wish that RM8 didn’t fight with me so much about certain source and citation issues. Those issues include not being able to update the source fields in the Add Citation window, not being able to run the Edit Citation process in a window instead of in a panel, keeping the source panels inside of Edit Citation closed instead of leaving them open after I open them, and requiring an extra click to do a paste to be able to select Paste/Reuse.