Adding media to sources vs facts

Hi all,

Lets say I have a source, an email from a local authority with information from their burial database, which I’m using to support a burial fact. I have a copy of the email saved as a document file, which I can add as media. Am I supposed to add it to the fact or the source itself?

The reason I ask is because I’ve noticed if I add the media to the source, then cite the source to support a fact, the media is not associated with the fact or the person.

Is this intentional? It seems more intuitive to me to attach the media to the source, and then whenever that source is used to support a fact then the fact and the person would then have that media associated with them.


Edit: I suppose I could just tag the person, source, and fact with the same media item. Is this what people tend to do?

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Users do all of the things you mention singly or in combination according to their own needs and their understanding of how RM works. That Citation media are invisible in the Edit Person window and accessible only with several clicks drives many to also tag them to the facts for convenience. RM8 is missing the Media Album for a person that shows all the items tagged to all their facts so some may also tag them to the Person or some single fact.


What TomH said.

I would only add that for most users most of the time, if part of their workflow is to tag the media to the source, they probably need to tag the media to the citation rather than to the source. Even though in theory, the terms “source” and “citation” have different and well understood meanings, the terms nevertheless can easily become conflated.

Well, I will add one more thing. I really wish that it was easier in RM to get to media linked to citations. You have to dig really deep into the RM interface even to know that such media is there, let alone to see such media. Linking media to citations is the logical way to do it, but it sure is inconvenient in the RM user interface.


Tom, Glad you’re asking these questions. I really like seeing the answers or solutions people use. Keep it up!

Thanks all, I think I’ll tag at least the relevant source, citation and fact with the media. Maybe also the person, but I’ll see how long all of this takes. It is at least nice to be able to do all of this from the sources pane, but I feel like RM8 is missing out on the media album from RM7 to aggregate media tagged to a person. Does anyone know if this is planned?

I attach the media to the citation because that is where it really belongs, and then I add the media to each fact as I attach the citation so that the symbol shows up. This means I can see at a glance which facts I don’t have an image for.


Very well said! I also do the same thing and for the same reason.

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I’m a bit confused about how this works.

I have a scanned image of my birth certificate added as media. On the media tab, I select the media item and add a tag to the Master Source and to the citation of the Birth fact. But then when I go into my own entry in tree view, select Birth fact, then select sources in the ‘Fact Items’ panel on the right, click on the birth certificate citation, and then in Citation Details there is no media associated with it.

  1. If the media doesn’t show up here when associating it with the birth citation of the birth certificate master source, then where does it show up?

  2. In order to attach this media item to my birth fact do I have to add it directly to the fact in the person view? Is this the same as adding it to my birth event from the media tab?

  3. miningthepast: When you say “I attach the media to the citation” where exactly are you attaching it?

There are multiple questions here. Let’s deal with them one at a time.

#1 Which source templates are you using, or are you using the free from source template?

The reason I am asking is that for most users most of the time, an image of a birth certificate would be tagged to the citation and not to the Master Source. The reason is that the same Master Source might be used for citations for many different birth certificates for many different people.

#2 Are you certain that from the Media tab you actually tagged the birth certificate to both a Master Source and to a citation that’s already connected to that Master Source? And if so, where is the citation connected?

These are going to be hard questions to answer because RM8’s user interface makes it almost impossible to do so. From the user interface, RM8’s Media tab only shows you the name of the Master Source for a media item associated with citation. You can see both the Master Source name and the Citation Name only if you click on the Edit icon (the pencil). And then, it only shows you the Citation Name and not where the citation is actually used. To see that, you then have to go to the Sources tab, go to the Master Source, and then go to the Citation. If you do all that, you can probably see that you really didn’t tag the media file to where you thought you tagged it.

Thanks Jerry, I appreciate the help.

#1 I’m using the built-in ‘Vital Records (certificates, indexes, online databases)’ source template. On a related note, I’m what you would probably call a ‘splitter’ in that I prefer to create a new master source for each relevant certificate, database record, burial record, etc. Coming from academia, this is what makes sense to me regarding what sources are and how they are cited.

#2 Yes I’m sure. In the media tab, I select ‘new tag’ on the certificate > select ‘citation’ under tag type > select the birth certificate master source > then select the pre-existing citation of that source as applied to my birth fact. Then in the person tree, there is no sign of that media at all under my birth fact anywhere (and correspondingly, no icon in the media column for that fact).

If I instead choose ‘event’ under citation type and tag the certificate to my birth fact, then the media does show up with the icon and with an entry for media under the birth fact.

I agree the UI makes it uneccessarily difficult to cross-reference this information.

I’m a source splitter, too. Indeed, I’m an extreme source splitter in that I put 100% of my sourcing data into the Master Source and 0% of my sourcing data into the citation. But I do understand doing it the other way. I only became an extreme source splitter because all releases of RM prior to RM8 failed to include reusable citations. That meant that if I Memorized and Pasted a single citation 20 different times and if I found a typo or any other kind of error, I had to correct the error all 20 times. The only workaround was to become an extreme source splitter. So that’s what I did.

But I discovered two things. One was that I found dealing with a footnote sentence as an organic whole made total sense to me in a way that trying to break citations into two parts did not. I’m also an academic. Maybe that’s a common thread.

The other thing I discovered was that it suddenly made sense for my to develop my own source templates. The only other choice would have been to use the free form source template and only use the Footnote field without ever using the Page Number field. Using the free form template in that manner would have made perfect sense, and that’s actually the way I functioned for the first few weeks of being an extreme splitter. But then I realized that if I made my own source templates, I could still put all the sourcing data into the Master Source while standardizing my citations and improving their quality, so that’s what I did.

None of RM’s built-in source templates support source splitting. I don’t recognize your Vital Records (certificates, indexes, online databases) template as being one of the built-in templates. Are you sure it isn’t a copy of a built-in template that has been modified to move all the fields to the Master Source? You couldn’t be a source splitter if you were using one of the built-in templates unless you copied the template and changed it (or unless you imported it from someone else who had done the same thing).

Finally, your problem is with the media rather than with the template. The media is really handled the same way by RM irrespective of whether you are a source splitter or not and irrespective of which source templates you are using. So I want to verify that after you create a new Master Source that the Master Source has only a single citation. I also want to verify that when you Memorize and Paste the single citation that you always Paste/Reuse. As a source splitter, if you have more than one citation per Master Source, then there is a problem and the problem can come from doing a Paste/Copy. The problem is that the media file can be tagged to one of the otherwise duplicate citations but not to the others.

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Are you sure it isn’t a copy of a built-in template that has been modified to move all the fields to the Master Source?

Ah yes my apologies, I think it is a modified built-in template, but I’m not really sure if I’m using it in the same way you are describing as an ‘extreme source splitter’. I don’t think I’ve moved all the fields to the master source. But thats besides the main point anyway.

So I want to verify that after you create a new Master Source that the Master Source has only a single citation.

Yes this is correct.

I also want to verify that when you Memorize and Paste the single citation that you always Paste/Reuse.

For the purposes of my birth certificate example, I haven’t reused the citation anywhere. But I will definitely keep your point in mind regarding the differences between paste/copy and paste/reuse. Thanks.

So what I’m seeing is not intended? Perhaps I will just tag the media to the event (in addition to the master source, person, and citation) so that it appears in the person-level view.

I’m actually wondering about whether or not I need to tag the citation with a media item. A citation is a reference to a source. If the source and event are already tagged with the relevant media then isn’t it kind of redundant to tag the citation too?

Can you post a screenshot of your Edit Person screen with the citation in question showing in the right hand pane?

OK thats weird. I removed the person and event tag from the birth certificate so that it was only tagged to the master source and the birth citation (to simulate the original issue), then went back to the person view and now there is a source listed inside the ‘citation detail’ panel…

There is still no source listed in the source column next to the fact (which I assume can only be done by tagging the media to the event), but it’s weird that it suddenly shows up in the citation detail pane, as I replicated this issue several times before by removing all media tags and retagging. I suppose I’ll keep going and see if this happens again. Thansk for your help though Jerry, its very much appreciated.

Edit: Oh I understand now. Turns out there was a second citation from this source to support a ‘parent’ fact for me and I removed that before I did the other test described above. So the problem was as you said Jerry, regarding the media being tagged to only one of the citations. So this means the media will only reliably be tagged to one citation per source?

I still don’t understand. :grinning:

Let’s go back to basics. if you use RM in the manner it’s really designed to be used, you probably would never tag a media file to a source. You would only tag a media file to a citation. For example, a source might be Missouri Birth Certificate. One citation for that source might be Certificate #1234 in 1923 for Jane Smith. Another citation for that source might be Certificate #9876 in 1925 for William Jones. So you have two images. One image is the 1923 birth certificate for Jane Smith. The other image is the 1925 birth certificate for William Jones.

It would make sense to tag the image of Jane’s birth certificate to the citation for her birth certificate. It would make sense to tag the image of William’s birth certificate to the citation for his birth certificate. It wouldn’t make much sense to tag either image to the generic Missouri Birth Certificate source. Indeed, you might end up with dozens or hundreds of images of Missouri birth certificates, and it wouldn’t make much sense to tag them all to the generic source for Missouri Birth Certificate.

Another way to do it is to have one source for Missouri Birth Certificate #1234 in 1923 for Jane Smith and a different source for Missouri Birth Certificate #9876 in 1925 for William Jones. Under these circumstances, it would make perfect sense to tag images for the two birth certificates for their respective sources. And under these circumstances, you almost don’t even need a citation because the source is your citation, except that the structure of RM requires a citation. So you would have a more or less empty citation that would be linked to things like the person’s birth and the real information for the otherwise empty citation would be in the source.

That’s why I keep asking about the source template that you are using. It’s the source template that makes the decision about whether your sourcing information goes into the Source or into the Citation. The source template does not make the decision about where your media tags go, but it makes sense for the media tags to follow the data. So if your source template is putting the data into the Source, then you normally would tag the media to the source. If your source template is putting the data into the Citation, then you normally would tag the media to the Citation. I’m repeating myself now, but there would seldom be a reason to tag a media file to both the Source and to the Citation. So can you post a screenshot of the source panel from the Edit Person screen?

I just reviewed the thread and noticed that the original question had to do with tagging media to fact vs. to a source. In this case, I think “source” probably means “Citation” rather than “Source”. In any case, the answer is that tagging to a fact can make sense. Tagging to a “source” can make sense. Tagging to both can make sense. And when you tag to a “source”, whether you tag to the Source or to the Citation depends on how your source templates are set up. All of RM’s built-in source templates are set up such that tagging media files to the Citation makes much more sense than tagging to the Source.

Not to confuse this any further, but how many media tags you end up with for a particular media file can depend on whether you are doing a Paste/Copy or a Paste/Reuse when you Memorize and Paste a citation. A birth certificate might be evidence for a person’s birth, for a person’s name, and for a person’s parents. So suppose you use standard RM source templates and make a Source for birth certificates in general and make a Citation for a particular person’s birth certificate with a media tag for the image of the birth certificate. Suppose you enter that Citation on the person’s birth fact and Memorize and Paste the Citation to the person’s name and to each of the person’s parents. There will be four Citations in all, the original one and three more where you have pasted it. If you did a Paste/Copy, there will be four media tags for the birth certificate image because there will be four copies of the Citation. If you did a Paste/Reuse, there will be one media tag for the birth certificate image because there will be one copy of the Citation that will have been used four different times.



Just a brief comment to say that your wordy explanations on this area are really helping me to better understand the usage of sources, citations and associated media, and how I should go ahead with polishing up my sources/citations in RM8, and attaching associated media. I’m heading in the direction of fewer more generic sources but with many detail citations, though I can see some of the potential benefits of the extreme splitting approach. Thanks

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Yes I agree with your first three paragraphs, and I’m definitely doing things as described in the third paragraph. Although I could probably remove the ‘person of interest’ and ‘item of interest’ fields from the citations so that there is just a citation name, which could then read something like “SURNAME, Given Names; Birth Certificate” and leave it at that.

Your fourth paragraph summarises the issue well. After looking at the source templates I’ve clicked about what you were saying about which information goes into a source vs citation (i.e. the fields in a source template which are marked as going into the citation). And I agree the citation becomes redundant. This is sort of what I was getting at in the original post and later posts about why tagging media to a citation is even necessary.

I think the crux of this whole topic is summarised here:

So if your source template is putting the data into the Source, then you normally would tag the media to the source. If your source template is putting the data into the Citation, then you normally would tag the media to the Citation.

I was getting confused about miningthepast said, but now I think I understand that they would be using source templates which put the specifc source details into the citation, while leaving the more generic information in the source.

I just reviewed the thread and noticed that the original question had to do with tagging media to fact vs. to a source. In this case, I think “source” probably means “Citation” rather than “Source”.

I did mean source. The reason my distinction was between source and fact (and omitted citations) was because I didn’t see why I would tag a citation with a media file, if the citation is just a reference to a source. Basically I was wondering why the software didn’t do things in a way that made sense to ‘source splitters’ without realising the software is actually designed by default for lumpers. Hopefully that makes sense.

I now understand your final paragraph too. When using source templates to move the source information to the source and away from the citation, it makes more sense to reuse because the citation is merely a reference to a source and contains no contextual information (as all the contextual information is contained in the source fields). Again, I feel this way of doing things is a more accurate reflection of how a source and citation are related to each other. But it can get very confusing trying to understand the conventions of family history research while also trying to learn the software. Its like trying to learn statistics while also learning how to use a statistical programming language (which has also been hard!).

I want to echo John Parker’s comment and thank you again Jerry. Corresponding with you is always so enlightening. And I also want to thank you for all of your comments in the older forums, which I read extensively before purchasing the software and playing round with RM7 before upgrading to RM8 and spending more time on this recently.

Quick side question: If I modify a source template to shift a couple of fields out of the citation, will the info in those fields be preserved?

I don’t think so, not in the sense that you can see the data and include it in reports. 'Twasn’t the case in RM7. In the case of multiple citations, which one of them should supply the data to the master source when that field is moved up?

It is something that can be done with tricky SQLite statements.

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Thanks Tom. I only have one or two sources with more than citation so thats not an issue, but I do see your point about the technical side. Luckily its not really a major issue for me as I don’t yet have a prohibitively large number of sources which would make reentering the data tedious.

To expedite the process you could add new fields to the Master Source leaving the Citation fields in place. Then visit each citation and cut_paste the values from the Citation fields to the Master Source fields. Once all values have been transferred, delete the citation fields from the template.

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