Copying a Citation Redux

I am cross posting this message to the RM Facebook group and to the RM Online Community.

I continue to work with RM8’s workflows for adding sources and citations in search of a way I can use them effectively. I just made an interesting discovery. There are two ways ways in RM8 to copy an existing citation. That is not a new discovery. Rather the new discovery is that the two ways are not quite equivalent.

One way to copy an existing citation is to go into the Sources tab, select a source, and slide its list of citations into place. Having done so, you can highlight a citation and then THREE DOTS and Copy Selected Citation. The other way to copy an existing citation is to Memorize the existing citation and to Paste/Copy it.

The main difference I have noticed between these two ways of doing a copy is that from the Sources tab, the newly copied citation does not include any media files tagged to the original citation or any Webtags associated with the original citation. Everything else is copied, but the copy is not a complete copy because of the two items that are not copied. Also, the string " (Copy)" without the quotes is appended to the citation name. With Memorize and Paste/Copy, the newly pasted citation does include any media files tagged to the original citation and any Webtags associated with the original citation. In other words, the copy is a complete copy and the citation name is not changed in the copy.

If you are going to copy an existing citation for the purpose of changing it a little bit to make a new citation, then it makes sense not to include any media files tagged to the original citation or any Webtags associated with the original citation. Instead, it makes sense that you will be adding new media files and/ or new Webtags to the newly copied citation. That means it makes sense to do a copy for this purpose from the Sources tab rather than with Memorize and Paste/Copy.

That makes me wonder what the purpose of Memorize followed by Paste/Copy really is. It has the practical effect of making Memorize and Paste of citations work exactly like citations did in RM7 where maintaining media files and Web tags through the Paste operation is essential.

But the whole point of RM8’s reusable citations is not to work exactly like citations did in RM7 but to work in a better way. The only reason I would ever copy a citation in RM8 would be to make a new citation that I could change a little bit to make a new citation. That in turn means that I would never ever do a Memorize followed by a Paste/Copy. Instead, I would always use Paste/Reuse. Therefore, the only way I would ever copy a citation would be from the Sources tab. So what is Paste/Copy for unless it is to allow RM8’s Memorize and Paste for citations to work just like RM7?

It doesn’t affect the thrust of my observations and questions about copying citations under the Sources tab not working exactly the same way as Paste/Copy for citations. But there is another field that’s of interest when you are copying a citation in RM8. Namely, you can’t even see the quality indicators under the Sources tab, and neither Paste/Copy nor Paste/Reuse copies the quality indicators. Rather, either form of Paste sets the quality indicators all to unknown. That is as it should be and it can’t work any other way. The reason is that with the RM8 design, the quality indicators are not associated with a citation. Rather the quality indicators are associated with a use of a citation. For example, a the birth place of the infant on a birth certificate is of higher quality than are the birth places for the parents. The same citation is likely to be pasted to the Birth fact for the infant and also to the Birth fact for both parents and needs different quality indicators each place it is pasted.

Kudos for identifying the 2 different behaviors. I suspect that this is something the RM team will want to normalize because even describing the issue confuses folks. I can see use cases for Paste/copy both including and not including weblinks and media. In which case, perhaps the ideal solution would be a bit of workflow added to the citation copy task that asks whether you want to include media and weblinks to the new “pasted” citation.

Folks on RM’s Facebook group criticized the original message in this thread for being confusing. It’s hard to disagree. So I decided to create this message as a do-over. I have also decided not to replace the original message with the do-over, but rather to leave both messages in place. Otherwise, the criticisms of the original message don’t make much sense.

I have investigated the exact details of how copying a citation in RM8 works. I did so because I frequently copy citations. In particular, I copy citations as a way to start a new citation. It’s usually easier to copy an existing citation and change it a little to make a new citation than it is to start a new citation from scratch. If you always start your citations from scratch, then this message likely will be of little interest to you.

It’s also the case that I have a media file linked to every citation and I start a new citation by first linking a new media file into RM. If I have a new media file, I make a new citation. If you don’t have a media file linked to every citation, then this message likely will be of little interest to you.

There are two ways to copy a citation in RM8. One way is to go into the Sources tab, select a source, and slide its list of citations into place. Having done so, you can highlight a citation and then THREE DOTS and Copy Selected Citation. The other way to copy an existing citation is to Memorize the existing citation and to Paste/Copy it.

The main difference I have noticed between these two ways of copying a citation is that from the Sources tab, the newly copied citation does not include any media files tagged to the original citation or any Webtags associated with the original citation. Everything else is copied. Also, the string " (Copy)" without the quotes is appended to the citation name. With Memorize and Paste/Copy, the newly pasted citation does include any media files tagged to the original citation and any Webtags associated with the original citation. Also, the citation name is not changed in the new copy of the citation.

I Memorize and Paste/Reuse citations any time the same citation and it’s associated media file are applicable to more than one item in RM8. This is a routine part of my workflow to enter data into RM. For example, I frequently Memorize and Paste/Reuse a citation for an obituary more than a dozen times for different family members and some of their facts. The only time I ever make an actual copy of a citation is as a way to start a new citation without needing to enter the entire new citation from scratch.

Under those circumstances, it does not make any sense to use Memorize and Paste/Copy as a way to start a new citation. That’s because the new copy will still be linked to to the old media file. I would have to delete the old media file from the newly copied citation and then add the new media file. The same would be true of any old Webtags. Instead, I use Sources and Copy Existing Citation as a way to start a new citation. That way, I only have to add the new media to the newly copied citation. I do have to change the name of the newly copied citation. But I would have to do that anyway, and the string " (Copy)" in the name of the newly copied citation helps remind me to change the name.

It doesn’t affect the thrust of my observations and questions about copying citations under the Sources tab not working exactly the same way as Paste/Copy for citations. But there is another field that’s of interest when you are copying a citation in RM8. Namely, if you use RM’s quality indicators for citations, the quality indicators are never copied no matter how you copy a citation. And they are not reused even if you Memorize and Paste/Reuse a citation. Instead, RM’s quality indicators need to be set separately for each use of a citation.

That is as it should be and it can’t work any other way. The reason is that with the RM8 design, the quality indicators are not associated with a citation. Rather the quality indicators are associated with a use of a citation. For example, the birth place of the infant on a birth certificate is of higher quality than are the birth places for the parents. The same citation is likely to be pasted to the Birth fact for the infant and also to the Birth fact for both parents and needs different quality indicators each place the citation is used.