Identifying copied and reused citations

How does one distinguish, after their creation, between citations that have been paste/copied and those that were paste/reused?

Any citation with a Uses count greater than 1 is reused.

1 Like

Those that have been paste/copied are different to ones that have been paste/reused which remain the same. The whole point (in my case anyway) of paste/copy is to maintain consistency, style etc. so that if you have a new citation which is basically the same as a previous one but with a different volume number, page number etc. you copy the existing one and edit it. If it is exactly the same you reuse it. As well as maintaining consistency paste/copy speeds up data entry as the Master source is memorized along with the citation which may then only require a page number to be changed. I do all my Census citations this way as I have hundreds for each census year and when I have a new one to enter there is always one that is very similar to memorize. I’m not sure why I would want to identify anything.

It is literally the case that a citation has been reused if and only if its use count is greater than 1. But I think the real question and concern is usually about identifying citations that aren’t reused and should be.

The typical place to start would be simply to run the Sources => THREE DOTS => Marge All Duplicate Citations procedure. Doing so converts un-reused citations into reused citations. The procedure works for those citations that truly are identical in every respect. But I have had citations fail to merge for something so trivial as one of the citations having an extra blank at the end of a line in a Research Note. So you may also need to do some manual merges.

The typical place to start with manual merges is with the list of citation names within a specific source. Unfortunately, the list of citation names is not sorted. But let’s assume that you can identify citations that are identical for all practical purposes. From the Citation list you can do a THREE DOTS => Merge Citations process to do the manual merge.

In my experience, I’m not just merging citations that have not been reused at all. For example, I might have one citation that has been used 2 times and another nearly identical citation that has been used 4 times. After identifying that they need to be merged and then merging them, I will have one citation that has been used 6 times.

In any case, this search for citations that need to be merged manually is on a one source at a time basis. There is no global search procedure for such citations that need to be merged manually. I had a great many such citations needing manual merge that came into RM8 via import from RM7. That’s because I had managed to accumulate many years of many very trivial differences in otherwise identical citations in RM7. I needed to merge all such nearly duplicate citations. That was not an easy problem to solve.

On the totally other hand, you might have a citation which has been reused as indicated by its use count and for which you might wish to make a change. And you might be worried about whether your change should really apply to all those uses. If you are just correcting a typo or other error, you would simply make the correction. But if your change is more substantive than that, you might perhaps be worried about whether the change should really be made for all the uses. You can click on the use count to see where the citation has been used. But you really can’t split the reused citation into multiple un-reused citations. I don’t anticipate ever encountering that situation. I don’t think I would ever reuse or merge citations if they weren’t equally applicable to all the places where I had used them. But ever if I did encounter this problem, I’m not quite sure how I would deal with it.

RE: “That’s because I had managed to accumulate many years of many very trivial differences in otherwise identical citations in RM7.” Exactly my point on using memorize to maintain consistency and format.

RE: “But if your change is more substantive than that, you might perhaps be worried about whether the change should really be made for all the uses.” Why worry about it? Just use the memorize/copy/paste and edit it and don’t use the ‘Reuse’

RE: “But you really can’t split the reused citation into multiple un-reused citations. I don’t anticipate ever encountering that situation.” Exactly - I think you are trying to find situations that don’t exist and complicating matters here. It is really all rather simple without overthinking it.

That has to happen in an export to GEDCOM, does it not? Perhaps at the loss of template structure if both template definition and reuse are clumped under RM special features in the export settings and that is turned off to enable the split.

Otherwise, for each use, a painful copy-paste and delete the reuse.

I did use Memorize and Paste heavily for my citations in RM7. As as a source splitter I put everything into the Source field. I would then copy and paste the source notes into the citation notes so they could be printed with the citations in reports. In theory, that would maintain perfect consistency and format. But little trivial slips of the finger on the keyboard (or something!) caused a lot of invisible and trivial inconsistency in my RM7 database through the years.

In RM7, it didn’t matter because it didn’t generate in duplicate citations in reports. In RM8, it does matter because it generates huge numbers of duplicate citations in reports that you can’t get rid of with any report options.

Similarly, suppose you just think about data you enter into RM8 and don’t think about data you import from RM7. And suppose you always Memorize and Paste/Copy. You will have huge numbers of duplicate citations in reports that you can’t get rid of with any report options.

Even so, Memorize and Paste/Copy is not necessarily a bad strategy in RM8 and I have considered using it. As long as all your Paste/Copy citations are truly the same and haven’t been modified in any way, they can be merged automatically after the fact. By merging them, you essentially make them into reused citations. But if you find any typos or other errors in your Paste/Copy citations, you will have to fix each typo or other error individually just like you did in RM7. And if you don’t fix them all exactly the same, they will not merge automatically after the fact.

I just can’t emphasize enough how important it can be to get rid of those duplicate citations in reports. I can have an RM7 report with a 10 page citation list and the same report in RM8 with a 50 page citation list.

Yes, a GEDCOM export has to split the reused citations into multiple un-reused citations. Indeed, because a Drag and Drop is a GEDCOM export/import behind the scenes, if you Drag and Drop your RM8 database you will need to merge duplicate citations after the Drag and Drop.

I should have been more specific that you can’t split the reused citations within the same database. You could use a Drag and Drop to split the reused citations into a different database.

1 Like

Thankyou Tom. That makes it simple and confirms what I thought to be the case.

Thanks Terry for your response.

If returning to a citation, because one needs to change something in it, the first need is to identify whether it has been re-used or is an independent copy so that one does not inadvertently change a re-used citation thus changing all instances of it in its several uses.
If it is an independent copy the change may be safely proceeded with.
If it is known to be re-used one must first split it from is parent group to make it independent before making the needed change.
Therein lies the need for “identification”.

Thankyou Jerry for your response. My question was however as simple as it read - i.e. how to identify the two cases.

If I found a need to change one instance of a reused citation without affecting its siblings I would memorize that citation, paste it as an independent COPY then make the desired changes and remove the original from the case being dealt with.

If returning to a citation, because one needs to change something in it, the first need is to identify how many times it has been used by looking at the number in the “Used” column in the Citations listing. If the number is more than one then clicking on “Citations used” will tell you where it has been used (Person/Event). You will then need to decide whether your proposed change is relevant to all these uses or not before proceeding with the change.