New Source. Conversation from Facebook

Please help. After many years of doing reseach and not really knowing what I was doing have landed up with tons of paper with things written on them. Thankfully I dated these conversations and with who. I would like to know what is the best Source to select for these. I would like to date these conversations. Lots of these conversation were on facebook.
Many thanks in advance

There probably is no one best source. There are several possibilites in the source templates such as Artifact (privately held), Letters, Interview, Interview (privately held), E-mail message and probably a few others. You could also go so far as to create a custom source.

If I understand your situation correctly, I suspect I would enter most of your sources into RM with the person with whom you were communicating being the source. For example, if I were communicating with John Doe on Facebook, my source would be John Doe. If I were communicating with John Doe via email, my source would be John Doe. If I were communicating with John Doe via telephone call, my source would be John Doe. If I were communicating with John Doe face to face, my source would be John Doe. Etc.

I have a custom source template for this purpose. Here are some sample endnote sentences from my database with the name changed to John Doe in each case for privacy reasons.

Doe, John: email, 2 September 2011.
Doe John: Telephone conversation, recorded by Jerry Bryan, 28 December 2012.
Doe, John: Facebook, 12 July 2018.
Doe, John: Personal conversation, recorded by Jerry Bryan, 19 Aug 2015.
Doe, John: Text message, 1 Mar 2020.

“Recorded by” might better be stated as “Memorialized by”. I think that’s the legal term of art when you have a conversation or meeting and when you make contemporaneous notes about the conversation or meeting.

In all cases, I create a “source file” of some kind that I can link into RM as in “image file”. For example, I will usually do a screen grab from Facebook which I turn into a JPG. Well, I also capture the text from Facebook which I store in the Research Note in the citation. For telephone conversations or face to face conversations, I create a text file or Word document with a summary of the conversation and I link that file into RM. On a few rare face to face conversations someone has agreed to be recorded, although my experience is that people are intimidated and seem to clam up when they are being recorded. For email, I capture the entire email message including attachments into an EML file and the EML file becomes my “image file” in RM. (An EML file is not really a true image file). I don’t think you can do this when doing email from a Web browser, so I use an actual email client on my PC to be able to capture EML files.

The essential element to me of all this is that Facebook is not a source. Email is not a source. A telephone is not a source. A text message is not a source. Etc. The source is the person. For example, my primary source for the births of several of my grandkids has been a text message from my kids (the parents), usually accompanied by a picture from about 5 minutes after the birth. I simply forward the text message to myself as an email because that’s easier to capture into RM than is the original text from my phone. But the source is not “text message” or “email”. The source is the person who sent me the text message.

I’m really not sure what the best RM source template there is to use for this purpose. I was already using my own custom source templates, so I just created another custom source template to cover the case when the source is a person.


Thank you, Jerry. It should have been obvious that the source is the person like it’s a book that is a source, not the library (repository) or the page (citation). Now, it’s simple to give “hearsay” proper credit.

Thankyou again! You are very valuable!