Where do I type in the citation text?

I’m trying again to get a handle on citing sources and just made a template which I am filling in. I want to transcribe the text from the image into RM, but the only place to put it is in the “Master Source text, media, etc” section, where it warns that changes affect all citations using this source. The source is an Irish church baptism registry, and I don’t really want to transcribe all 173 pages of it for the Master Source, just the baptism I’m looking at. In the citation section the only fields are “Research Note”, where I’m supposed to say why the citation supports the information, and “Detail Comment”, where I’m supposed to write my comments about the citation. Why isn’t there a Citation Text field?

The Research Note actually is the Citation Text field.

In a sense, I think it’s named incorrectly when it’s called the Research Note. You could say why the citation supports the information at the end of the transcription in the Research Note AKA Citation Text. You also could say why the citation supports the information in the Detail Comment. It’s up to you.

Really, there are two note fields for the Master Source and two note fields for the Citation, and you can use any of the four notes in any way you wish. As the warning in the RM screen indicates, just be aware that everything about the Master Source including the notes is for all the citations that are connected to that Master Source.

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The Research Note actually serves a useful purpose, as described in the RM documentation:

  • Research note - Your research notes about how and why this citation answers the question(s) about the person, family, or fact the citation is attached to.

So it looks like there isn’t a real place to put in Citation Text, you just have to decide which citation field to sacrifice for it. The Source Text field for the Master Source is not helpful here, as the source is 173 pages of baptismal record images, which I’m not going to transcribe.

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In RM8 I have chosen to be rather flexible about the Research Note. For instance, in the circumstances (parish registers) you are describing I enter the names of baptismal sponsors or wedding witnesses. For another Irish source (Griffith’s Valuation) I enter details of the land holding. In other words I use to make any sort of comment on the specific entry that I have to hand.
Maybe not what Bruce et al. intended, but it works pretty well for me

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I would just reiterate that they are your citation notes and you have two of them. You can use them in whatever manner you wish, irrespective of what they are called or what the RM documentation says.

But there are not three or four citation notes. If you have more than two different purposes the notes need to serve, then one or the other or both of the notes are going to have to serve multiple purposes. My sense is that RM may have named the Citation Text note as a Research Notes in lieu of having a separate research log. In spite of that, you can use the two notes in whatever way you wish. Just don’t worry about what they are called or what the RM documentation says.

Also be aware that either or both of the citation notes can be printed as a part of your citations. If you should choose to go that route, it would certainly influence how you use the citation notes. You probably wouldn’t print casual notes to yourself from the citation notes in reports intended for distribution to other people.

As a personal example, I enter my transcriptions into RM twice - once into special fact types such as Birth Record, Marriage Record, and Death Record and once into the first citation note which RM calls the Research Note. As such, I can print the transcriptions not at all, only in the body of reports, only in the citations in the reports, or both in the body of reports and the citations of reports. This last option would make no sense, but the point is that RM gives you great flexibility. Printing my transcriptions in the body of reports is controlled by enabling and disabling fact types. Printing my transcriptions in the citations is controlled by a report option for the citations.

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You are going through valiant efforts to work around the lack of a citation text field in RM 8. For the citation I added last night I ended up just using the Detail Comment field for the record transcript and used the Research Note the way it’s intended.

Seeing how I’m not missing anything and there really isn’t a place for the citation text, I just opened a support ticket and asked for this as a feature request. It would be helpful for others to do that too.

No matter what you call the notes or how you are using them, you are asking to have three citation notes instead of two - namely Research Note, Citation Text, and Citation Comment. It would be a huge structural change to add a new column to the CitationTable in the RM database. Plus, I don’t know how the three notes would be placed into RM’s GEDCOM output to contain all three notes. So it would be a huge structural change to RM’s GEDCOM output. Therefore, I think such a change is extremely unlikely.

For whatever it’s worth, the two columns in the RM database are called ActualText and Comments, respectively. I think those names are just as indicative if not more so of the designers original intentions than the RM documentation. The two columns have become known as Research Note and Detail Comment, respectively, in the user interface. But I think the original intent was that the first note was intended for transcriptions and the second note was intended for everything else you might wish to record about the citation.

I will grant that the original intent may have been changed around a little bit. For example, there is even a report called the Research Notes report which prints the contents of the ActualText column in the database. That’s a little inconsistent, I think. But there is also a report called the Research Log report which prints the research log information from Tasks. I wonder if that’s really more what you are needing.

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Correct, I’m asking them to add a field to hold really useful information that they do not have a place for. They will obviously have to prioritize the feature request, but if no one asks they won’t do it at all.

Where does everybody else put this information?

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I enter a transcription, abstract or pertinent details from the citation (e.g. Citation Text) into the Research Note field and then add my comments, conclusions, further explanation or maybe even how the information relates to other sources/events in the Detail Comment field.
Like Jerry, I think there seems to be inconsistency in that RM has text fields labeled Source Text and Source Comment at the Master Source Level, but fields labeled Research Note and Detail Comment at the citation level. If I could “customize” the field labels, I would label them “Citation Text” and “Citation Comments”.
Anyway, my thinking is RM provided three text fields at the citation level (Research Note, Detail Comment and Detail Ref#) to use in any way that makes sense for my workflow and processes. I try not to get caught up in what RM calls them, (I have enough challenges in being consistent in what information I put in what text field :thinking:).


Rootsmagic support replied promptly and said I’m supposed to use the Research Note field, as Jerry and now Cw have said. I sent their misleading documentation back to them so I guess they will need to fix the user guide rather than the code, a much simpler task.

I do something similar. Have to admit, I prefer that in Family Historian you can have as many completely separate Notes attached to a citation as you like. Not sure if RM can be reconfigured to do this.

Rootsmagic was very helpful and added wording to the documentation indicating the the Research note field is where the transcript goes.

From Adding a Citation:

  • Research note - Your research notes about how and why this citation answers the question(s) about the person, family, or fact the citation is attached to. This can include a transcript or abstract of the record being cited.