Mills 550 - _Evidence Explained_ and related field descriptions

Links to Related BetterGEDCOM wiki pages:
BetterGEDCOM data support for _Evidence Explained_ and the Genealogical Proof Standard
Mills 20 Basic Elements from Evidence! 1997
Yates 2010 Parametrizations of 'Evidence Style <<not yet set up

_Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace_ (2007) opens with chapters ("Fundamentals of Evidence Analysis," and "Fundamentals of Citations"). In the closing to her first chapter, Mills writes, "As researchers, we should continue to evaluate the credibility of every source against new evidence. To do that, our research notes must do more than merely name a source and cite its location. Our notes should also describe the source in sufficient detail that we, at any future point, can reconsider our evaluation. As writers, we owe our readers that same description, so that they can better assess the soundness of our judgment. ... The citation principles and models presented in the chapters that follow are crafted around these three essentials: evaluation, identification, and description." [p. 38]

_Evidence Explained_ chapters 3-14 are organized by the resource type (general nature of the source). [TOC]

Archives and Artifacts
Business & Institutional Records
Cemetery Records
Census Records
Church Records
Local & State Records: Courts & Governance
Local & State Records: Licenses, Registrations, Rolls & Vital Records
Local & State Records: Property & Probates
National Government Records
Publications: Books, CDs, Maps, Leaflets & Videos
Publications: Legal Works & Government Documents
Publications: Periodicals, Broadcasts & Web Miscellanea

In the forward, Mills writes, "[_Evidence Explained_ ...] provides citation models for most source types of history, especially original materials not covered by classic citation guides." There are numerous examples in the text, mostly providing all three forms of citations--"Full Reference Note," "Subsequent Note" and "Source List Entry." [For discussion of those forms, see p. 43, therein.]

Some of the examples in _Evidence Explained_ provide information specific to a type of record, while others are about more general concepts. [Personal Observation] Each of those twelve chapters opens with a chapter-specific index, "Guidelines and Examples." Mills has a special subset of examples, "QuickCheck Models" (Models), that follow the chapter-specific index. In the Models, Mills includes a sort of field description for the various parts of each entry. Mills' "field descriptions" were written for users working with particular documents, not data managers; most have a particular meaning in the context of the subject record/record category or concept. For example, a field "date" in the context of the example in the Model is sometimes obviously the same thing as an "Access Date" in another example, but is not the same as "Date" in another Model showing an example of correspondence.

There are apparently 170 different Models in the 2007 edition.* As well, Mills has authored a series of short publications called "QuickSheet[s]." Some of the QuickSheets may contain "field descriptions," too.

QuickSheet: Citing Databases and Images (2010)
QuickSheet: Citing Online Historical Resources Evidence! Style (2007)
QuickSheet: Citing Online African-American Historical Resources Evidence!
Style (2010)

Last year, John H. Yates extended the raw "field descriptions" the Models in _Evidence Explained_ (2007) to various data field presentations. My review of that work indicates John recognized more than 550 uniquely titled elements in the some 510 templates (three forms of citation templates for 170 different Models). John H. Yates hoped his work might encourage/aid software vendors who had yet to incorporate Mills' _Evidence Explained_ citation styles. His material is available to us. See "...Parametrizations of "Evidence Style" Historical Sources," <> [February2010]." (A wiki PAGE will be set up to focus on this material, "Yates 2010 Parametrizations of 'Evidence Style.'")

In developing his materials, John didn't set out to clarify the field names found in the templates. In many cases, such a clarification is needed if those field descriptions are to be considered separately from the examples found in _Evidence Explained_. Such is the case in the example noted earlier--when is a date a record date, event date or access date. See John's supplemental comments, "description [29 Dec 2010]" ( as well as the section "additional notes" ( .

A worksheet has been developed for those who wish to work to clarify / normalize or "distill" the Yates field descriptions. See <<will post this when the related wiki page is set up. Close to posting it, really.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but accurately transmitting field descriptions or "elements" alone (separate from a related templates) is only part of the battle to flawlessly or seamlessly transfer citation information from user to user.


AdrianB38 2011-04-03T14:18:36-07:00
EE model 55 - Census Records for UK
I see from the John Yates spreadsheet that EE has a model for UK census records - since I should be able to understand that, is there an example that might help me understand what John Yates collected for the 3 forms?

GeneJ 2011-04-03T18:20:25-07:00
Just typed a long message about the international reference in EE and then lost it.

Will type up another. --GJ