I have Geoff Rassmussen's Genealogy Daily calendar on my desk and I thought I'd share with you a particularly timely entry for today. It talks about the BCG Genealogical Standards Manual. It says "The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual explains the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS). It provides standards for research, teaching and genealogical development. It includes examples of reports, proof summaries, compiled lineages and compiled genealogies." You can get the BCG Standards Manual from one of the booksellers I've mentioned before, or come to a genealogy conference and get it there. Coming from a librarian background, alot of the Manual is second nature to me. But I was thinking today, for anyone who comes to genealogy from other fields, this is a good place to get grounded in what is good research and what is not.
I think as we have moved more and more onto the Internet to do research, we have to be really vigilant about our research methods and standards of proof. It is easy to get excited about a new find on the Internet and relax our standards. But we have to remember that the Internet is not throttled by the complexities of publishing and sometimes that makes for bad quality of information. The ease of publishing on the Internet also makes it easier for a wrong fact to perpetuate itself faster (think Internet hoaxes). I've been working on my lecture "Best Research Practices" and it just seems like that subject gets more and more important every day because the speed of information gets faster and faster.
This technology tip from November 14th in the calendar sums it up nicely. "Always have a sense of skepticism with information on the Internet. Remember that even though hundreds of websites may provide the same information, they may all be citing the same inaccurate source. Always consult the original." Well said.