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Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0806317816 ISBN-10: 0806317817

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 885 pages
  • Publisher: Genealogical Pub Co (June 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806317817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806317816
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,151,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This remarkably useful book is the definitive guide for how to cite every conceivable kind of source that a historian might use, from traditional archival materials to digital media to the most arcane sources imaginable. This volume will be indispensable to every serious scholar, writer, and editor." --John Boles, Editor, JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN HISTORY

About the Author

Elizabeth Shown Mills is a historical writer with decades of research experience in public and private records of many Western nations. Published widely in academic and popular presses, Mills edited a national-level scholarly journal for sixteen years, taught for thirteen years at a National Archives-based institute on archival records and, for twenty years, has headed a university-based program in advanced research methodology. Mills knows records, loves records, and regularly shares her expertise in them with live and media audiences across three continents.

More About the Author

Elizabeth Shown Mills is an internationally acclaimed historical researcher and writer who has spent her life studying American culture and the relationships between people--emotional as well as genetic. Featured on BBC, CNN, PBS, and other networks in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, she has guest-blogged for the NEW YORK TIMES and has been widely cited as "the genealogist who has had the most influence in the post-Roots era."

Her 13 prize-winning books range from reference works such as "Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace" (Library Journal 2007 Best Reference) to the historical novel, "Isle of Canes," which chronicles a family of freed slaves across four generations, and is drawn from Mills's own research in the archives of six nations.

Her latest work is the greatly enlarged, revised edition of the Louisiana State University Press classic, THE FORGOTTEN PEOPLE: CANE RIVER'S CREOLES OF COLOR.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 26 customer reviews
The book is great and has been very helpful in my family research.
Teene of NJ
Whether you are a novice or experienced researcher, I would highly recommend this book.
B. Combs
Ms. Mills latest book is a great tool for evidence citation in genealogy research.
Keith Hunter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Adele on December 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book fulfills a long needed addition to Mills' 1997 effort Evidence! Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian. Genealogy, as a discipline, has practioners that range from the casual gedcom collector to professional and academic researchers. For the last several decades, there has been a strong movement toward standards in genealogical research, in an effort to gain credibility on par with historians and other social sciences. At 816 pages (884 total pages), reading it from cover to cover is a bit like reading a dictionary, which few of us rarely do.

Judging from the buzz on various mailing lists before the book was released, you might expect that Mills was providing merely a reference manual or citation style manual for genealogists. However, the title, Evidence Explained, hints at more. Throughout the text, Mills uses the term "historian" over the use of the term, "genealogist." This shift in terminology is perhaps in keeping with the direction that the discipline is moving. Additionally, Mills devoted the first chapter to the subject of evaluating sources and evidence contained within them, a subject that still causes confusion for many experienced family historians (i.e., genealogists).

For those of us who would rather read a novel than a style manual, I recommend reading the first two chapters in their entireity. Both chapters cover general concepts that are prominent in genealogical research and citation writing. The remaining twelve chapters deal with the various types of historical records or artifacts encountered while researching family history. Starting with Chapter 3, Mills provides the historian with a section, entitled "QuickCheck Models.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Karen M. Martin on December 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I was given the option to buy Evidence or Evidence Explained for a class I was taking. To save costs, I started with Evidence, because it was much cheaper. As the weeks turned into months, I found it lacking in citation examples I needed. I was constantly asking for help and having to wait for an answer. I finally went ahead and bought Evidence Explained and when I got it was instantly satisfied. There are examples of everything I needed for my research, including every situation I ran into. I only wish I would have bought it first. It has saved me hours of research just to make a proper citation. It is easy to locate examples for all your needs.
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Format: Hardcover
I admit it -- when a new book is announced by Elizabeth Mills, I immediately put in an advance order, without even reading any reviews. I've heard her speak at dozens of conferences and seminars, local and national, and I've read (I think) all of her published articles. My regard for her professional expertise is such that anything she cares to say, I want to hear.

Taken by the main title alone, and by the announced length of the book, I was hoping for a grand collection of the author's thoughts on the ferreting out of sources, the evaluation of evidence gleaned from them, and the knitting of that evidence into a provable case. Sort of a distillation of her forty-plus years of accumulated wisdom in an area of family research in she is arguably the leading expert. The subtitle, though, is more accurate. Only twenty-two pages at the beginning address the subject of evidence and what to do with it.

The bulk of the volume is given over to a series of topical chapters of various types of source materials -- published books and articles, unpublished manuscripts, business and institutional records, census, church, and cemetery records, local and state records produced by courts and clerks, national governmental records, and laws and court cases. Another sizable section covers handwritten and electronic correspondence, records and other materials (often ephemeral) found on the Internet, and broadcast or televised source material. Each chapter and section is preceded by a "QuickCheck" list of concise models and examples of the citation formats under discussion. (Those for electronic sources expand on Mills's "QuickSheet: Citing Online Historical Resources," a four-page laminated ready-reference tool also published by Genealogical Publishing (revised edition, 2007).
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Robert D. Logue on November 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace
This book is certainly the best source currently available to guide the genealogy researcher in documenting sources. I have been faithfully using the author's EVIDENCE! CITATION AND ANALYSIS FOR THE FAMILY HISTORIAN and QUICKSHEET CITING ONLINE HISTORICAL RESOURCES. I was surprised to see this latest and most complete publication so soon. I have found this latest publication of tremendous assistance in documenting county court records, all forms of online records, etc. If this latest book does not cover the precise source you are attempting to document, there are so many closely related sources covered that it greatly simplifies creating your own citation to meet almost all unique forms you encounter.
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Format: Hardcover
Elizabeth Mills is a historical writer with decades of research experience in public and private records, so her EVIDENCE EXPLAINED: CITING HISTORY SOURCES FROM ARTIFACTS TO CYBERSPACE discusses the various forms taken by old records, how they are translated into modern technological realms from websites to DVDs, and how they are stored and accessed. While such records and source materials offer evidence of a type - they may not be true: researchers thus need to 'consider the source' of the digital information they are relying upon, and EVIDENCE EXPLAINS offers an in-depth survey of these details and methods for evaluating record credibility and the sources of evidence conflicts. Both genealogical collections and college-level libraries strong in either library science or research need this survey.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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