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Question with respect to Changing a Master Source to a Different Source Template

I probably should post this more as a question than as a new wiki page, but here goes anyway.

I'm continuing apace with my project to convert all my sources into extremely split sources. As such, I ran into an interesting situation.

I now have several dozen obituaries that have been entered as extremely split sources. All of the extremely split obituary sources are using the built-in Free Form source template. When I need to make a new obituary source, I simply copy an existing obituary source and edit it a bit to reflect the new obituary source.I then memorize and paste the citation for the new obituary source in lots of appropriate places because an obituary typically mentions a fairly large number of people.

I'm very pleased with results. In particular, if I need to change something in an extremely split obituary source then the change is automatically applied to all its citations without having to chase down each of the citations. However, I have found myself wanting to make minor tweaks to each of my several dozen extremely split obituary footnote sentences. This is still a manual operation, and will only get worse as I add more obituary sources to my collection of extremely split sources. So I'm beginning to wish that I had created a source template for my extremely split sources. My source template would store all the data in the Master Source itself and nothing in the Source Details. With this convention in place, I could still make any needed changes just once for the Master Source and all the changes would immediately be applied to all the citations, and GEDCOM export would be compatible with third party software. But more importantly, by using a source template I could make certain minor tweaks just once to the source template, and the tweaks would be applied immediately (I think!) to all the extremely split Master Sources.

That raises two questions:

  1. Is it really true that if I had started out using my own custom source template instead of the built-in Free Form one that tweaks to the template would be applied immediately to all the Master Sources using the source template?
  2. Is there any straightforward way to convert my Free Form Master Sources for obituaries to templated Master Sources and thereby to avoid having to redo all my citations?

Thanks,
Jerry

Added 12/15/2013

I think I've managed to figure out a solution that I'm happy with, and as always Tom's comments were very helpful. I didn't really explain very well in my initial post but my ambitions are actually much more modest than creating a fully automated solution that will convert the source templates for all my extremely split obituary sources all in one go. I'm willing to convert them manually and one at a time. If I had thousands of them at this time, I might think differently, but I have exactly thirty-two of them to convert and that's really not so bad to do manually. What I'm not willing to do manually is for each of my thirty-two extremely split obituary sources to create a new Master Source with a different source template because then for each of the thirty-two I would have to go through and do the memorize and paste thing for each of the many, many citations. So my goal is not to have to redo all the citations, which is really the issue which got me into extreme splitting of sources in the first place. So here's the process.

  1. Get the new source template as "just right" as possible. I'm not so worried about the exact format of the footnote, short footnote, and bibliography sentences as I am being sure that the template collects the correct data elements. The sentence structure can be easily tweaked. The data elements are not so easy to tweak. This will be my first user defined source template, so it will have TemplateID = 10000. But whatever the TemplateID of my new template is, make note of it.
  2. From within RM, go to the existing source and make a temporary copy of the existing footnote, short footnote, and bibliography sentences - for example, in Notepad. I don't even need to save the temporary copy in a file, just in the Notepad window. The reason for making the copy is that step #4 is going to have the effect of destroying the existing footnote, short footnote, and bibliography sentences.
  3. Make note of the SourceID for the Master Source for which I'm about the change the template. This is actually much easier than doing a WHERE clause based on the name of the Master Source or anything like that.
  4. Execute the following SQL: UPDATE SourceTable SET TemplateID = 10000 WHERE SourceID = 1403; (or whatever - the 10000 is the TemplateID from step #1 and the 1403 is the SourceID from step #3).
  5. From within RM, edit the Master Source in question. Copy and paste the appropriate data elements I have saved in the Notepad window into the appropriate places in the Master Source. This is really easy to do manually, but would be hard to program in a fully automated fashion.
  6. Repeat steps #2 through #5 for each of the extremely split obituary sources.
  7. Celebrate. No citations are impacted by this process, so I'm done.

Jerry


Some relevant pages:
Source Template, A BETTER Free Form
Sources - Adventures in Extreme Splitting

Discussions

ve3meo

Inline comment: "‍Is it really true that if I had started out using my own custom source template instead of the built-in Free Form one that tweaks to the template would be applied immediately to all the Master Sources using the source template? ‍"

ve3meo 04 September 2018 01:40:30

ve3meo Dec 14, 2013

Yes, but do not change the names of any fields that have been used by a source because those values will disappear.

ve3meo

Inline comment: "‍Is there any straightforward way to convert my Free Form Master Sources for obituaries to templated Master Sources and thereby to avoid having to redo all my citations? ‍"

ve3meo 04 September 2018 01:41:53

ve3meo Dec 14, 2013

From Free Form to !MyFreeForm3 is fairly easy as is conversion from lumped to ultimately split. But what you want probably requires high level programming, ideally with an XML interpreter and a regular pattern in your current sources. Give some examples.
ve3meo Dec 14, 2013

I had a second thought this morning and it is reinforced by you saying you did not want an automated solution. It's along the lines of your procedure but with a major difference - no need to copy the footnote sentences to Notepad because it's all done within RM. Basically it's the same principle I used for conversion to !MyFreeForm3 but with an added switch. The new Footnote template contains the [Footnote] field in a switch that outputs it if non-empty; when [Footnote] is empty, it outputs all the other new fields and their bridging phrases and punctuation. A complementary approach would output the latter when any of the new fields is non-empty, rather than depending on the [Footnote] field, which would probably be better, allowing the original footnote sentence to remain intact in its field to be compared against the evolving new footnote sentence as the new fields are filled.
ve3meo Dec 14, 2013

Similarly, you would construct in the new template a switch around the [ShortFootnote] field in the Short Footnote sentence template; the Bibliography sentences template would have a switch around [Bibliography]. I assume you do not use [Page] at all, but, if you do, then it must be in the same part of the switch as [Footnote] or [ShortFootnote].
ve3meo Dec 14, 2013

Using the template Obituary/Newspaper item converted to ultimate split, I added the fields {Footnote], [ShortFootnote], [Bibliography] and [Page], the latter as a Source Detail as that's what it is in Free Form. I revised the sentence templates to:
Footnote: <[ItemID], <i>[Newspaper]</i>< /[[TranslatedName]/]>, [PubPlace], [Date]<, [Details]><. [Annotation]>.|[Footnote], [Page].>
Short Footnote: <<i>[Newspaper]</i>, [Date].|[ShortFootnote], [Page].>
Bibliography: <<i>[Newspaper].</i> [PubPlace], [Date].|[Bibliography].>
i.e., just the original sentence template in each case with the addition of a switch to output the original Free Form fields. That would be your step #1,
I skip to your step #4 and then iterate #5 for each master source working entirely within the Edit Source window, copying elements from the original Footnote sentence into the appropriate fields until the new sentence looks right. At all times the original FF values are always available to compare against the developing sentences.

There could be another step - conversion of Free Form sources to Ultimate Split with a corresponding change in the new template, or that conversion could be done after the FF-to-template conversion
thejerrybryan Dec 14, 2013

The approach of adding [Footnote], [ShortFootnote], [Bibliography] and [Page] to the source template looks really promising to avoid all the nonsense with Notebad. I'll give it a try before proceeding further. It may be tomorrow night before I get a chance to look at it. My newest grandson (three months old) is "helping" me decorate my Christmas tree tonight.
ve3meo Dec 14, 2013

Wonderful! I may be doing the same thing with my first grand child at 9 mos, next Christmas.
ve3meo Dec 14, 2013

Stimulated by this discussion, I have just conceived a solution to my wish for the ability to use templates to help in the drafting of Free Form sources and the same solution can be used in the opposite direction. It is based on having both the set of template fields and the set of Free Form-like fields in the template as above but with the addition of a non-printing field [ForceFF] acting as a control over which set is output. The revised sentence templates for this example are:
Footnote: <? [ForceFF]|[Footnote], [Page].|<[ItemID], <i>[Newspaper]</i>< /[[TranslatedName]/]>, [PubPlace], [Date]<, [Details]><. [Annotation]>.|[Footnote], [Page].>>

Short Footnote: <? [ForceFF]|[ShortFootnote], [Page].|<<i>[Newspaper]</i>, [Date].|[ShortFootnote], [Page].>>

Bibliography: <? [ForceFF]|[Bibliography].|<<i>[Newspaper].</i> [PubPlace], [Date].|[Bibliography].>>

If the ForceFF field is empty, then the sentences come from the template fields, if none are empty, else from the FF-like fields. If the ForceFF field has a value in it, the sentences come from the FF-like fields.
thejerrybryan Dec 14, 2013

I'm basically now to the point of following Tom's suggested model, and I'm having great success. I added [Footnote], [ShortFootnote], and [Bibliography] to my obituary source template, and converted all my extremely split obituary sources to use the new template. The data is all there. Tom is correct that I don't use [Page], but I don't know how I would get at it anyway since I'm only dealing with the SourceTable and [Page] is in the CitationTable. In any case, with this approach my existing footnote, short footnote, and bibliography sentences show up just fine and the nonsense with Notepad is not required.

And like Tom, I've come to realize the great value of having data elements that are collected on the "input" side of the source template but which might never appear on the "output" side of of the source template (which is to say, in any of the footnote, short footnote, or bibliography sentences). For example (and as Tom says), such data may be able to serve as switches. Or right now while I'm fine tuning my obituary source template, I can quickly switch back and forth between an output sentence consisting just of one data element such as [Footnote] on the one hand, or else consisting of multiple data elements such as [DeceasedName], [Newspaper], [NewspaperDate] etc. on the other hand.

There are many problems with RM's implementation of source templates, and one key problem is just that there are so many of them and users can't figure out which one to use. For example, some of the simplest source templates surely have to be the ones for books, but why do there have to be seven different such templates and how is a user to figure out which one of the seven to use? I think they could all be combined into one. For example, one issue is that in the bibliography sentence the author must be listed last name first for proper alphabetic order, except for when the author is something like the Podunk County Genealogical Society. So there are two separate source templates for these two cases. It seems much better to me to have only one source template and to differentiate these cases with switches.
ve3meo Dec 14, 2013

I ran with the combining of Free Form into templates and developed a batch query on the page Source Templates - Versatile Free Form Hybrids. One potential problem with the idea of combining variants of a template into one is that the Edit Source window precludes access to the bottom of the list if there are more than a certain number of fields.

Inline comments

ve3meo

Comment: Yes, but do not change the names of a...

ve3meo 15 December 2013 03:22:51

Yes, but do not change the names of any fields that have been used by a source because those values will disappear.

ve3meo

Comment: From Free Form to !MyFreeForm3 is fai...

ve3meo 15 December 2013 03:22:51

From Free Form to !MyFreeForm3 is fairly easy as is conversion from lumped to ultimately split. But what you want probably requires high level programming, ideally with an XML interpreter and a regular pattern in your current sources. Give some examples.

ve3meo
ve3meo 15 December 2013 16:55:07

I had a second thought this morning and it is reinforced by you saying you did not want an automated solution. It's along the lines of your procedure but with a major difference - no need to copy the footnote sentences to Notepad because it's all done within RM. Basically it's the same principle I used for conversion to !MyFreeForm3 but with an added switch. The new Footnote template contains the [Footnote] field in a switch that outputs it if non-empty; when [Footnote] is empty, it outputs all the other new fields and their bridging phrases and punctuation. A complementary approach would output the latter when any of the new fields is non-empty, rather than depending on the [Footnote] field, which would probably be better, allowing the original footnote sentence to remain intact in its field to be compared against the evolving new footnote sentence as the new fields are filled.

ve3meo
ve3meo 15 December 2013 17:17:11

Similarly, you would construct in the new template a switch around the [ShortFootnote] field in the Short Footnote sentence template; the Bibliography sentences template would have a switch around [Bibliography]. I assume you do not use [Page] at all, but, if you do, then it must be in the same part of the switch as [Footnote] or [ShortFootnote].

ve3meo
ve3meo 15 December 2013 22:05:38

Using the template Obituary/Newspaper item converted to ultimate split, I added the fields {Footnote], [ShortFootnote], [Bibliography] and [Page], the latter as a Source Detail as that's what it is in Free Form. I revised the sentence templates to:
Footnote: <[ItemID], <i>[Newspaper]</i>< /[[TranslatedName]/]>, [PubPlace], [Date]<, [Details]><. [Annotation]>.|[Footnote], [Page].>
Short Footnote: <<i>[Newspaper]</i>, [Date].|[ShortFootnote], [Page].>
Bibliography: <<i>[Newspaper].</i> [PubPlace], [Date].|[Bibliography].>
i.e., just the original sentence template in each case with the addition of a switch to output the original Free Form fields. That would be your step #1,
I skip to your step #4 and then iterate #5 for each master source working entirely within the Edit Source window, copying elements from the original Footnote sentence into the appropriate fields until the new sentence looks right. At all times the original FF values are always available to compare against the developing sentences.

There could be another step - conversion of Free Form sources to Ultimate Split with a corresponding change in the new template, or that conversion could be done after the FF-to-template conversion

thejerrybryan
thejerrybryan 15 December 2013 22:37:37

The approach of adding [Footnote], [ShortFootnote], [Bibliography] and [Page] to the source template looks really promising to avoid all the nonsense with Notebad. I'll give it a try before proceeding further. It may be tomorrow night before I get a chance to look at it. My newest grandson (three months old) is "helping" me decorate my Christmas tree tonight.

ve3meo
ve3meo 16 December 2013 04:09:56

Wonderful! I may be doing the same thing with my first grand child at 9 mos, next Christmas.

ve3meo
ve3meo 16 December 2013 15:14:53

Stimulated by this discussion, I have just conceived a solution to my wish for the ability to use templates to help in the drafting of Free Form sources and the same solution can be used in the opposite direction. It is based on having both the set of template fields and the set of Free Form-like fields in the template as above but with the addition of a non-printing field [ForceFF] acting as a control over which set is output. The revised sentence templates for this example are:
Footnote: <? [ForceFF]|[Footnote], [Page].|<[ItemID], <i>[Newspaper]</i>< /[[TranslatedName]/]>, [PubPlace], [Date]<, [Details]><. [Annotation]>.|[Footnote], [Page].>>

Short Footnote: <? [ForceFF]|[ShortFootnote], [Page].|<<i>[Newspaper]</i>, [Date].|[ShortFootnote], [Page].>>

Bibliography: <? [ForceFF]|[Bibliography].|<<i>[Newspaper].</i> [PubPlace], [Date].|[Bibliography].>>

If the ForceFF field is empty, then the sentences come from the template fields, if none are empty, else from the FF-like fields. If the ForceFF field has a value in it, the sentences come from the FF-like fields.

thejerrybryan
thejerrybryan 16 December 2013 16:12:41

I'm basically now to the point of following Tom's suggested model, and I'm having great success. I added [Footnote], [ShortFootnote], and [Bibliography] to my obituary source template, and converted all my extremely split obituary sources to use the new template. The data is all there. Tom is correct that I don't use [Page], but I don't know how I would get at it anyway since I'm only dealing with the SourceTable and [Page] is in the CitationTable. In any case, with this approach my existing footnote, short footnote, and bibliography sentences show up just fine and the nonsense with Notepad is not required.

And like Tom, I've come to realize the great value of having data elements that are collected on the "input" side of the source template but which might never appear on the "output" side of of the source template (which is to say, in any of the footnote, short footnote, or bibliography sentences). For example (and as Tom says), such data may be able to serve as switches. Or right now while I'm fine tuning my obituary source template, I can quickly switch back and forth between an output sentence consisting just of one data element such as [Footnote] on the one hand, or else consisting of multiple data elements such as [DeceasedName], [Newspaper], [NewspaperDate] etc. on the other hand.

There are many problems with RM's implementation of source templates, and one key problem is just that there are so many of them and users can't figure out which one to use. For example, some of the simplest source templates surely have to be the ones for books, but why do there have to be seven different such templates and how is a user to figure out which one of the seven to use? I think they could all be combined into one. For example, one issue is that in the bibliography sentence the author must be listed last name first for proper alphabetic order, except for when the author is something like the Podunk County Genealogical Society. So there are two separate source templates for these two cases. It seems much better to me to have only one source template and to differentiate these cases with switches.

ve3meo
ve3meo 17 December 2013 19:09:36

I ran with the combining of Free Form into templates and developed a batch query on the page Source Templates - Versatile Free Form Hybrids. One potential problem with the idea of combining variants of a template into one is that the Edit Source window precludes access to the bottom of the list if there are more than a certain number of fields.

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