Wednesday, March 18, 2015
TO: Fellow Family Historians:
SUBJECT: Standards for the Genealogist and Author, including out of the box thinking
Standards are used to lend the aspects of credibility, integrity, and substance, and structure to the research, writing, and innovative thinking. These aspects are for the user of the service or product as well as for researcher and writer, not so much to the innovative thinker. To the researcher and writer the question has always been how much of the standard should one apply to ones work. To answer that question, the researcher and writer must accurately gauge the application the end user will ultimately use these product or products for.
For the innovative thinker, the problem of standard application is in conflict with the very nature of innovative thinking. That doesn’t preclude the use of standard in producing a product which may or may not fit into research or writing. Recipients of the innovative thinker’s work expects something that is not as clinical as mere statement of facts and conclusion; or structured prose as to the “Old English” initially bequeathed us, but a free application of work and expression that captures their interest. Consequently, the innovative thinker must cautiously and judiciously select those standards that will allow a recipient’s interest to exist and grow, while maintaining a standard of sorts that structures the flow of the work being reviewed by the recipient.
When researching and building a family line, the innovative thinker must determine how much proof is required to lend credibility, integrity and substance to the work. Likewise, when writing, the innovative thinker must determine what literary constraints and structure is applied to the storyline. If the end work is a fictional narrative based on fact, the innovative thinker must thread the facts into the imagination and write, perhaps even to use slang, but for sure making it clear whether someone is speaking, someone is being quoted, or in describing the scenes being played out in the written word to name a few. In both cases the innovative thinker cannot allow stringent application of all the standards available to apply to her or his work and maintain a new fresh approach to his or her work.
So to summarize, the use of genealogical and writing standards depends upon the final use of the end product and perhaps the purpose behind it.