Become a Better Researcher

Our research problems are unique and our genealogy software, to be useful, must be flexible enough to match our respective problems and our respective methods. The Master Genealogist is that software, but power and flexibility has a down side. The more options a program has, the more decisions the user must make. This year, the Tri-Valley TMG User Group will explore those options and make some of those personal decisions. Would you like to play along with us? Do each month's assignment, and if you like, e-mail it to us at: We'll post some of the completed assignments on this blog each month. Let's hear it for choices!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Periodic Table of (Source) Elements

Sorry, I could not resist this post title. The following is of academic interest only, but given how often the question arises, that interest is widespread. "I've just added another source element to my custom source type, but the element seems to be added randomly on the Source Definition screen's General tab. Shouldn't it be added to the first available blank field? Or shouldn't the elements be arranged in alphabetical order? Or shouldn't the elements be arranged as entered in the Source Type template? What's up with that??"

Let's take a look at the General tab in TMG's Source Definition screen.
General tab in the Source Definition screen
There are fifteen possible element fields on this screen. The first field is reserved for elements from the Title source element group. The remaining fourteen element fields can be filled by any one element from 23 source element groups. Those source element groups are added to this table in a specific order:

Short TitleSecond Location
Short SubtitlePublisher Location
Record TypeSeries
Second PersonFile Reference
DateRecord Number
Second DateFilm Number

Take a look at the TMG screenshot. If we were to add the [SHORT TITLE] element to this screen, it would not appear in the first available blank spot (the second label in the second column). It would pop into the first label spot in the first column, and all the rest would move down. If we were to add an element from the Publisher source element group, it would be inserted between our Location element and our Description element, which is defined as part of the Series source element group.

Try it! Let me know if you think I've made an error in this Periodic Table of (Source) Elements. Again, this is of academic interest only. Knowing this won't make any difference in how you use TMG.

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