Recently I picked up a CD of a workshop called "Seeing the Forest AND the Trees (and Their Leaves): Mastering the Craft of Genealogical Documentation" by Dr. Thomas W. Jones.
I have to admit that I had the chance to see the presentation live when Dr. Jones came to Boston to present it to the New England Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (NEAPG). I didn't or couldn't see it at that time.
Nor did I take advantage of purchasing the CD when it first came out. I dragged my feet.
You see the topic is citations. I have a love-hate relationship with citations. I love to find them and use them when I am doing research and reading but I don't find joy in creating them myself.
I ran into Kate Lowrie, the president of NEAPG, recently and she just happened to have an extra copy of this CD on her. The time had come for me to take a step forward and watch it.
Interestingly enough, I popped the CD into my DVD player and watched on my widescreen smart tv. I'm not sure if everyone can view these on their tv but give it a try because it was a phenomenal, comfortable way to participate in the workshop.
I was blown away by this workshop! I admit that I was worried that this workshop might be a bit over my head or perhaps too academic. As one of the premier genealogists of his generation, I was a little afraid that Dr. Jones would leave me in the ether.
I couldn't have been more wrong! In this workshop Dr. Jones SHINES as an educator. The result is an appropriately paced, step by step workshop that helps the viewer build on their knowledge as they progress through the workshop. My admiration soared. He took his brilliant knowledge and blended it with his skills as a teacher and the result is a strong, helpful learning tool for all genealogists.
I had heard from the live attendees that there were a number of exercises. I admit that I was worried about whether I would be able to do those well. I shouldn't have been. Each exercise was a learning tool that built upon the previous lesson just learned. This step by step approach was gentle and empowering. Even beginning genealogists would be comfortable following along.
Yes, I could gain this information from reading a book but this was much easier for me. And hearing side explanations about certain abbreviations or why formats are done in a certain way cleared up and broadened my understanding of creating citations as a whole.
I'm not sure that I love writing citations any more but Dr. Jones' teaching has made me less fearful of them.
The Down Side
Before I glow too much I will share the two negatives I found with the CD workshop. I admit that I did not love green as a choice for the slide presentation color. And occasionally the sound got a bit wobbly (but that could have my equipment, I can't be sure). That's it. The rest was well done and effective.
I can't tell you if you need this CD or not. Everyone is at a different stage in their genealogical education. For me, it was worth the price and I will likely watch it several more times. I think it is appropriate for beginner and intermediate genealogists as well as anyone wanted a refresher on citations.
Where you can get the CD:
Author: Dr. Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D.
Format: Webinar (PowerPoint presentation with audio) on DVD
Length: 2+ hours
Handouts: 14 pages of notes and exercises
Cost: $20 for NEAPG members, $25 for all others (plus shipping)
Available from NEAPG (this links to a pdf form that can be printed out)
Disclosure: I am a member of NEAPG but I have NO financial interest in this product.