Cleaning Up Newspapers.com Citations

Newspapers.com is owned by the same folks as Ancestry.com. As such, there is integration between the two sites. The way that citations and sources for Newspapers.com are generated through this process end up looking like a bit of a mess, in my humble opinion, within Family Tree Maker.

I’ve recently started a project to clean up several dozen citations from Newspapers.com clippings within the two big family trees that I maintain: mine and my husband’s. It’s a lot of work, but it’s going to be worth it in the end.

Why?

I’m motivated by the following concerns.

  • Many citations have JPEGs linked to them. These are problematic because they lack context if they lose their link to their source.
  • Many citations have PDFs linked to them, which were downloaded from Newspapers.com, but they’re from many years ago and often don’t look as good as newer PDFs available to download.
  • Within FTM, each clipping shows up as its own source, with only one citation. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with this, as it allows someone to locate the original clipping, but I would prefer to do it differently.

Update Process

The solution to my media problems is to simply replace old media with new PDFs. These not only solve the context problem with images, but also looks better than the old PDFs from years ago (bigger images, for one). This also fixes a lot of naming discrepancies, and other minor details.

Here’s the basic process that I’m following to prepare each clipping.

  • I use the URL from the source in FTM to view the clipping. Sometimes the URLs are broken, and I have to relocate the clipping.
  • If I used Newspaper.com’s AI-generated clipping, I go ahead and create my own. I want to be able to find these again in the My Clippings tab.
  • If necessary, I update the name of the clipping and tweak the borders.
  • After downloading the PDF version, I run it through an OCR process. I do this because the text around the image is searchable already, but not the text within the image itself. This ensures that the entire document is OCR’d and searchable.

At this point, most everything is done within Family Tree Maker, while editing individual source citations.

  • In the Source tab, I remove the “Source Title” from the citation. This effectively unlinks the citation from the source. It will be found in the “[unlinked]” section when sorting sources by title.
  • I update the “Citation Detail” section with the citation provided by Newspapers.com. (I capture this by clicking “Source Citation” while viewing the clipping in a web browser, and copying the genealogy style.)
  • I update the “Web Address” field with the currently URL of the clipping.
  • Uncheck “Citation Text” and “Web Address” in the “Including in Reference Note” section.
  • In the Media tab, I add the new PDF that I recently exported and OCR’d.
  • I then unlink the old media from everything, and remove it entirely from the tree. I don’t need that anymore, as I have a much better copy now attached, but I still need to go and remove the actual file from the media folder.
  • In DEVONthink, I index all media files in Family Tree Maker, and I make sure and replicate the new PDF to its appropriate family-named group in my database.
  • Lastly, I make sure that the clipping on Newspapers.com has been tagged appropriately to note that it’s been added to both Family Tree Maker and DEVONthink.

When this is all done, I will have nice, clean citations linked to proper PDFs that are fully OCR’d. The PDFs will retain their context, in case they’re separate from the citation.

Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top