User talk:Nortonius

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Here A*****jm says "I am the professional writer of material on heritage subjects." Here they say that they "don't have access to a history library with up to date information." What's that I smell…? Nortonius (talk) 18:21, 9 January 2014 (UTC)


Hi - I've raised in more detail the issues around the use of National Archives notes as sources. I'm inclined to the view that they can't be relied apon as they are not true secondary sources, but I'm open to alternative arguments. I've raised it at the FAC talk page. You might want to invite others to engage. Even if these sources get rejected, they only marginally affect the article on Reculver, which i think should go through perhaps with one sentence and one footnote removed. Regards, hamiltonstone (talk) 10:58, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

Yes, thank you very much – better to get this cleared up now, obviously. And, I was just looking at exactly what's involved, I'll add a note on that at the FAC, but I agree that rejection of the sources would only affect the article marginally. Thanks also for the suggestion that I might invite others to have a look, I'll post my note to the FAC and then think on it. Cheers. Nortonius (talk) 11:08, 14 June 2014 (UTC)

I was sorry to see that Reculver has been archived, and I hope you will not be put off trying again with this excellent article. As you say, removal of the disputed sources will only affect the article marginally. I was planning to put my oar in when the FAC was closed, so I will make my points here.

  • On reflection I am basically on Hchc2009's side on the National Archive sources. You can make a good case that they are reliable, but the crucial question is whether it would be immediately obvious to a reader of the Reculver article, and I do not think it would without reading your explanation on the FAC discussion. Effectively, you have done OR to establish that they are reliable. Hchc has suggested a wording to get round the problem. I wonder what you and he think of an alternative where the archive has been cited in a secondary source, wording the cite 'Primary, cited in secondary'.
  • I do not think you should be citing the print Sawyer. It is effectively a superceded edition, without the modern critical assessments in the electronic version.
  • You cite S 546 in 60, but its authenticity is disputed. For example Keynes described it as "probably not authentic." Dudley Miles (talk) 18:08, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your support Dudley, but I think I'm about done for now. About S 546, Keynes wrote that in 1980, whereas more recent assessments indicate otherwise, e.g. in Kelly (2008): "The earlier of the two surviving single sheets cannot be significantly later than the mid tenth century, and there seems no reason to doubt that the diploma reflects a genuine donation of this period." Further, given that my interest was not in the grant itself but in the bounds, dealt with exhaustively in Gough (1992), I think it's a fair citation. Like the documents cited via the E 179 Database, which were used not because I was interested in whether they were accurate tax returns but for their description of geography, of which I remain convinced there's no doubting their usefulness. Given their status as records of central government taxation, it seems to me perverse to think otherwise; and my view remains that the Database is secondary, which would make any talk of OR moot to my mind. That discussion only arose because the nature of the Database was questioned, and I know that those involved would be very disappointed if they were aware of the outcome. More to the point, I note that hamiltonstone, who first raised the issue, was ultimately satisfied with my use of the Database. Of course, if you'd got in before the FAC was closed then I'd have had something more like a consensus to work with, but it went otherwise, and sitting on that ants' nest (my ants) for weeks on end has left me exhausted. Personally, I'm more disappointed with the close than with how the discussion went, except for the lack of it. Which is why I think I'm about done for now. The article has tended to attract so little attention (not just at FAC) that my guess is it'll remain pretty much as it is for a long, long time. Cheers. Nortonius (talk) 22:24, 13 July 2014 (UTC)
Hi there. Don't be too discouraged by that close. Something that often happens at FAC is, when an issue gets raised during FAC and a long discussino ensues, the detail of the discussion 'scares off' new reviewers who don't want to trail through it all. Starting a new nomination of the article in a few weeks may go just fine, so long as you can resolve what to do on the sourcing issue beforehand. In that regard, I'd make a couple of suggestions / responses to Dudley. We all do OR behind the scenes in this project, including to assess the reliability of a source. I'm not aware why such research is not valid for determining reliability - it is only an issue in hte text of an article itself. So i think that is not an argument against using National Archive sources per se. I'd also say, though, that if you were to remove those few citations that are still in contention, and confine the article to the remaining sources (which would have a tiny impact on the substantive text), the article should progress at FAC with little difficulty. Anyway, see what you think afte a few weeks' break. hamiltonstone (talk) 12:16, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
I would be happy to cooperate with that. The first article I nominated (for FLC) failed because an editor started copy editing my text and gave up half way through. Yours only failed because the FAC process could not cope with the detailed discussion of sources.
It is surprising that the Sawyer editors did not pick up the Kelly comment on S 546 - they are usually very good at that. As some historians have questioned the charter, it might be helpful to show the ref as "S 546, cited in Kelly". Dudley Miles (talk) 16:07, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks both for your comments, I'm actually quite touched that you came to my talk page with them. Yes, I'll give it some time and think about it. About the Sawyer editors, something seems amiss – I emailed them a tad over two months ago about a blatant error in the translation for S 8, I haven't had any reply and it's still up on the website. Also, looking at S 546 again, I don't think there's been much dispute over the charter's contents since the 1980s, although whether it's a genuine charter or a copy of one seems to remain questionable: thing is, the latest word is presumably in Brooks and Kelly's Charters of Christ Church Canterbury (2 vols.) of 2013, but the Sawyer editors haven't caught up with that yet either. (It might even provide the last word, given Brooks and Kelly's authority on these things, but it'll be very difficult for me to get sight of it.) Maybe it just does take time, but it makes me wonder... Nortonius (talk) 14:11, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

I could check Brooks & Kelly at the London Library. I can also check references - for you and any other editor - in my own library. Dudley Miles (talk) 16:39, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

Thank you, yes, please do! Cheers. Nortonius (talk) 09:16, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
OK. Not sure when I will next go there, but should be in the next couple of weeks. Dudley Miles (talk) 09:23, 16 July 2014 (UTC)
I now have the book. They regard S 546 as a 'technical forgery' - an early copy. Keynes 2013 appears to accept their views. Email me if you would like me to send you a scan. I checked half a dozen charters on Sawyer and every one had the latest comments as Thompson 2006. It seems they have stopped updating. Dudley Miles (talk) 18:54, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Ah that's great, thank you, I'll email you in a sec. I'm not familiar with Thompson 2006, I'll have to check that out, thanks for the tip! About S 546, that actually does sound like a "last word", if there ever is such a thing. I wonder why they stopped updating the Electronic Sawyer with a work from 2006 – my first use of the Electronic Sawyer that I can remember was in April 2012,[1] when I found that was dead and had to hunt around. IIRC the Electronic Sawyer was its direct, updated replacement, and I'd used the URL as late as September 2010.[2] I expect the Electronic Sawyer was the product of a finite research grant, but I'm very surprised no-one seems to be keeping an eye on it. It would be a terrible shame if it were left as is. Nortonius (talk) 16:02, 22 July 2014 (UTC)