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research and integrity

Fellow enthusiasts:
In my young age(?), I have learned that respect and trust are matters that can never be bought, they must be earned.  I have also learned that integrity is a mark of the capacity to examine and then act upon the moral evaluations we make in life. I have been honoured from the communications, trust and knowledge that other members of the Sinclair net/list have bestowed upon me. I have been personally enriched by individuals like John that offer all of us this service because of a higher purpose. I have learned from all that haved shared so freely on this medium and have hopefully I been able to contribute from time to time to the quality of information as has been shared. 
Now I was so pleased to hear that Mrs Matheson's work on her ancestor "Peter Sinclair of Chatham
Cty " has been completed. This has been an effort of love that has taken considerable years in the formulation and has a higher purpose. No one produces any work of love without putting a lot of themselves into it. I know that she has done so. The costs for reproduction and postage are nominal and not everyone can afford to manufacture and send off unlimited information without breaking even for their own expenses. I have no doubt that the information and format will be an inspiration for generations of Sinclairs & Mathesons and others to come.
I understand the feelings of anger and fustration when members who have worked on a labour of love for years feel that their research has been taken without acknowledgement or appreciation. This is clearly wrong. The fine work of individuals like Ms. Grimsby who have retrieved and stored information over her lifetime have, and will continue to, benefit generations to come.  However I also I have known Ms. Matheson for a long time and she is one of the finest professionals in the geneological field, a talented writer and a stickler for accuracy, truth and detail. She posesses total integrity. She is inspired in her work by spiritual purpose and the ability to give of herself and her insights freely and without hesitation. With the able assistance of a small network of friends and fine historians and writers and researchers on this list she is editing for us, an original piece of work which will be given to the clan associations and to the Sinclairs as a whole. We all labour in love of the story we are collectively discovering and telling.
And individuals like Jean that so carefully through the years stored information are to be greeted with a big thank you of appreciation.
This prompts me to articulate as both a lawyer, and writer (as well as an individual who was honored to be born with the name Sinclair), some of the common sense guidelines and insights that may help clear confusion for some. First of all, no one goes into personal genealogical research or historical research for profit.  We do it out of a sense of caring, and sharing of all those experiences and individuals which through their lives contributed to the nobility of what followed. Perhaps we recognize that  which has gone before, having value needs to be passed down. I know it is the purpose of many of our friends here to do just that. There are many historians in our midst that are nothing short of remarkable researchers and story tellers.
I am astounded and very greatful that the Mormon Church (LDS) has undertaken at its own expense to "connect" much of mankind. Without embarking on any theological tangent, how wonderous at the dawn of the millinieum to have an organization which connects individuals from around the world with one another and values the importance of those men and wormen that have gone before us. How many individuals have discovered their identity and roots because of this fine organization. Commit Thy Work to God, has many dimensions.
Now here are some helpful practices that I use wearing the "authors" hat. ;
1. If work is copyrighted,  I seek permission of the author to use it.
2. If work is not specifically identified in the public domain as copyrighted, I still ask permission and always acknowledge the contributor and author. Language and expressions are "copyrightable", Ideas are not, nor is factual information subject of copyright per se.
3. I collaborate on information always. Please thank you and appreciation go a long way.
4. If someone has taken the time and effort to contribute information I acknowledge it when writing.
 All good writers do.
5. If I share information written and expressed in a draft format, I do protect copyright so as to preserve the integrity of the information before it is published and released. I would hate to publish anything in a genealogical or historical format that is going to be subject to revision and amendment because of poor research, expression or inaccuracy. Having 3 versions of the same thing out in the public is not helpful.
6. When something is published, it should be of the highest integrity in both terms of accuracy and content. Especially when others may rely upon it for their own work and understanding. This is academic excellence.
7. Any work or information I publish of an historical or geneological format is intended to enrich the knowledge and lives of others. If it is of Sinclair focus and interest, it belongs to everyone interested and will be given to the archivists, and individuals freely. If I copyright such expression of information it is only to underline the integrity and accuracy of the information.
8. Internet information as expressions are also subject to copyright. Ideas and information are not, and thanks be to those individuals that make this technology available.
I close in encouraging everyone to share and keep the information flowing out of appreciation for the  purpose for which it was intended. Roland Michner in his book "The Journey" wrote about information in this fashion. Paraphrasing what he wrote, when through ones research you find information, remember to put it somewhere so that it can be found by someone else. Publish it so that it may be known, and tell people where it is to be found! 
Now if all our ancestors had followed this...we would find it easier but perhaps less fun !!!???
Praises to all those on the list who continue to enrich one anothers lives. Salutes to the fine researchers and publishers of the information like both Karen and Jean and John and Peter, and Toni, Juli, Rebecca, Wanda, Laurel and Jean and many many more, the list is very extensive.
Yours Aye Yours:
Neil Sinclair
Toronto, PEI, Argyll