[Ads-l] Citing websites in academic articles and books

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Thu Mar 23 15:53:13 EDT 2017

The style guides used by the various academic disciplines cover this. There's no good solution. Most boil down to saying one should provide as much information about the resource (author, title, publisher, publication date, URL, date accessed, database it was found in, etc.) as is available so that subsequent researchers can search for the resource as best they can.

The two guides that are probably most relevant to the field are MLA and Chicago. The most recent edition of MLA handles web sources quite intelligently, but is lacking in other important respects. (It's a useful style guide for undergrads, but not for serious researchers.)

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of ADSGarson O'Toole
Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2017 1:15 PM
Subject: [ADS-L] Citing websites in academic articles and books

Occasionally I receive questions from academics who wish to cite information residing on the Quote Investigator website. A questioner will ask if I have published the material. Some material is now in my
book: "Hemingway Didn't Say That", but most has never been published in a journal or book.

What standards have been developed within academia for citing web content?

The instability of website content is a significant problem. I am currently working on an article about the saying "Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over and Expecting Different Results". Back in
2011 I found an instance in a "Narcotics Anonymous" pamphlet (scanned
PDF) printed in November 1981 (according to a note within the document).

Now the website has been reorganized and I cannot find the pamphlet on the website. I still have the PDF document, but I cannot give a web pointer to other researchers.

The Internet Archive Wayback Machine collects snapshots of many websites and provides greater stability. But the snapshots are sometimes incomplete. Also, there are complications due to copyright.

I realize that this issue has been discussed for years. Has any consensus developed?


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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