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

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Mar 25 17:31:46 EDT 2017


Thank you all for your enlightening responses about constructing
citations for websites. Currently, I am using a custom format for
citations. The year, month and day are listed first because this
information is the most salient when tracing quotations, in my
opinion. This is analogous to OED format for citations in which the
year is listed first. I spell out words like: page, column, number,
volume because I dislike the potential for ambiguity when these terms
are omitted and must be inferred. On the web it is unnecessary to
maximize the terseness of citations. I also mention the method of
verification, e.g., verified on microfilm or verified on paper. If the
verification was performed with a database then I list the name of the
database, e.g., GenealogyBank or Chronicling America.

Off list, Ben Zimmer helpfully mentioned to me that the Narcotics
Anonymous pamphlet is available via a snapshot in the Internet Archive
Wayback Machine; hence, I do give a pointer to the pamphlet in the QI
article I posted on March 23.

Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting
Different Results
http://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/03/23/same/

Garson


On Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 4:25 PM, Baker, John <JBAKER at stradley.com> wrote:
> There are 8 or 9 pages on this in The Bluebook:  A Uniform System of Citation 178 - 86 (20th ed. 2015), which is the standard stylebook for academic legal writing.  The instability of URLs is a serious issue for legal writing, but they tend to be included anyway, especially for online-only materials.  Such citations usually include "(last visited [date]), and archival links such as to archive.org may also be included in some cases.  If you're interested, contact me offline.
>
>
> John Baker
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of MULLINS, WILLIAM D (Bill) CIV USARMY RDECOM AMRDEC (US)
> Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2017 3:37 PM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: Re: Citing websites in academic articles and books
>
> When I started sending cites to the OED around 10-11 years ago, I had some correspondence with one of their editors (long since lost) that helped me greatly.  It was okay, for their purposes, to find stuff online even though they primarily accept print citations.  Just make sure that your online source is a true image of a printed document.  Scanned newspapers, google books, other scanned and facsimile documents you find online are fine.  But they are only a proxy for the printed document, and your citation data should refer to the printed document as if that was where you found the information in question.  But they occasionally asked for the online source (I suppose this was to double-check my work).  I would often add the relevant URL or domain, but this was not necessary, only helpful.  (and I realize that they do include some online-only information, like Usenet posts -- what I just outlined was a useful rule of thumb for me).
>
> So, to apply these guides to your situation, I would cite the PDF document as if you had a paper copy of it and not worry too much about the digital version that has gone missing (assuming that you believe the PDF to have been a true scan of the original).
>
> Now having said that, I know that the exact same problem comes up in legal citations, where the stakes are much higher.  So I'd look at the style guides for legal documents and see what they say -- maybe it would be helpful.  The Association of Legal Writing Directors ALWD Guide to Legal Citation and the Harvard Bluebook seem to be the dominant ones, but they are expensive and they aren't (legitimately) online,
>
> http://www.alwd.org/publications/citation-manual/
> https://www.legalbluebook.com/
>
> Carl Malamud, the guy behind the Internet Archive, has The Indigo book, sort of an open-source freeware version of the Bluebook:
> https://law.resource.org/pub/us/code/blue/IndigoBook.pdf
>
> The Univ of Chicago Manual of Legal Citation ("Maroonbook") is an online alternative, but it doesn't offer much specifically about online sources:
> https://lawreview.uchicago.edu/sites/lawreview.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/83%20MB.pdf
>
> Cornell's law school has some online guidance:
> https://www.law.cornell.edu/citation/2-100
>
>
> For non-legal academic writing, there are:
>
> MLA Style Manual
> Chicago Manual of Style
> Turabian (A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations by Kate L. Turabian)
>
> Journalists use the Associated Press Stylebook.
>
> For the most part, these are all commercial books that are for sale, and aren't online (except as bootleg copies.)   But many summaries of important bits are, for example:
>
> https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/05/
> http://www.library.georgetown.edu/tutorials/research-guides/turabian-footnote-guide#websites
>
> And the Library of Congress has some guidance:
> http://www.loc.gov/teachers/usingprimarysources/citing.html
>
>
>
>
> (On a list such as this, with so many actual scholars, I may be the least qualified person to write such a reply.  Hopefully someone will step in now and correct what I have posted that is wrong.  However, I have done a fair amount of technical writing over the years.  The Army doesn't strictly enforce style rules on technical reports that I have written so I am mostly left to fend for myself.  I think the most important thing is being clear and accurate.  Mostly, anyone who cares enough to actually look at footnotes and references is smart enough to know that websites evaporate.  Do the best you can and don't worry about it.)
>
>
>
>>
>> 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?
>>
>> Garson
>>
>
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>
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