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Dr Robert A. Hatch - University of Florida

STUDENTS are sometime puzzled about scholarly citation practices, they have a certain dread of all the scholarly apparatus and 'barbed wire' that goes with footnotes and the niceties of bibliography.  What follows is a short course on citation.  It provides basic examples of the most common forms of citation and offers several useful clicks for those who wish to pursue the topic further.

First, I feel duty bound to say that citation is very important, that each student must learn the conventions of citation, the scholarly courtesies as well as the possible ethical and legal aspects that verge on theft.  These topics are addressed elsewhere at this WebSite.  Second, while I wish to insist on the importance of learning good citation practices, I also want to underscore my commitment to simplicity.  Hence the following conventions.

In my classes I ask that students use an internal form of citation for all books required in the course.  That's good news.  Internal citation is relatively simple and builds on a shared experience.  The format is straightforward.  Suppose you are quoting Thomas S. Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  If it is a required book in my course, you might cite it as follows:

'.....and hence, Galileo was a really cool guy' (Kuhn, Structure, p. 33).

Here the direct citation (the quoted material) is in quotation marks and is followed by parentheses.  The internal citation uses the key word in the title and the page number of the quoted material.  Nothing could be more simple.  But suppose there is more than one required book by Thomas S. Kuhn?  Suppose the course also requires Kuhn's The Copernican Revolution.  No problem:

'.....and hence, Newton was a really cool dude' (Kuhn, Copernican, p. 44).

If it happens that there are several authors named Kuhn, for example, the great basket weaver, Cecil P. (Barney) Kuhn, the solution is to use Cecil's first initial.  What's the point?  Keep it simple.  When in doubt be consistent and use commons sense.

But what if you need to cite a book that is not required in the course?  Then you follow the format recommended by the Chicago Manual of Style.  It is now an industry standard, or nearly so.  Learning the Chicago format is a good investment.  But even here you have some flexibility.  In my courses you have a choice to use footnotes (at the bottom of each page of your text) or to use endnotes (here all 'footnote' citations come at the end of your essay as 'endnotes').  Happily, computer technology has made either choice a simple matter for the typist.

Another area of legitimate concern in 'footnote' citation is how to cite materials in a 'Reader'.  What follows is a practical solution for students in my courses.  Suppose you cite a primary reading written by Isaac Newton that appears in your Newton Darwin Freud Reader.  As an illustration, here's what you do:

' equal but opposite reaction.' (Newton, Principia, 3rd ed., p. 22 [133]).

This signals the author, Isaac Newton, his book, the Philosophiae naturalis principiae mathematica, 3rd ed., the page in the original text (p. 22), and the page in the Reader, p. 133.  Citing the page in the Reader is useful for all members of the class who share the same text.  That makes sense.  Citation of the original page is a must in any citation.  Citing the original page is also more convenient for your classmates, since Readers often have two 'pages' reproduced onto one Reader 'page'.  All of this is common sense.  But it is important to spell out the agreed convention.  Now you know.  If you have further questions about 'footnotes' and bibliography, please see the clicks below.

Finally, there are some other genuine concerns that are fairly new on the academic community.  For example, what do we do with footnotes and bibliography when source materials come from the WWW?  A good question.  Our task would not be complete without addressing the new frontiers of cyber-citation land.  So, how do we cite Web Pages, Data Bases, and other electronic sources?  Happily, these and other related issues are discussed at length in the clicks below.  Take time to study them.  You may wish to copy, download, or print off  the examples they offer and retain them for future use.  Alternatively, you may wish simply to 'Bookmark' the sites on your browser or, perhaps, bookmark this page.  In any case, time spent with these sources is a good investment.

Chicago Manual of Style  - Examples of Citation & Reference
Electronic Citation -  Chicago & Other Formats
Electronic Citation  - How to Cite Web & Electronic Texts
Chicago University Press - Chicago Manual of Style - Q&A