Open Codex HISTORICAL entry

2006 Oct 20 | A note on bibliography

I'm sharing this note from the beginning of my dissertation so others working with online resources might comment.

The type and number of bibliographic sources of this work merit a couple comments.

First, most of the primary sources are online, and have only been online. Quotations from e-mail and most exclusively online resources have no page numbers associated with them.

Second, many of the printed sources (primary and secondary) are now online. This is common in recent works where authors place versions of a print publication online, or where older works are now in the public domain and have been republished online. In such cases I use the publication date of the version I used. If necessary, I include the original publication date in prose adjacent to the reference, and I include it in the title of the work in the bibliography. For example the bibliographic entry for Project Gutenberg's 2004 republication of H. G. Wells' "A Modern Utopia" would be:

Wells, H. (2004). A modern utopia (1905). (6424). Retrieved on September 20, 2006 from < >.

The page numbers associated with print-only sources obviously correspond to the printed page. For those sources that are also online, the page number might be associated with the pagination of the printed online resource from which I first took my notes, or the printed material, for which I later found an online copy. I believe it will be clear to the reader which is the case.

Third, for some recent sources, there are many publications by the same author in the same year. After a couple of years of experimentation with the software I use to manage this material I have settled upon the convention of identifying such a source by appending a token to the publication year that is composed of the first three substantive words of the title. So, instead of using the letters [a-z], which some bibliographic systems use, my reference for Wikipedia's "Neutral Point of View" article is: (Wikipedia 2006npv). This provides stability across additions/subtractions to the bibliography and across chapters, and is comprehensible to the author and hopefully the reader.

Finally, Web sources do change, particularly Wiki pages! Wherever possible I include the date of the version of the resource to which I am referring. Wikimedia resources are also identified by their versioned, "stable" or "permanent," URL. It is possible that I will reference different versions of the same Wiki page.

All of this may sound confusing, and it was no easy task coming to this understanding, but in the end I hope it is useful. If the intention of bibliography is to permit the reader to follow the author's journey through the sources, the ready accessibility of online resources is a boon to all.

Posted by bryan at Fri Oct 20 11:13:46 2006
Hi Joseph

Somewhat different problem, but I'm certainly grappling with online resources: see


Posted by Luis Villa at Fri Oct 20 21:30:07 2006
Might want to check out webcite:

Open Communities, Media, Source, and Standards

by Joseph Reagle