Re: references/ National Dance Assoc.

Darren Kelly (
Fri, 2 Jan 1998 15:00:56 +0100 (MET)

On Wed, 31 Dec 1997, Mary-Lou Michael wrote:
> Hi ALL,
> Does anyone know what the academic procedure is for referencing
> email/internet resources? Nobody seems to know.

Yes, just how does one quote a can of worms ? This is fiercely debated.

I assume by "internet resources" you mean the WWW. The main problem here
is that individual pages are regularly updated, and so the readers of your
article won't have reliable/reproducible access to that information. And
of course hyperlinks change. Another problem is that the information
isn't refereed. This is not a problem if you are just writing
educationally to steer others to _resources_ but it is a great problem if
you point people to _opinions_ or _claims_.

(Have you actually taken time to check the references Creationists use ?
Hard job. Have you tried to click on their hyperlinks ? You go giddy
because the circles keep closing !)

Archives, such as the Dance-Tech archive, do not carry any more weight
in this sense. You still can't prove who wrote what; you don't even know
who was logged in; nothing is signed; there is no protocoll; ...

In any case one should _always_ give the date when citing a web page.
A hyperlink alone has no value.

Quoting email is a bit of a cop out. Encourage colleagues to refer you to
peer reviewed papers. Usually one uses the weak and suspect "personal
communication (pers.comm.)" together with the name. It plays no role
whether it was a snail-mail letter or email. Most academics (for what they
are worth) consider email citations as solid as the paper the source is
written on. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, it just means most
won't care.

I don't publish much in peer reviewed journals, but I find it important
to be able to, and hope this approach isn't undermined by the free-for-all
on the net. I don't encourage quoting the web or email.


Darren Kelly | | |
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