01 June 2011

May get a citation for this...[]

Wait, what? Posting again? Weird...

I had a sudden and disturbing thought today and used it as an excuse to breathe some life back into this blog: in this exciting new era of the e-book, how does citation work?

My thought process began as I pondered my Kindle collection and the books I've been reading of late on that wondrous device. As I was at the time strolling across a college campus, my thoughts then turned to textbooks. I recalled my days as an undergraduate, when I made sure to hit the campus bookstore early on the first day of class to ensure the purchase of my required textbooks. The realization struck me that, with my Kindle, I would need merely to check the titles of the necessary books and search for them in the Kindle Store. Theoretically, nearly all of my required literature for the semester could then be downloaded to one small device, likely for much less expense than the purchase of the hard-copy books (even at used-book prices). I imagined myself explaining to a professor that indeed I did have my textbook out in front of me, that it was on my Kindle. A new age of convenience...

...except when the time would come for paper writing. How exactly does one cite an eBook source? Granted, Kindle is gradually phasing in page numbers instead of "locations," but even that is dependent on the specified text size and column width.

Granted, I've seen plenty of works that cite merely the source work, not the specific page number. For their own purposes, that may be fine, but the typical college (to say nothing of high school) course requires "(Smith 23)"-style citations.

...they'll have to update the stylebooks. As far as the bibliography/works cited page goes, publication information should be easy, although "Kindle edition" will have to be specified. For in-text references, perhaps something like "(Smith Loc. 123) will suffice. Just has to be clear and unambiguous. Being that locations in Kindle books are very much specific, this shouldn't be too much of a problem. Just have to wait until a standard is decided, I suppose...