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RE: [civilwarwest] citations

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  • Harry Smeltzer
    Laurie, As long as it leads to the sources, I agree. But the current trend to use poorly constructed citations (one footnote for several paragraphs, including
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 1, 2005
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      Laurie,

      As long as it leads to the sources, I agree. But the current trend to use
      poorly constructed citations (one footnote for several paragraphs, including
      several sources) really makes it tough to employ this method with any
      confidence.

      Harry

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Laurence D. Schiller [mailto:LDS307@...]
      Sent: Saturday, January 01, 2005 8:21 PM
      To: Civil War West
      Subject: [civilwarwest] citations


      For example, rather than cite all the primary
      sources again, you can cite 'For a closer examination of the action
      at Reed's Bridge, see ...'. This is perfectly acceptable as it leads
      to the sources, which is the whole point.

      Best,

      Laurie Schiller
    • GnrlJEJohnston@aol.com
      In a message dated 1/1/2005 8:20:44 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, LDS307@northwestern.edu writes: For example, rather than cite all the primary sources again,
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 1, 2005
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        In a message dated 1/1/2005 8:20:44 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, LDS307@... writes:
        For example, rather than cite all the primary
        sources again, you can cite 'For a closer examination of the action
        at Reed's Bridge, see ...'. This is perfectly acceptable as it leads
        to the sources, which is the whole point.

        Best,

        Laurie Schiller
        Yes I can see that.  But like was said previously, is the author trying to write as Dick calls a Bed Side book, or is he writing one that is definitely technical in nature.  Yes, a book that is highly technical requires footnotes.  But what I hate to see is a book that each page is six inches in length and one or two of those inches are nothing but footnotes.  Cozzens uses a lot of foot notes but he has to since his writing is so technical and precisely deep.  Yet there are other authors that use foot notes sparingly and others use them too sparingly.
         
        JEJ
      • Laurence D. Schiller
        Greetings Joseph: ... That is precisely my point. ... Of course. ... True - but now you are entering different territory. I m talking about when to cite, not
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 3, 2005
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          Greetings Joseph:

          At 11:23 PM +0000 1/3/05, civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com wrote:
          >Dr. Schiller:
          >
          >Off the top of my head, I would submit that a secondary source, such
          >as Mr. Foote's trilogy, should not generally be cited in support of
          >an author's factual assertion (although Herodotus and others of such
          >a time and place would probably be more appropriate exceptions), but
          >that Foote should be cited if his views on a particular issue are
          >being used by the author

          That is precisely my point.

          >. One caveat, however, is that there should
          >be sufficient reason to accept his views on that issue and it is not
          >merely an appeal to authority.

          Of course.

          >
          >Even citations of primary sources can be problematic when that
          >source is unreliable.

          True - but now you are entering different territory. I'm talking
          about when to cite, not WHAT to cite. As we all know, just because
          something is a primary source doesn't mean it is particularly
          trustworthy - Ol Jube's post war writings come to mind =-). What you
          use as a source is your decision - but it you use it, you should cite
          it.

          > Byers' account of Sherman at Chattanooga
          >indicated that the Confederates charged out of the railroad tunnel
          >to outflank the Federals, as well as including the incorrect
          >description of heavy fighting on the 24th. This latter
          >misconception was picked up by other writers including Catton (who
          >seems to have picked it up secondhand). Other primary accounts have
          >been misread, so that the citation is correct, but the author's
          >statement is still wrong; Grant's supposed questioning of Granger on
          >Orchard Knob on the afternoon of 11/25/63 is a fine example of this
          >(also misused by Catton). Some errors, such as this last, get
          >handed down from author to author until it appears as part of
          >history.

          No doubt.

          >
          >Placement of citations is usually either done at the end of the
          >sentence or saved for the end of the paragraph. I can see where the
          >latter can be useful when the citation applies to the whole
          >paragraph, although the former method is more helpful. Are there
          >any hard and fast rules on this, and can the two types by used in
          >the same work?

          No hard and fast rules - clarity is the issue and you can note where
          you think appropriate. Again, the rule I go by is 'am I making what I
          am doing clear?'

          >
          >I can also see where it would be unreasonable to use a citation in
          >places where a very large number of sources would be necessary to
          >back up a particular assertion, such as the feelings of soldiers
          >after a battle; one source wouldn't prove anything and fifty
          >accounts might be needed to provide a decent sampling of opinion.
          >Would you cite all or none of these sources, or let the footnote
          >give a summary of what the sources show? No footnote at all may
          >mislead the reader to believe that the original assertion is
          >unsupported.

          If I really needed to cite that many examples, I would cite a few
          specific good ones and say these are representative of many others.
          Depending on what you were trying to do here - you might be better
          off constructing a graph/chart of the sample thus showing the 'sample
          of opinion'. There are many ways to approach these depending what you
          are writing about and trying to argue.

          Best,

          Laurie Schiller

          >
          >Joseph
          >

          --
          Dr. Laurence Dana Schiller Civil War First Person Impressions
          Maitre d'Armes William Bradshaw, Co. F 2nd WI
          Head Fencing Coach George Hammitt, Co. H 104th Ill
          Department of History
          Northwestern University
          Commissioner, Midwest Fencing Conference
          Midwest VP, US Fencing Coaches' Association
          Vice-Chair USFA Illinois Division
          Lds307@...
          847-491-4654 (Athletics)
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