3.198 citing e-documents, cont. (50)

Sun, 2 Jul 89 18:46:28 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 198. Sunday, 2 Jul 1989.

Date: Fri, 30 Jun 89 09:01:49 PLT
Subject: MLA Style for Citing Humanist

I must put in my two-bits worth on this issue. The main purpose, as I see
it, of a bibliographic entry, is to provide the reader (whoever that may be)
with the information necessary to find the resources used in the document
for further study, or for checking the context of the referenced material.

In normal MLA or Chicago style, I can take a bibliography and quickly
find a magazine article, book or any published work cited because the
necessary information (title, author, date, publisher) is included in
the citation. However, that works with the old technology. The new
technology requires a slightly difference approach.

Although we may look at our discussion group as an informal, intellectual
exchange, it actually represents a new form of publishing. University of
Toronto is the de facto publisher, Willard is the editor. When a message
is sent to HUMANIST and Willard resends it to the membership, it is no
longer a private correspondence, but is a published document.

If a message published on an electronic network is referenced in a paper,
article or book, the means to check the reference must be included in the
citation. Dr. Gibaldi's provisional recommendation just doesn't provide
the information necessary to access the reference. KRAFT's suggestions
make a lot more sense. Access to BITNET, at least in academic circles,
is simple. Determining the correct address of a discussion group (publisher)
is more difficult without specific information.

I'm surprised that MLA has been so slow in responding to this need. The
*New Papyrus* of electronically published material has been around for
quite some time, now. The lack of response suggests that the medium is
trivial. I resent that, both for personal reasons and on behalf of those
involved in electronic communication. My experience over the last few years
on electronic media shows me that the majority of communication on both
private and public access networks is far from trivial.

I think we are speeding to the point at which the amount of material
published *on-line* will far exceed that published by traditional methods.
That should put the issue of standard citation format for electronically
published information on the high priority list.