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Posted by September Blue Saturday, 7 June 2008

Interesting post at the (seriously compelling) sociology blog Scatterplot on the subject of academic citation:

I’m not sure any “necessary evil” part of this job feels like a more pointless waste of time than when I’m searching on the web to find where a book publisher is located so I can fill in the [city] field in the sociology citation format. I wonder when was the last time that a single human being anywhere in the world used that information for any purpose whatsoever.

Plus, the corollary frustration of explaining to students (especially students who've never had to do any kind of referencing or bibliography before, which seems to be most of mine) why we make them do such pointless-seeming things as well. Because it's the way academia works, and it's about consistency and clarity and that works better if everyone's doing it the same way, yes, okay, I know that History and Politics make you use a different system, but this is the system we use in this department because it's about - I mean, we need to know the - well - look, because I say so and I am marking your work, all right? All right.

1 Responses to [not known]

  1. Laz Says:
  2. I never understood how Arts got to be so anal about bibliographies and references when it's arguably Science where it matters more - and they never cared. I never had any set layout, I never lost a mark or even got red pen on any of mine.

    Except, now that I think on it, my first essay got red pen on the bib because the professor liked my use of websites for information. Of course, he didn't realise that I'd been online since I was 15...

    Remember when the internet was still young?