This topic is one of my favorites, so I decided to start the New Year’s posting spree with it! Citation formats; how many are they out there? I have no clue. I haven’t counted them but they are many. Why is it necessary for different disciplines to have different citation formats? The excuse is that different disciplines need to provide different elements of their research in the citations. This means, that humanity’s scholars cannot figure out one citation format that would meet the needs of all disciplines. I find this difficult to believe. If a citation format must be a little longer to include all the necessary information required by all disciplines, so be it! A longer citation is better than trying to learn a number of different formats, an annoying fact for people who have two or more degrees in different disciplines. Another issue about citation formats deals with the citation manuals. I have used extensively two manuals during my studies, “Turabian” for the Master in Music Theory and Literature and “APA” for the Master of Library and Information Science. I noticed the same problem in both of them and found out that manuals of other formats have the same problem. Simply put, they are a mess! In many cases, the index and logic cannot help the users to find what they are looking for. Even professors admit that these manuals can be confusing.
Let’s move on with a New Year’s resolution. Let’s try to create one citation format that will meet the requirements of all disciplines, regardless of how long the citations are going to be. Also, until this change happens (and we know how we humans view changes and how quickly we make them!), let’s make sure that these manuals are user friendly. Let me put it this way. Students and scholars don’t have the luxury to waste time to figure out where to find what they’re looking for in these manuals. All it takes is a good index. It’s a new year, so no more excuses……!