Copyediting Tip of the Week: Citing electronic editions
Submitted by Erin Brenner on Tue, 01/18/2011 - 7:11am
Citing electronic editions With the growing popularity of e-readers, copyeditors will have to deal with their peculiarities in copy if they don't already. One peculiarity is the lack of page numbers in an electronic edition. Tip reader Walter Sikora, senior technical writer at Bomgar, asked recently:
objective object identifier (DOI) or the source you download the book from, as well as some specific location information. Chapter and section titles seem the logical choice, putting APA in line with CMOS.
To cite the same quote in APA style might look like this:
If one must cite the specific page(s) from, say, a Kindle book where the "page" reference isn't static, what's the generally accepted style? Have you seen anything on this?How you cite anything is a style decision, so I checked out several style manuals in search of an answer.
Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS)CMOS offers a handy citation guide on its website, free to all users. Under "Book Published Electronically," the advice is to cite the section title or chapter number or other relevant number in the book's organizing structure. In the reference section, you'll want to include the URL if you read it online or the source you retrieved the book from (e.g., Amazon.com) if you read it on an e-reader. For example, in a recent blog post, I pointed readers to an article on Yahoo's style guide site, "Shape your text for online reading." If I were to quote from that article and reference the e-book version of the style guide using CMOS, I might do it this way:
"Text that works best on the Web is text that gets to the point fast and that makes it easy for readers to pick out key information."* *Chris Barr and the Senior Editors at Yahoo, The Yahoo! Style Guide (New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2010), Kindle Edition, sect. I, chap. 1, "Shape Your Text for Online Reading."Because I used the section details in the reference, someone picking up the print edition can find the section I quoted the information from. The quote comes before a subhead and isn't in a sidebar. Otherwise, I'd consider adding that information as well. It's not as specific as a page number, but it's not far off in this case. The entry in the reference list might look like this:
Barr, Chris, and the Senior Editors at Yahoo. The Yahoo! Style Guide. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2010. Kindle Edition.
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA)The APA editors have embraced new technologies in service to their readers, offering a blog, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account with information on using their style. I've found them all helpful for using a style I find mysterious. The editors didn't let me down in this quest, either. Chelsea Lee makes a good point in her blog post on citing a Kindle: unless someone reads the e-book on a Kindle, Kindle locations are useless. The point is to help the reader find the source you're quoting. If it's an e-book, you'd need to let them know not only title and publisher but also the digital
"Text that works best on the Web is text that gets to the point fast and that makes it easy for readers to pick out key information" (Barr, 2010, sect. I, chap. 1, "Shape Your Text for Online Reading," para. 1).The reference entry might look like this:
Barr, C., and the Senior Editors at Yahoo (2010). The Yahoo! style guide [Kindle 3G version]. Retrieved from Amazon.comThe APA editors prefer the DOI number but allow the retrieval site if the text doesn't have a DOI number. In this case, I couldn't find the DOI. (If someone finds it, please let me know where you found it.)