Sunday, January 30, 2005


One of the differences between undergraduate student, graduate student, and professor is the different attitudes one takes towards citations. Students tend to using citations as a means of avoiding plagiarism. Graduate students want to show how much reading they have done. Professors just want to mention articles by their friends.

Just kidding. Both professors and graduate students use citations to strengthen an argument (obviously), although graduate students often spend a little more time getting their ducks all in a row. It's also true that the level of citation detail will depend on which publication you are writing for; Anglo-Saxon England, Anglia, and JEGP require excruciating detail. Other places, such as PMLA, tend to exclude a great deal of citation.

I am a compulsive over-citer and I also write digressive footnotes. Wanna make something of it? (Complaints about over-long footnotes -- and my criticism of those complaints will be another rant).

But this is all just a prolegomenon to pointing you towards the new Tolkien Studies web page and, more on point, the submissions guidelines and the conventions and abbreviations that we have developed.

Please note that there is also a link to a pdf version of the conventions and abbreviations that can be downloaded. The conventions and abbreviations may be freely copied and disseminated and can be used by anyone who wants to use them.

We are trying to encourage people (not just contributors to Tolkien Studies, but all interested scholars) to use these conventions and abbreviations to help eliminate some of the confusion arising from the plethora of editions and publications. For example, because there are so many editions of The Lord of the Rings, we cite by book and chapter as well as by page-number (that way, if you don't have the same edition, you can still find the quote). Thus a citation from The Fellowship of the Ring, book two, chapter four, page 318 is written (FR, II, iv, 318). The �Silmarillion� indicates the body of stories and poems developed over many years by Tolkien;The Silmarillion indicates the volume first published in 1977.

The point here is that you're citing not just to show that you got the quotation from page 233 of whatever book you happen to have, but that you're trying to make it easier for other readers to find the quote in its context, regardless of which editions they have.


Michael said...

Just a test to see if comments are now working.

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