You've been told to do this and yet you've been procrastinating. Shame on you! Here are three reasons to get on top of the work and some examples to help you along.
The best reasons why you SHOULD cite your sources:
- You're giving credit to the person, organization, or business that recorded the information in the first place
- You're making it possible for someone to confirm your extraction, translation or interpretation of the original source (you don't think you're perfect, do you?)
- You're making it possible for someone to carry on your work in the future without having to slavishly hunt down and check all sources -- they can continue on from where you left off. For instance if you indicate you used GRANDMA 2 as your source, they know that looking into GRANDMA 5 may reveal some additional details.
Each scholarly discipline and each publisher tends to have their subtly different approach to source citation formatting, with the biggest differences between them being that they:
- put comments on source in a footnote which is associated with a formal entry at the end of the publication in a section generally called "BIBLIOGRAPHY"
- put author and year in parentheses immediately after the cited material, e.g., (Rempel, 2007) and put the formal entry at the end of the publication in a section generally called "REFERENCES CITED".
Since family history is more closely aligned with History as a discpline, we should be using their conventions I guess (they use #1 above), but my own field is Sociology, so I continue to my discipline's approach (#2 above).
The critical elements of the formal citation are:
- Publishing details (or respository if it's not formally published)
So - even if you develop your own approach, if you use the above details most people won't chide you.
Some examples of the sociology approach:
• Winter, Henry H. (1990). A Shepherd of the Oppressed: Heinrich Winter, the Last Aeltester of Chortitza. Wheatley, ON: Author*.
• Epp-Tiessen, Esther. (2001). J.J. Thiessen: A Leader for His Time. Winnipeg**: CMBC Publications
• Morgan, Cecilia. (2004). “Turning Strangers into Sisters? Missionaries and Colonization in Upper Canada” in Epp, Marlene, Franca Iacovetta, & Frances Swyripa, eds., Sisters or Strangers? Immigrant, Ethnic and Racialized Women in Canadian History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
• Rempel, Judith. (2007). "Citing Your Sources" in Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Blog, 7 September. http://mennonites.typepad.com/mennonite_historical_soci/2007/09/citing-your-sou.html
* use “author” when the publishing (the person/organization who pays for the publishing costs) is the same as the author.
** when the city is large, no provincial or state designation is needed.
Book and periodical titles are italicized normally and chapters or article titles within them are enclosed in quotation marks.
- Martens, Hilda (Hilda.martens@bigisp). (2005). E-mail to Herta Anderson, 17 January.
- Martens, Hilda. (2005). Interviewed by Herta Anderson, 17 January.
- Martens, Hilda. (2005). Personal communication*** with Herta Anderson, 17 January.
- Anderson, Herta. (2005). Personal knowledge.****
*** e.g. just an ordinary conversation
**** things you just know because you personally experienced or saw the event. The year here is generally the date when the observation was written down.
Now, if you are citing in a word-for-word exact manner, phrases or 2-3 sentences can be included between quotation marks in a paragraph and include the page number in the footnote or the in-text parenthetical note. for example: (Martens, 2003, p. 7). If a longer quotation is used, it should be in a separate paragraph, indented from both margins (usually by .5") and italicized - still including the footnote or in-text parenthetical note that specifies the page source too.
Judii, Coordinator, Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta