Historical citation

Course date(s): 
10 Nov 2014
Course tutor(s): 
Fee: 
£25

Abstract

This half-day workshop explains the theory and practice of correct referencing by historians. It explores the different citation systems historians use and explains when, where and how to cite sources and authorities both manually and using citation management software.

Course details

Correct referencing is a sine qua non of serious historical writing; although it is sometimes overlooked, the skills and knowledge required to do it properly are complex and crucial for any aspiring historian to acquire.  This half-day workshop will provide a complete grounding in when, where and how to cite sources and authorities in historical writing. First we shall briefly explore why citation is considered such a crucial proof and badge of scholarly legitimacy and consider, in the light of this discussion, where referencing is essential and where it is not. Secondly , we shall examine the principal systems of referencing chosen by historians, characterising their respective strengths and exploring the factors most important in deciding which to employ in any particular piece of work. The principal division is between those systems which favour  citation in the body of the text (e.g. Harvard) and those which favour foot- or end-notes. Attention will be paid to the varied uses of notes not just as a means of referencing but as a forum for comment additional to the main text. We shall further explore how to refer to material in forms that are less familiar to historians, be it information stored online or sources that are visual, material or similarly unwritten. Lastly we shall consider and assess the various computer software packages – EndNote, Zotero and others – that are available to assist in managing sources and citations.