Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Are electronic journals changing the way we cite articles?

Back in the day, journal articles were cited something like this:

Christopher Tuckett, “Thomas and the Synoptics”, NovT 30 (1988), 132-57

There was a simplicity about this kind of reference, and it made sense of the practice of finding an article. For all but the most current issues, we would go to the bound volumes of the journal in question, and all you'd need for that would be the volume number, the year and the page numbers. To add the issue number would be superfluous. But I've noticed now just how inconvenient it can be only to have that information in the light of ever increasing access to journals electronically. You can make a rough guess as to whereabouts the page numbers might be in a given issue, but more often than not, one makes the wrong choice. I must admit that I am now adjusting my own practice and, as far as possible, adding issue numbers to my citations, so that one like the above becomes:

Christopher Tuckett, “Thomas and the Synoptics”, NovT 30.2 (1988), 132-57

Of course things are simpler when you are reaching an article through a search and you are able to click through to the article in question, but it's now often helpful to have the issue information handy for occasions when one is in browse mode.


Stephen C. Carlson said...

I think it may depend on the journal. Some online interfaces are better than others in making it clear which pages numbers correspond to which issue. In other words, I'm not uniformly frustrated by the lack of issue numbers in citations.

Danny Zacharias said...

If you want to be ultra-hip, and go in the way of some citation styles, cite the DOI in your bibliography. A colleague mentioned that the latest Turabian suggests this.