46 posts categorized "Electronic references"

September 02, 2010

Computer Editing Tip: Paste Special

Chelsea blog by Chelsea Lee

If you have ever cut and pasted information from a webpage into a word-processing document, you know what a mess you can get of font face, size, color, and spacing. It takes one click to paste and then five more steps to get the format to match your default settings—very aggravating. Paste Special is a feature of Microsoft Word (the program I use—please share solutions for other software in the comments) that can make your work easier and more accurate. It allows you to skip the format wrangling and to paste just the text you selected using the same settings as in your document.

What Paste Special Is Good For

Paste Special is helpful when you want to copy and paste from your Internet browser window or PDF into your Word document. You can use Paste Special to help construct your reference list, and in doing so you can reduce transcription errors and save time. For example, you can use it to copy and paste 

  • DOIs,
  • URLs, and
  • text from PDFs or any webpage.

How to Use Paste Special

To use Paste Special, first copy the text you want from your webpage. Second, put your cursor where you want to paste in your Word document. Then select Paste Special from the Edit menu (Word 2003) or from the Paste button on the Home Tab (Word 2007, 2010). A dialog box like the one below will pop up.

Pastespecialdialog


Select “Unformatted text” or “Unformatted Unicode Text” (the latter seems to work better when copying from a PDF), and click OK. Your copied text will paste in the same format as the text that surrounds it in your document.  

Shortcuts

If you prefer to use keyboard shortcuts, the combination for Paste Special is either ALT+V (Word 2003) or CTRL+ALT+V (Word 2007, 2010). Finally, if you really know your way around the computer, this DIY lesson will show you how to make a one-key shortcut for Paste Special (it uses a Word macro to skip the dialog box and paste unformatted text directly).

Stay tuned for more editing tips! And please share your own tips in the comments.

March 19, 2010

How to Cite Facebook: Fan Pages, Group Pages, and Profile Information

[Note 10/18/2013: Please view an updated and expanded version of this post at http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2013/10/how-to-cite-social-media-in-apa-style.html]

Chelsea blogby Chelsea Lee

Although Facebook citations may not be in the Publication Manual, this blog has addressed how to cite Facebook in general (just mention the URL in text) and how to cite particular Facebook status updates (make a reference list entry) in APA Style. That advice still holds true.

Now to discuss how to cite specific information from Facebook other than status updates, such as anything on a publically viewable page (e.g., a fan page, group page, info tab, boxes tab, etc.). Here are two templates, based on the APA Style FAQ for how to cite information from a website with no author, year, or page numbers:

Username or Group Name. (n.d.). In Facebook [Page type]. Retrieved Month 
Day, Year, from http://www.facebook.com/specificpageURL
  • When the date is unknown, use n.d. for “no date.”

  • Describe the source type inside square brackets.

Username or Group Name. [ca. 2010]. In Facebook [Page type]. Retrieved 
Month Day, Year, from http://www.facebook.com/specificpageURL
  • When the date can be reasonably certain but isn’t stated on the document, use a bracketed date and “ca.” (see also Example 67, p. 214).

 

Example Citations

Because examples make everything more fun, let’s say I am writing about the cognition skills of the great apes and I discuss Nonja, an orangutan armed with a digital camera who lives in the Vienna Tiergarten Zoo (read more about her in this Daily Mail article). Here’s a citation for her Facebook fan page:

Nonja. (n.d.). In Facebook [Fan page]. Retrieved March 17, 2010, from 
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nonja/190010092116

In my next paper about the power of nostalgia and viral marketing, I refer to the Facebook group page for When I was your age, Pluto was a planet. As of this writing it had more than 1.8 million members (and its founder has even been interviewed by NASA). Here’s a citation for the group page:

When I was your age, Pluto was a planet. [ca. 2009]. In Facebook [Group 
page]. Retrieved December 16, 2009,
from http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2207893888

For all these citations, whether to use "n.d." or "[ca. 2010]" is a judgment call and up to you, depending on the situation. And remember to double check your URLs—many pages can share the same name, so you need the right URL to tell them apart.

 

Private Page Citation

Because content from private or friends-only Facebook pages or profiles is not retrievable by everyone, if you cite it, it should be treated as personal communication (see section 6.20, p. 179).


What other social media citation conundrums do you have?

January 21, 2010

The Generic Reference: What?

Photo1-21-10 by Sarah Wiederkehr

This post is part of an ongoing series about how references work. Check out an introduction to the generic APA Style reference and posts on the author or "who" element and the date or "when" element. Upcoming posts will discuss the "where" question, as well as give advice on adding supplementary information in brackets and on mixing and matching elements of example references.

To continue on this virtual journey of how to form a reference when the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association does not have an example that matches your situation, I am going to discuss the "what" of the generic reference, otherwise known as the title of the work. First, let’s look at a "skeleton" reference to better illustrate from whence we have come (and where we are going) in learning how to form a generic reference:

Who. (When). What. Where.

What Is a Title, and What if There Isn’t One?

The "what" of the reference, namely, the title of the work, is arguably the least troublesome element of a reference. Most works have a title. For journal articles, the title is simply the title of the article. For book chapters, the title is the title of the chapter. For books, the title of the book is what is needed, and so on. If no title is present, you need merely describe the work, and to indicate that what you are providing is a description and not a formal title, you would enclose this information within brackets. For an example of this type of reference, see Example 60 on p. 212 of the Publication Manual.

When Do I Italicize a Title?

"So," you may be asking, "how do I know whether to italicize the title?" As a general rule of thumb, italicize the parent element of a publication only. What is contained in the title element of a reference is sometimes considered the parent element of a publication, but sometimes this is not the case. For example, when forming a reference for a journal article, the article (the child element) is contained within the journal (the parent element), so the article title would not be italicized, but the journal title would be. For book chapters, follow the same pattern—italicize the title of the book but not the title of the chapter. For books, reports, dissertations, motion pictures, and other works that are not published as part of a larger entity, however—that is, they are not part of a series, a film series, or any other kind of compilation—italicize the title of the work, which will appear in the title element spot (a.k.a. the "what" placeholder shown above). In a reference that contains both a child and a parent publication element, the parent element is considered to be part of the "where" element, which will be explained in a later post.

Unusual Titles

Two slightly unusual occurrences that can affect the title element are worth mentioning here. The first, which will be explained in further detail in a forthcoming post, concerns the inclusion of nonroutine information, within brackets, after the title. There are many examples of this throughout Chapter 7 of the Publication Manual, and the practice is described on p. 186. The second unusual occurrence worth mentioning is what happens when the author element is empty. As you may remember from Chelsea’s earlier post on the author element of the generic reference, in such cases, the title is simply moved into the author position. Using our skeleton reference from the beginning of this post, the end result would be as follows:

What. (When). Where.

In such cases, all of the information contained in the title element, including any nonroutine information in brackets, would appear as the first element and would be followed by a period. In the reference list, alphabetize such entries by the first significant word in the title.

Coming Soon

Stay tuned for two forthcoming posts on (a) the fourth and final element of the generic reference, otherwise known as the "where" element, and (b) the inclusion of nonroutine information in references.

January 07, 2010

The Generic Reference: Who?

Chelsea blog by Chelsea Lee

This post is part of an ongoing series about how references work.

When you need a reference citation but nothing in the Publication Manual seems to fit, it helps to understand the generic template that all APA Style references follow. As discussed previously, the generic reference answers four interrogative questions: Who? When? What? and Where?

This post addresses the “who” or author element. Upcoming posts discuss the "when," "what," and "where" questions, as well as give advice on adding supplementary information in brackets and on mixing and matching elements of example references when what you need isn’t in the manual.

Who Is Responsible for This Content?

To determine authorship, ask yourself, “who is responsible for this content?” Most often, the “who” will be one person, or several people, who have served as authors or editors. But keep in mind that entities (governments, associations, agencies, companies, etc.) can also function as authors or editors. See pp. 196–197 of the Publication Manual for an index of the author variation examples available.
 
“No Author”: Are You Sure?

Oftentimes when it appears there is no author, a company or organization of some sort is actually responsible for the content. For example, if you are reporting on H1N1/swine flu pandemic of 2009, one of your sources might be a CDC brief like the one cited below, which was authored by an entity (the CDC) rather than a specific person:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2009). CDC recommendations 
for the amount of time persons with influenza-like illness should
be away from others.
Retrieved from
http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance/exclusion.htm

In other cases, there might be no author explicitly stated but you can be reasonably certain who it is. Example 67 in the manual shows an author name in square brackets to show that the author is “reasonably certain but not stated on the document” (p. 214). This is a new style guideline for APA, so we don’t have much practice in using it, but it’s available to you. 

“No Author”: For Sure

In some cases, there truly is no way to pin down who the author is. We treat this as “no author.” In reference citations, we handle this by moving the content’s title into the author position (with no quotation marks around it). This most commonly occurs for wiki entries, dictionary entries, and unattributed website content. In the in-text citation, the title (put inside double quotation marks) likewise takes the place of the author’s name.

Other Resources on Authorship in References

Pages 196–197 in the 6th ed. of the Publication Manual list the author variations in the reference examples.

These FAQs and blogs address how to cite when there is no author:

How to cite....

December 10, 2009

How to Find a DOI

Timothy.mcadoo by Timothy McAdoo

Ever had trouble finding a DOI? In the video below, we demonstrate how to find a DOI in a variety of ways: from an article’s record in APA PsycINFO (on a number of vendor platforms), from an article itself (hard copy version or electronic), or from CrossRef’s Simple Text Query form.

We hope this visual demonstration is helpful. Are there other tutorials about APA Style that you’d like to see? Let us know!

P.S. For more detailed background information on DOIs, see Chelsea’s recent DOI primer. And for information about using DOIs and URLs in your references, don’t miss the DOI and URL flowchart!

A larger version of this tutorial, with a navigation menu option, is available here.

October 26, 2009

How to Cite Twitter and Facebook, Part II: Reference List Entries and In-Text Citations

[Note 10/18/2013: Please view an updated and expanded version of this post at http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2013/10/how-to-cite-social-media-in-apa-style.html]


Chelsea blogby Chelsea Lee

Previously I talked about how to cite Twitter and Facebook posts or feeds in general, which you can do quite easily by mentioning the URLs in text (with no reference list entries required).

Today I address some of the issues pertaining to citing particular posts, which require both reference list entries and in-text citations. As you may have noticed, the Publication Manual does not give specific guidance on how to do this. This is an evolving area, and blog discussions will be considered as we create guidelines related to these new references sources for future APA Style products.

What to do in the meantime? Below are examples of one approach to citing tweets and Facebook updates. Until more definitive guidance is available, feel free to use this approach or another that is also clear and gives the reader enough information about the source to be able to locate it.


First, here are screenshots of my examples from Twitter and Facebook (click to enlarge): 

 Baracktweet  Barackfb

The suggested reference list entries below generally follow the format for citation of online sources (see pp. 214–215):

BarackObama. (2009a, July 15). Launched American Graduation Initiative 
to help additional 5 mill. Americans graduate college by 2020:
http://bit.ly/gcTX7 [Twitter post]. Retrieved from
http://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/2651151366
Barack Obama. (2009b, October 9). Humbled. 
 http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/obamaforamerica/gGM45m 
 [Facebook update]. Retrieved from http://www.facebook.com/posted.php? 
id=6815841748&share_id=154954250775&comments=1#s154954250775

Here’s the rationale I used for presenting each element in the reference: 

  • I included the author name as written (not changing BarackObama or Barack Obama to Obama, B.; see Example 76, p. 215). For simplicity’s sake and to ensure accuracy, it’s best to include names as written for Facebook and Twitter citations. 

  • Alphabetize under B, not O, ignoring the space (i.e., BarackObama and Barack Obama are treated the same, so you would next arrange them chronologically; see also section 6.25 of the manual, pp. 181–182). 

  • The date includes the year and day, but not the time. The date gives ample specificity without adding an element of how to format times, which isn’t done anywhere else in APA Style. 

  • To differentiate among posts from the same person in the same year (or even the same day), you can include ”a” or “b” after the year, in chronological order. If you have only one post from the writer in a year, then it is not necessary to include “a” or “b.” 

  • I included the whole post in the title position (mine included a URL, so I included that too). Facebook updates, however, might be quite long—if that is the case, you might use a truncated version of the post in the title position. 

  • It’s helpful to provide a description of form inside brackets, such as Twitter post or Facebook update. 

  • The URL leads directly to the post rather than to the feed in general, in order to be as direct and specific as possible about what is being cited. Click the date and time stamp beneath the post in question (seen in the screenshots) and you will be taken to the individual status update page with its own URL.


For in-text citations, parenthetical citation may be easiest:

President Obama announced the launch of the American Graduation Initiative 
(BarackObama, 2009a). He also stated that he was “humbled” to have 
received the Nobel Peace Prize (Barack Obama, 2009b).

One last issue is retrievability. Because online social media are more about live updates than archiving, we don’t know if these status update pages will still be here in a year, or 5, or 20 years. So if you are writing for publication, it may be prudent to self-archive any social media updates you include in your articles (check out this post by Gunther Eysenbach on some ways to do this).

  

What’s Next

I hope to bring you more in the future on citing social media posts, for example, citing hash-tagged conversationsalthough first we must figure out how to securely archive them (the adorably named Twapper Keeper might meet this need).

How have you addressed citing, archiving, and retrieving tweets and other social media posts in your field of expertise?

October 23, 2009

How to Cite Twitter and Facebook, Part I: General

[Note 10/18/2013: Please view an updated and expanded version of this post at http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2013/10/how-to-cite-social-media-in-apa-style.html]

 

Chelsea blog by Chelsea Lee

Because posts from online social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, are not yet often fodder for scholarly research, specific reference examples aren’t included in the Publication Manual. Well, whenever you need a reference format for something that’s not explicitly covered in the manual, you can adapt our examples to meet your needs (see p. 193). I’ll show you how, using example posts from President Obama’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

To cite a Twitter or Facebook feed as a whole or to discuss it in general, it is sufficient to give the site URL in text, inside parentheses. There is no need for a reference list entry.           

President Obama uses Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/barackobama) and 
Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/barackobama) to keep citizens up 
to speed on his initiatives, especially health care reform and Supreme 
Court nominations. 

 It’s the same method you’d use to cite a website as a whole (see this FAQ).

 On Monday I will address citing particular Twitter or Facebook posts.

October 16, 2009

APA Style for Citing Interviews

Timothy.mcadoo by Timothy McAdoo

“I’m quoting Johnny Depp from an interview I read in a magazine. But the Publication Manual has no reference format for interviews. What do I do?”

I’ve always said there are two types of interviews in this world: those you conducted and those you didn’t! Let’s look at both. 

The guidance on p. 179 of the Publication Manual about citing personal communications mentions “personal interviews” as one example. Let’s say you interview a professor about her lifetime of work in the field of industrial and organizational psychology. Because a reader would not be able to find your interview in print or online, no recoverable data are available. You’ll need to use the “personal communication” in-text citation style shown on p. 179.

Of course, these days it can be easy to make your data recoverable. If you have a blog or another publishing outlet online, you could post the text of your interview. Then you’d want to follow the appropriate reference format.  If you’ve posted to your blog, for example, use the Example 76 (“Blog post”) on p. 215 of the Publication Manual

Finally, if you’ve simply read an interview conducted by someone else, you should pick the reference format appropriate for the source. If you read the interview in a magazine, for example, you’d want to follow Example 7 (“Magazine article”) on p. 200.

I hope this post clears up that small point of confusion about citing interviews. Some of my favorite interviews are from Studs Terkel’s oral histories. What are yours?

October 14, 2009

How to Cite Wikipedia in APA Style

Timothy.mcadoo

by Timothy McAdoo

First things first. Is it a good idea to cite Wikipedia in your research paper? Generally speaking, no. In fact, if you’re writing a paper as a class assignment, your teacher may specifically prohibit citing Wikipedia. Scholarly papers should generally rely on peer-reviewed and other scholarly work vetted by experts in the field.

Does this mean Wikipedia contains bad information? Not at all. It is a great way to get an overview of a topic that might be new to you. And, because many Wikipedia entries contain thorough citations, they can be good starting points to find the original source materials you do want to use. Don’t quote or paraphrase from the Wikipedia entry in your paper, but check the entry’s Reference section to find links to more authoritative sources. And be sure to find and read these sources to verify the facts, figures, and points of view they present.

But, of course, there are times when citing a Wikipedia entry itself is appropriate. For example, let’s say you are writing a paper on how social media and crowdsourcing influence definitions of common psychology terms. Wikipedia would be one excellent source for this topic!

Example 30 (“Entry in an online reference work, no author or editor”) from p. 205 of the Publication Manual can be used for Wikipedia or other wikis. The following example is for the Wikipedia entry on “psychology.” Note that the retrieval date is needed in this case because, as true for any wiki entry, the source material may change over time.

Psychology. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 14, 2009, from
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology

September 24, 2009

What to Use—The Full Document URL or Home Page URL?

Paige-for-web-site 75x75

by Paige Jackson

Following on from Annie’s post yesterday on URLs, today I wanted to share some tips that might help in deciding what to use when. With the increasing predominance of electronic publishing, it’s a challenge to know how best to cite documents you find online. The DOI is the gold standard, and eventually all documents will have their own DOIs. In the meantime, it’s not always easy to know what to do. If you find a document on the Internet (but not from a database) that you want to cite for which there is no DOI, is it better to cite the full document URL or the publisher home page URL?

The question to ask before deciding which to include is, Which will be most helpful to the reader in locating the document? The following are some instances when the homepage URL would be most helpful (all examples refer to Chapter 7 in the Publication Manual):

  • Subscription wall—If the document is available online only by subscription, the document URL would not be accessible by nonsubscribers. The homepage URL, however, lets the reader know who the publisher is and therefore what databases the reader might look to to access the document.
  • Unstable document URL—If the publisher is one for which document URLs are subject to change, the home page URL is more likely to be helpful (see Examples 11 and 19a).

In the following cases, the full document URL is likely to take the reader to the source more reliably:

  • Publisher website that’s difficult to search—Some publisher homepages—such as those of government agencies or nongovernmental organizations—can be difficult to search, so citing the full URL for a document that takes the reader directly to the document may save time (see Examples 9, 31, and 33).
  • Message posted to a blog or other online forum—Similarly, it can be difficult to locate a particular message on a blog website, so providing the URL that will lead the reader to the message would be the best choice (see Examples 74–77).

This list is not exhaustive—we hope it will give a sense of factors that should guide your decision. A URL is imperfect in pointing the reader to an electronic source, but for many sources, it’s the best we can do. So don’t belabor the issue—make an informed guess as to whether the publisher home page URL or the full document URL is more likely to lead the reader to the document in question, and move on!

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