job security

Tonight I read a Star Trek novel by Diane Duane called The Wounded Sky. In it, the Enterprise™ makes use of an experimental device to travel outside of the Milky Way to another galaxy. The writing is well done, and like many of the early Star Trek novels, it presents physics that are unique and not restricted to the known Star Trek Universe post-TNG/DS9/Voyager/etc.

What caught my attention the most, however, is the list of reference sources at the end of the book. The two journal citations written before the book’s 1983 publication, I assume to exist in reality. The other four are obviously creations of the author’s imagination. No matter how creative and fantastic are the futures envisioned by science fiction authors, journals still have their place in them. As a serials librarian, I find great comfort in that.

3 thoughts on “job security”

  1. What I want to know is has the future devised a foolproof method for listing references and citations?

    Or are they still stuck with APA/MLA/Chicago/etc.?

    (Don’t mind me too much — I am currently grinding my teeth over the fact that the APA thinks the right thing to do with someone’s work is to change the title capitalization selected by the editors/authors. When I write a book, I want it cited the way I titled it. Grrrr.)

  2. In my not-so-humble opinion, citation format is irrelevant unless consistency within a document is required. As long as all of the pertinent information needed to locate the cited reference is included, then format is merely a formality for jumping through someone else’s hoops. A lack of complete citation information borders on plagiarism, which is why authors should strive to have as much information in the citation as is possible.

    Catalogers decided long ago that rather than worry over how to treat a wide variety of format choices for titles, all titles would begin with the first letter of the word capitalized and the subsequent words in lower case. That will probably put your panties in a bunch, too, but at least everyone gets the same treatment.

  3. APA citation format is like cataloger style.

    For some reason, I am not nearly as upset by what catalogers do as with being required to do it myself in a reference list for a paper. I just hate overriding someone’s decision about what to title a book or paper. (By which I really mean: the published authors I know tend to be tediously freaked about titles for weeks, months, or years on end while the book is not yet published, and I hate to be the one erasing the results of all that angst.)

    It’s odd what strange things one learns about oneself when one goes back to school in midlife.

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