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1.4 What are the standards for good quotation citation?




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This article is from the Quotations FAQ, by Sir Hans dok@fwi.uva.nl Jason Newquist jrnewquist@ucdavis.edu with numerous contributions by others.

1.4 What are the standards for good quotation citation?


I distrust all systematisers, and avoid them. The will
to a system shows a lack of honesty.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900)
"G\"otzen-D\"ammerung [The Twilight of the Idols]" (1888)
``Maxims and Missiles'' no. 26

A quotation really must have an author, unless it's a very well
known ``anonymous'' statement, such as the one describing television
programs as ``chewing gum for the eyes.''[3] If you know birth and
death years of the author, give those as well, and if the author is
only a person of minor fame, telling us who she or he is would be nice.

[3]

@A: anonymous *
@Q: So much chewing gum for the eyes.
@R: in James Beasley Simpson "Best Quotes of '50, '55, '56 " (1957) p. 233
@%: A small boy's definition of certain television programmes. Commonly
attributed in a different form to Frank Lloyd Wright and others.

There is always great interest in as complete sources, so if you
know the book, play, or whatever else your quotations come from, give
them as well.

If you quote from the Koran or the Bible or another large,
well-known ``anonymous'' work, you can give the title of the work as
the ``author'', and give the book, chapter, verse, etc. in the
reference line.

We here at the Institute for Experimental Quotology have developed
a special format to keep one's quotations in. The advantages are
manifold and will become apparent upon inspection. Unfortunately
there are also one or two minor disadvantages, such as the fact that
you practically have to be either a rocket scientist or me to
understand it. Anyhow, adherence to this standard "would" be nice and
appreciated. If you do have comments, ideas or whatever to improve it,
or to radically reorganize it, do not hesitate to e-mail me (Sir Hans)
at dok@fwi.uva.nl.

The system:

``@A: '' author and birth/death information. Giving the last name of
the author first will allow for easy sorting. When you are sure the
quotation is exact, append an asterisk (``*'') to this line.

``@Q: '' the quotation come directly after this. If verse is quoted,
indicate empty lines with a ``.''

``@T: '' if the original quotation is from a foreign language, and you
happen to know the original as well, the original appears after
``@Q: '', and the translation in this field. If you don't know the
original, put the translation in the ``@Q: '' field.

``@D: '' this is the field to give particulars with regard to the
quotation that do not actually comment on the quotation itself,
including date, and whether it is an ``attributed'' remark.

``@R: '' the reference for the quotation; i.e. not ``Letter to John
Smith'' or ``Speech at the MIT'' (these should go into the ``@D:''
field) but a work where the quotation can be found. Titles of works
are given in Italic type (here represented by starting and ending with
an underscore ``"''). Titles of pieces appearing as part of a
published volume appear inside double inverted commas (``''). An
``in'' means that the line is quoted in that work. A default ``@R:''
line looks like this:

@R: "Name of Publication" (date) ``name of piece'' place in publication

Standard abbreviations used are:

            bk.         book
            ch.         chapter
            l.          line
            n.          note
            no.         number
            p.          page
            para.       paragraph
            pt.         part
            sc.         scene
            sect.       section
            st.         stanza
            subsect.    subsection
            v.          verse
            vol.        volume

The book, part, chapter etc. numbers can always appear in arabic.
What's the use of old-fashioned roman numerals?

``@%: '' possibly needed comment on the quotation, e.g. explaining what
the quotation is about, or giving some useful info (``She died minutes
later'').

``@K: '' keywords; you shouldn't place the complete set of nouns here,
but something descriptive of the idea behind the quotation, or the
subject. There are also extended keywords: a sort of higher level
keyword to allow subjects to be grouped together, like literature or
famous people. A possible keyword line would look like this:

@K: literature:poetry; people:Milton, John

The keyword line is often neglected by people who do not want to spend
their days being bored to death.

On indentation: for prose, start the first line on the same line as
``@Q:'' in the ninth column, and any subsequent lines in the fifth
column. Left-align poetry, and start in the ninth column; an exception
could be made in cases where the poem depends on its shape--though this
would usually take us outside the quotation range and into the
copyright-infringment range, size-wise speaking. If you have thought
of a way to quote from Mary Ellen Solt's ``semiotic poems'' in ASCII, I
don't want to hear from you. You're probably scary.

Some examples:

    @A: Acheson, Dean (1893-1971) *
    @Q:     Great Britain has lost an Empire and has not yet found a role.
    @D: [1962.12.05] Speech at the Military Academy, West Point
    @R: in "Vital Speeches" 1 January 1963, p. 163
 
    Note the format on the ``@D: '' line: it allows for easy sorting on
    date.  The asterisk behind the name indicates exactness.
 
    @A: Anne, Princess (1950-)
    @Q:     It's a very boring time.  I am not particularly maternal--it's
        an occupational hazard of being a wife.
    @D: [1981] TV interview
    @%: On pregnancy.
    @K: pregnancy

Here the use of the ``@%: '' field becomes apparent. The keyword may
seem redundant, but the as-yet-hypothetical archive will be the better
for it, allowing easy retrieval of quotations on a subject. This
quotation is from somewhere on the net, and I am therefore less than
sure of the exactness, hence no asterisk.

    @A: Li Yeh (fl. 8th cent.) *
    @Q:     It is good to get drunk once in a while.
            What else is there to do?
    @R: ``A Greeting to Lu Hung-Chien'' in Kenneth Rexroth and Ling Chung
        (ed. and tr.) "The Orchid Boat, Women Poets of China" (1972)

A rather different ``@R:'' line here. That's what you get when you
quote from obscure people.

 

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