Footnotes in the Digital Age
Posted: 18 September 2014 06:17 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Still a good idea.

Languagehat has also commented on the article.

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Posted: 18 September 2014 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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What you said.

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Posted: 18 September 2014 10:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Citation needed.  :-P

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Posted: 18 September 2014 02:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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From the comments on the languagehat site:

des von bladet says:
September 18, 2014 at 2:02 am
Page numbers give me a sad in the feelings.

I understand what they’re good for, but they are part of the Codicial Ideological Complex (CIC) that causes a lot of non-treeware to be distributed as pdfs instead of something sane because when creating a document even for the screen the first question that gets asked and answered is “what size rectangle of wood pulp do you plan to smear pigment on?”, even when the correct answer is – as it almost always is – “yo dawg we don’t do that shizzle anymore”.

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Posted: 19 September 2014 03:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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that causes a lot of non-treeware to be distributed as pdfs instead of something sane

PDFs are very sane:

1) Open source viewers and editors are available, so the format is not dependent on the fortunes of a single corporation.
2) Platform independence. If it has a display, you can read a PDF on it, at least in theory.
3) Preserves the mise-en-page. (Often not necessary, but sometimes important.)
4) Ubiquity. You can have confidence that pretty much everyone will be able to read the document.
5) Longevity. It’s not going away any time soon.
6) Backwards compatibility. Old files will always be able to be read.

It’s true that there are a lot of things that PDFs don’t do well, and they’re not the best format for all digital documents, but it’s hardly an insane choice.

What I’d really like to see is an open source digital format that allows for easy linking to other portions of the document--the digital equivalent of the thumbing through the pages to look up a note, check the table of contents, or look at a chart that is referenced but appears elsewhere. I’ve yet to find a reader that does this in a “sane” manner. For example, I bought the Kindle version of Penguin’s Canterbury Tales edited by Jill Mann. The print version has marginal glosses for difficult ME words, which the Kindle version had converted to hyperlinked footnotes. Not only is clicking the link, going to the note page, and then clicking back, a cumbersome process--especially since it’s hard to click on the small print and the links are often near the edge of the screen which results in you turning the page instead of clicking the link--but it turned the text into a sea of alphanumeric unreadability. The only saving grace is that it was only about $10, so it still had some utility as a backup copy just in case I ever needed to reference it and hadn’t thought to tote the paper copy around.

I like Kindle for casual reading, but for any scholarly work or anything I want to have ten years from now, give me a PDF. (PDFs don’t do endnotes well, but footnotes are no problem.)

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Posted: 19 September 2014 05:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Your response is far more thorough than mine; I’ve added it as an update to my post.

[ Edited: 19 September 2014 05:49 AM by languagehat ]
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Posted: 19 September 2014 06:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I like Kindle for casual reading, but for any scholarly work or anything I want to have ten years from now, give me a PDF. (PDFs don’t do endnotes well, but footnotes are no problem.)

----

That was a funny thing to say. I read PDFs on my Kindle.

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Posted: 20 September 2014 06:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I do too!

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Posted: 20 September 2014 06:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I was speaking of the Kindle format for books. I read PDFs on my tablet as well.

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Posted: 21 September 2014 07:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Then you should say .mobi, which avoids confusion.

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Posted: 22 September 2014 06:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Mr. Wilton’s essay is excellent. 

“Like Parks I don’t understand why we need to include a city of publication in the bibliographic entry for a book,...”

Let me see if I can come up with a plausible reason to use place of publication in footnotes.

When a text, say a Terry Pratchett novel, is published simultaneously in more than one country, as has happened, copy editors adjust language to suit multiple local readerships.
Minor, but sometimes significant, changes are made to the original text.  BE ‘bog roll’ might be changed to ‘toilet paper’ to make the meaning of a phrase more accesible to an AE reader.
The publisher and date might both be, for example, Macmillan, 2008, but London vs. New York might be useful information.  If such editorial practices extend to the Spanish-speaking
world, a Madrid edition of a work might include ‘tener enchufe’(to have influence, be well-connected), while that would be changed to a less sexually suggestive ‘tener palancas’ in Mexico, ‘tener palanca’ or ‘tener acomodo’ in Argentina,
‘tener rosca’ in Columbia, ‘tener muñeca’ in Bolivia, etc.  Place of publication in a footnote would explain the choice of colloquialism, regardless of the author’s nationality.

Another reason--this one more of a stretch--might be historical context.  Place names change with wars, moving borders and other collateral damage. If a work was published in Kiev, that might explain some attitudes contained in the text,
whereas an imprint from Kyiv could carry different contextual baggage. Ditto Volgograd and Stalingrad.

[ Edited: 22 September 2014 06:15 AM by cuchuflete ]
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Posted: 22 September 2014 07:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Another reason might be the existence of publishers with similar or identical names in different cities (in different countries).  A similar issue arises with a few scientific journals that share the same title: for instance, there is a journal called Chemotherapy published in Switzerland and (formerly, I think) another by the same name published in Japan.  In citations, one has to put “(Basel)” or “(Tokyo)” after the name of the journal.

[ Edited: 22 September 2014 07:32 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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