Monday, 20 March 2006

The footnote controversy

Here at Faith and Theology, we have recently been discussing the various forms of referencing—footnotes, endnotes, sidenotes, in-text references (and we forgot to mention a fifth option, no notes—I know of one prestigious historical journal that has a strict policy of “no notes or references”).

To settle the controversy, my friend Aaron Ghiloni has just created a new poll where you can vote on your preferred method of referencing. I have just cast my own very emphatic vote—for footnotes, of course!

7 Comments:

Aaron G said...

Thanks Ben!

kim fabricius said...

I wonder if future observers of the theological blogosphere will look back on these posts about the marking of books and the location of notes in the same way that contemporary folk look back on the disputes among the schoolmen about the number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin - and at at least there were important philosophical issues at stake over the medieval mathematics. So this is all just a bit of fun, right? Well, isn't it?!

Ben Myers said...

Hi Kim -- yes, I'm sure the whole discussion has been very much tongue-in-cheek!

But as for "future observers of the theological blogosphere" -- what a shocking thought! Surely the blogosphere is even less important than debates about footnotes... ;-)

Stephen G said...

"Surely the blogosphere is even less important than debates about footnotes..."

Which of course renders the blogosphere a mere footnote in history :-)

Dustin said...

I find that I will almost never take the time to reference things within endnotes. It is just so tedious, and by the time I make it to the endnotes, I have forgotten what I am really searching for. My vote would be for the entire world to adopt a policy of footnotes, rather than any other option. That way I can make a note of things that interest me at that moment, and then proceed further.

Chris Petersen said...

On the whole footnotes are definitely preferable. But there are times when end notes are just more convenient. For example, I'm currently reading John P. Meier's "A Marginal Jew," and his end notes are so extensive that to make them footnotes would just be impossible for the reader. But footnotes are defintely preferable.

Thom said...

I vote footnotes, they are where it's at. Footnotes give a backstage pass to the real meat of the argument, or they add winsome detail or critique that forms a narrative within a narrative. I love watching the two narratives play off against each other as I read, and would hate to see this go in favor of no-notes Constantinianism.

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