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Art Books As Source Material

Given the sorts of things I write papers about, I occasionally have to figure out ways to cite some very weird media in my bibliographies. Thank God for e-mail -- it means that I can take a citation of "something I once heard a cantor say," get it in writing, and have an actual document to cite. There is the juggernaut that is Turabian's manual for writers, with its chapter full of examples of how to cite everything from a regular book to an unpublished interview or even a painting. There are people who work hard to figure out how to cite the most obscure sources.

However, all that effort is as naught against the forces of a source that, out of some publisher's peeved perversion, deliberately makes itself difficult to cite. Art books are the major culprits here. I needed one fact from one of two introductions to a collection of old Little Orphan Annie strips from the 1930s and 1940s. Simple, right? It's in a book, and Turabian helpfully shows you how to cite an introduction.

Ha. Ha ha ha. The official author of the book is Harold Gray, who created the strip. Unfortunately, he died before that introduction was written. The other introduction is by Al Capp, but no one will cop to having written the introduction I wanted to cite. So much for "author." There's also no page number on either of the introductions. In fact, there are no page numbers anywhere in the book. In and of itself, this does not faze me -- I learned how to deal with that sort of citation during Le Thesis. The two introductions take up only four pages, so it's easy enough to locate the fact that I cited. But what if I'd cited dialogue from the strip? You'd never be able to go through and find the source then, no matter how careful my citation was.

I tell ya -- I spend a whole year in various bibliography classes learning how to do right by my sources, and this is how they repay me? What am I, chopped liver?

Comments

arwensommer
Mar. 17th, 2007 11:42 am (UTC)
Hmm... this complaint sounds very familiar. Though, might I impose upon you to tell me where I might find this Turabian thingum? I have The Bluebook and the Bedford Handbook for Writers, but not this, and it sounds like I might be able to use it, with what I have in mind for my graduate thesis.

However, that is not why I replied. At least... not directly/wholly. I wanted to say thank you for filling out my poll, and especially for making me grin when I read one of your answers. Thank you, I needed that after pages and pages of Very. Dry. Academia.
frenchpony
Mar. 17th, 2007 12:56 pm (UTC)
You'd probably find Turabian's book in finer reference sections anywhere. It's available from the University of Chicago Press:

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/hfs.cgi/00/12917.ctl

I actually own the fifth edition, not the sixth, because I bought mine at a used bookstore in Grad School Town for cheap a couple of years ago. The sixth edition is much bigger and fancier, and probably takes electronic resources more into account.

Which poll answer did you like? Honestly, I don't even remember how I answered that any more, because my brain has been consumed with thoughts of wayang wahyu.
arwensommer
Mar. 17th, 2007 01:00 pm (UTC)
Most people gave various examples of corporate crime, but you simply said "being Enron".

The reason it was so amusing? Because that's -exactly- what provoked the survey (and especially question 4: "How would you define "organizational crime"?")

As for the "finer reference sections"... Alas, that would be "anywhere but here" as I had the biggest trouble finding even an introductory work to psychology the other day... much less something as specific as a reference manual... :(
frenchpony
Mar. 17th, 2007 01:14 pm (UTC)
Have you seen the movie Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room? I thought that was a fantastic movie. The fall of Enron had a massive effect on people all over the U.S. -- everyone followed it as it went down, but most people couldn't understand exactly what Enron had done or how it collapsed. All they knew was that Enron had screwed lots of people out of their jobs, and that it had had so much influence that lots more people who didn't work directly for Enron were also screwed. This, coming relatively soon after 9/11, had a big impression on people. The nice thing about the movie is that, after you watch it, you may not completely understand the Enron thing, but a) you feel that the filmmakers do, and b) you understand it a little better, at least.

You could definitely order the Turabian guide from the U of C press, if your university accepts the Chicago style for paper writing.
arwensommer
Mar. 17th, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC)
I've heard about it, yes, but haven't actually -seen- the movie. The problem with a lot of these high-profile cases (Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Food Services (Ahold), Parmalat, Barings Bank) is that most people really don't know what happened or how they were even able to get away with it. I'll have to see if it's available somewhere. And FYI, Enron cost thousands of people their jobs worldwide. Just look at the collapse of Arthur Andersen...

As for style of writing? My university is one of those that says "We don't care -which- style you use, as long as you're consistent and we're able to trace what you referenced." Yay for vague guidelines?

Mind if I add you to my F-list? I read some of your public entries and they're interesting!
frenchpony
Mar. 17th, 2007 01:52 pm (UTC)
Well, if you're doing a project on organizational crime, that's definitely a movie to see, posthaste.

Mind if I add you to my F-list? I read some of your public entries and they're interesting!

Sure. Go right ahead. Ancient Armenia welcomes just about everyone.
arwensommer
Mar. 17th, 2007 02:24 pm (UTC)
... Color me purple and call me Barney... my usual bookstore didn't have Turabian's manual (said it had a 20 business days delivery window minimum)... but I found it elsewhere... So I went ahead and ordered it, as well as the Enron movie. I have to do a presentation on Friday, so hopefully, I can use the DVD!

Thank you for the tips!

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