Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine / Volume 1, Number 6 / October 1, 1994 / Page 17


More on Citation Styles

Continuing the last several months' theme in MBOX:
From Fri Sep 16 23:14:47 1994
Date: Fri, 16 Sep 94 22:14:40 -0500
Subject: letter to the editor
Status: R

Dear Editor,

In the August 1994 issue of CMC Magazine, a column was
written regarding citation styles for information gathered
from the net. This issue has been discussed widely by
network inhabitants, communication scholars, and librarians.
May I suggest that readers have a look at my recent chapter
in a soon to be published book by SUNY Press? I have tried to 
compile the latest information on citations styles as well
as legal and ethical issues raised when using network texts
as research data.

Gurak, Laura J. "The Multifaceted and Novel Nature of
   Using Cybertexts as Research Data." in Computer Networking
   and Scholarship in the 21st Century University. Eds.
   Teresa Harrison and Timothy D. Stephen. Albany, SUNY Press:

Thank you.

Laura J. Gurak, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of Minnesota
Dept. of Rhetoric
Program in Scientific and Technical Communication
St. Paul, MN

I highly recommend Laura Gurak's chapter. In it, she surveys formats to cite electronic mail message and Usenet articles as well as the methodological and other issues involved with these citations.

Although many organizations responsible for bibliographic citation formats have been developing guidelines for non-paper based sources for many years and have begun to address Internet-based CMC, I know of no citation style that completely addresses the roles Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) and Uniform Resource Names can play (do you, readers?). I prefer how URLs compactly convey essential Internet locator information while at the same time list resources in a standard format amenable for use in Web browsers and in hypertext links. Hopefully, standards for file name extensions could go a long way to assisting users in evaluating the medium of the information (.au = audio file; .ia = illustrated audio; etc...).

Moreover, I feel citation formats must also addresses style issues with regard to hypermedia, giving guidelines for citation formats in hypertext as well as flat text, as I had outlined in the August MBOX.

I think Laura Gurak's suggestions she outlines in her chapter provide excellent formats for citing network communication. A format employing URLs (with considerations for URNs later on) can be the basis for citing Internet-based information.

-- John December

An open letter to PC Magazine's Bill Howard

From Sun Aug 21 22:37:03 EDT 1994
Newsgroups: alt.culture.internet
Subject: Open letter to Bill Howard (e-mail critic)
Date: 20 Aug 1994 23:00:33 -0700
Summary: An open letter to PC Mag's Bill Howard (e-mail critic)

In reference to PC Magazine Editor Bill Howard's editorial in the
September 13, 1994 issue of PC Magazine "Free E-Mail Can Be Costly,"
this is an open letter to him.

He claims the e-mail happy public, especially users of the internet, 
should be taught a lesson for their overuse. His suggestion: charge 
users 29c for each message and his e-mail account would contain 
less junk.

I am fully aware of the scope of abuse excess e-mail can cost a
company, or as you assert, society itself. I also understand the
tongue-in-cheek nature of your article. I must therefore apologize
for the seriousness of my letter, but I fear that your pen is more
powerful than you may think.

The Internet, and indeed electronic messaging in general, currently
stands as one of the few segments of society where one's
intelligence and communicative skill rise above one's social
standing and wealth. My words are as valuable and accessible as any
others. Your suggestion of charges (e-mail or otherwise) would
strangle one of the few remaining institutions not yet mutated
by the mighty dollar.

I would not want a Bosnian's writings of the true nature of
their war to be censored merely by the fact that "Internet 
Accounting" could not contact his billing address. I would not
want a student's researching abilities restrained by his
school's financial e-mail quota being exceeded. The freedom
of information and free speech lie at the very heart of your

Finally, in the day and age where neighbors are anonymous and
families split farther and farther apart, you would place
barriers against those people who wish to communicate? I
believe the future implications of this subject far outweigh
the annoyance of junk mail.

Christopher Learned
Christopher is a 26 year-old naval architect (i.e., ship designer), computer systems manager and rogue writer/critic. He says that if it were not for his non-profit Internet provider, his net voice would not exist.

CMC Magazine invites comment and feedback in the form of letters to the editor on all topics having to do with the magazine, as well as letters addressing general comments or concerns about CMC experiences, processes, or research.

See submission guidelines.

This Issue / Index