Tuesday, April 11, 2006


First off, I know I haven't been posting much lately (though when I do, it's incredibly long-winded). Spring allergies have just taken the life out of me, and though I've gotten over the worst of it--I think--I still don't have a whole lot of energy. I've felt very passive and vegetative lately--and this is not consonant with my new year's resolutions. I've watched almost no movies thus far in the month of April (though I have seen several episodes of The L Word on DVD ... maybe that will be a blog entry for the future).

I do have a question for my readers: let's say one keeps a blog, and one also publishes a piece of film writing. The sort of film writing that has footnotes. If one uses ideas one has already expressed in a blog entry, is there some protocol for citation? A prefatory note? Something? I'm finding that some things I blogged a while back have actually been useful for things I'm writing now, but I'm not entirely sure how to incorporate them ...

And, honestly, I have a second question for readers: has anyone read Mary Ann Doane's The Emergence of Cinematic Time? Any opinions?


Michael said...

Zach, first of all, I hope your allergies improve quickly (as I fellow allergy-sufferer, I know first-hand what hell they can be).

On the question about citing blog entries: I don't know if there is a protocol for it yet. Blogs are so new, and, given their format, might not necessarily be considered "sources" or at least "published" sources. Most of all, though, I wonder if you would need to make a citation if you are incorporating your own work into the published article. In my experience (with publishing in academic journals), if I used something I wrote earlier in what might be generally called (whether correctly or not) an "unpublished" source, I would just use it as part of the new text (although I'm the kind of writer who recycles his words a lot). However, if I used something that I had published before, then I would cite it using the standard footnote protocol. Personally, if I were to write an article now based on various blog entries, I'd probably just include the ideas without citing them -- because they were my ideas, words, etc. to begin with. But you might not feel comfortable doing this, or (now that blogs are prevalent and gaining respect) it might be a good idea to cite the work.

So the best thing to do might be to ask your editor (or if you don't have one, maybe check the latest editions of the Chicago Manual of Style or the MLA Handbook). If it is necessary to cite a blog entry, the footnote might (though I'm not sure) be something like: Your Name, "Title of Blog Entry," Date of Blog Entry, Title of Blog. Another option might be to have the first foonote (which can be attached to the title of your article, or to the first sentence) say someting like: "some ideas in this article were first examined in various entries on the web log Elusive Lucidity" -- sort of similar to some scholars who begin articles by saying things like "this essay is the result of various drafts that were presented at conferences." That's somewhat common, and gives your readers the sense that your ideas were generated somewhere else before.

Hope that helps.

David Lowery said...

The Chicago Manual Of Style has a lot of new rules regarding citation of blogs and websites, and I think they're all (appropriately) available online. But when it's your own blog, I don't know that it matters as much - a prefatory note or a footnote claiming that you developed the idea on your blog might be in order, but direct citation only seems like it would be necessary if you consider your blog an actual journalistic source (as opposed to the hybrid of journalism and personal expression/rumination that I, for one, try to maintain on my own page).

HarryTuttle said...

I would say the same as above.
But maybe Zach was wondering how to distinguish a print source from a digital source. A standard footnote would lead the reader to search for a print magazine article.
The protocol isn't similar in France... here we add the publisher's name and the city of publication to identify the book.
So it would be logical to give a hypertext address/domain when citing a blog.
And yes that would contribute to credibilize blogs if they are cited like print sources.

just my 0.02 €

Matt said...

If it was me, I'd probably just put in a foot- or endnote at the end of the first paragraph to the effect that "some of the ideas contained herein were originally worked out in less detail on my personal weblog, specifically posts a, b and c." It might be a note in which you make any other acknowledgements you have to make as well.

Zach Campbell said...

Thanks guys. It wasn't so much the citation of a blog entry that perplexed me as much as whether or not a blog entry is considered "published," as Michael said.

Maya said...

I'm certainly glad you asked the question! And glad the Chicago Manual of Style is offering some cues. It's interesting the impact the "citizen press corps" is having on the familiar mechanics of, let's say, a film festival where hold review rules apply, even to bloggers. I had a big discussion with the publicity department at SFIFF about this. It seems ridiculous to have a hold review on a movie that is showing up at our festival, which is at the tail end of the festival circuit, when it has been written about extensively online at a myriad of other places. They finally conceded that blogs are something unfamiliar for them and told me to go ahead and write as I please (at first they were saying I couldn't cite other blog commentary on a hold review), with the caveat that I am to mention my own blogpost again when the movie is finally released for distribution.

It's fun making all this up as we go along!