New cites to see

Paying attention to Twitter — or at least a tiny subsection of it — has provided me with rather a lot of material in the past couple of years, and I’ve cited rather a lot of tweets with the traditional blogoid “Via” line.

Doing it this way, however, falls well short of the style standards of the Modern Language Association, as updated for life (and research) in The Cloud. This is the preferred MLA structure:

Begin the entry in the works-cited list with the author’s real name and, in parentheses, user name, if both are known and they differ. If only the user name is known, give it alone.

Next provide the entire text of the tweet in quotation marks, without changing the capitalization. Conclude the entry with the date and time of the message and the medium of publication (Tweet). For example:

    Athar, Sohaib (ReallyVirtual). “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” 1 May 2011, 3:58 p.m. Tweet.

If I ever again have to do any formal research, I’ll keep this in mind.

In the meantime, this is where I read about it.

1 comment

  1. fillyjonk »

    4 March 2012 · 1:18 pm

    Not sure how many applications citing a Tweet might have in the sciences – we tend to have different structures for reporting breaking news – but I can see this being applicable in some disciplines.

    FWIW, I’ve been teaching “how to cite a website” for perhaps 8 years now. I recently added the “You need to include the last-accessed date,” because the journals seem to expect it. (And I make some lame joke about how “No, it’s not so I can tell if you wrote your paper the night before it was due” though that IS another feature….)

    Of course, I also have to go through the whole, “The Texas A and M page on fire ant biology is probably reliable; ‘Billy Bob’s Critter World’ may not be” bit.

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