Friday, March 26, 2010

How to fail, part 586: Referencing

Step 1: Use Endnotes, rather than Footnotes. This forces the reader to either hopelessly try to remember references when later reading those Endnotes, or put fingers in the text and the Endnotes and flick between them.

Step 2: Use the Author-Date referencing system, and provide a separate bibliography. So when the poor reader flicks to the Endnotes, they read an incomprehensible reference to an author, and must then consult the bibliography to find out what book is being referred to.

Well done, you have saved but a small amount of ink, and hardly any readability, by transferring all reference work onto your reader, thus multiplying their work by about a factor of 50, and ensuring they will never bother to follow any of your references!

This method is fail.

Special mention to R. Stark's "God's Battalions", where I first encountered this travesty of referencing.

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