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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Q&A a la Ann Landers: Academic Accreditation vs General Credits

You know how I love the Q&A format for this blog. Today Karen Cioffi sent me a question I don't think I've ever addressed. Remember, you are welcome to send your questions her. I'll answer them if I can!


I have another editing question you can use on your site:

I ghostwrite business and health articles, and I use more than one source (all online articles). My question is if I'm quoting from a particular article how should I be referencing it.

I've been adding (1), or whatever endnote number I have attached to that article's link.

So, it might look like:

"When we combine motivation psychology and the personal and intrinsic motivation methods of leading experts with the extrinsic rewards of incentive programs, we create better results than using either method alone."(1)

At the end of the article I list each source preceded by a number, so the above would be source: (1) http://.....

I looked in the MLA handbook and the Chicago Manual of Style but can't seem to find what I'm looking for.

Thanks so much,
Karen Cioffi-Ventrice

The reason you're not finding the answer to your question in the Chicago manual is that you are using a format most often used in academic circles. Generally speaking, academics use this method because their works are heavily laden with references and eventually many, many attributions would interfere with the author's train of thought. That, obviously, makes it more difficult for them to make a point, particularly a nuanced one.

The Chicago Manual ( is more useful for those who are writing books, though some nonfiction books--again nonfiction that tends more to texts or academic audiences--may use the same format. Thus you find tidbits in Chicago; things like it is preferably to spell out all numbers under 100. Most newspaper styles only spell out numbers up to ten (or some similar guideline).

So, what you are facing here is a matter of style choice, not rule. You judge by how frequently you reference a quote or researched fact. Do they interfere with understanding or with your voice? Where will the article be published. In an academic journal in print or on the net? Or in something with a more general audience?

Then you face a choice of putting the endnotes at the bottom of the page, at the end of the chapter or at the end of the book.

Why are things never simple?

PS: The word "endnotes" is a style choice, too. In some circles it's considered one word. Most spell checkers are appalled. Sometimes we the authors get to choose!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success at Learn more about her other authors' aids at, where writers will find lists and other helps on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. Find me tweeting writers' resources at And please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:


Karen Cioffi said...

Carolyn, thank you so much - this is helpful.

I've decided to go the academic route even though it's an article with only 2 sources. It it just makes it neater, clearer, and simpler.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Actually, The Chicago Manual of Style (which specializes in academic materials) mentions a similar notes style at 14.3 in the new edition (16.6 in the 15th edition), identifying it as AMA style.


Yvonne Perry said...

When writing a meaty article that has references that make the material credible, you may want to post them on article directories. If your online resources are cited correctly, they will include a link i.e.: accessed on 1 December, 2010 . However, of the most popular directories--has a very limiting policy regarding links. They want high-quality content but make it difficult to cite your resources. I've just about given up on article marketing for that reason.

Any thoughts on this?

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Yvonne, I don't use the article banks either. Instead I self syndicate and recycle articles as outlined in The Frugal Book Promoter ( . I don't like all the banks' limiting restrictions.

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