Citations: 10 Commandments for Intimidated Souls


19 January 2015

Most commandments are intimidating—but not these. These are designed to take the intimidation out of the citation process that causes so much angst and rebellion.

  1. Thou shalt always cite something.
  2. Thou shalt not beat thy breast over past lapses.
  3. Thou shalt not be paranoid.
  4. Thou shalt not get bent out of shape over commas and semicolons.
  5. Thou shalt not expect ready-made formulas to fit every quirky record thou findeth.
  6. Thou shalt cite only what thou useth.
  7. Thou shalt give credit where credit is due.
  8. Thou shalt thoughtfully consider the nature of thy source.
  9. Thou shalt thoughtfully consider what details others need when they use thy material.
  10. Thou shalt always add an appraisal of thy source.

Past this point, of course, it helps to have a manual such as EE handy, to show you exactly how to craft citations for every esoteric source you find.


SOURCE: Borrowed, with permission, from Elizabeth Shown Mills, "Sources & Citations Simplified: From Memorabilia to Digital Data to DNA," lecture and syllabus material, various conferences, 2005–14.

PHOTOCREDIT: "Tables of the Ten Commandments," CanStockPhoto ( : downloaded 5 December 2014), uploaded 4 November 2014 by Adrenalina; used under license.