Web analytics tell us that Duke Libraries’ information about academic integrity and citing sources are some of our most popular pages. We’re proud of the work that was done years ago to create good information on avoiding plagiarism and proper citation format. Over time, though, the burden of maintaining pages with examples of citations in various popular formats has become untenable. We once had library staff who were able to devote a great deal of time to keeping up with style changes; that’s no longer the case. More importantly, our citation example pages could never be comprehensive – for every example we gave (such as how to cite an article from a scholarly journal), there were ten other examples we didn’t have time to create.
It is a “Good Thing,” (as Martha Stewart would say), that writing centers like Purdue’s OWL (Online Writing Lab) and Bedford-St.Martin’s (publishers of the late Diana Hacker’s manual) maintain up to date, incredibly detailed websites with multiple examples of multiple formats in multiple styles. We took a look at what other ARL libraries provide in terms of citation information, and most link to these and other sites rather than providing their own examples.
So, we’ve eliminated our pages that give specific citation examples, and instead created a streamlined page that provides links to reliable, continually updated sources of citation information. We have retained the great information on academic integrity and avoiding plagiarism, and provide links to RefWorks and EndNote, which are provided at no cost to Duke users. Making these changes will allow our users to access reliable and up to date citation information.
This revision process would not have happened without the hard work of our field experience students this semester. Thank you to Jake Vaccaro, Nicole Kendrot and Julie Greenberg, who tackled this thorny issue and devised a creative solution.