Placement of Citations: Author-Date Style

Placement of Citations: Author-Date Style

When placing bibliographic citations, authors should consider both the need for accuracy and the legibility and aesthetics of the text. Placement varies depending on whether one is using traditional documentation style or author-date style. This post will discuss placement of citations in author-date documentation style. For the placement of bibliographic references in traditional documentation style, see our blog post here.

1. Citation in the Main Text

In author-date documentation style, the date of publication follows the author’s name when it is mentioned in a sentence.

Preferred: Pfuhl (1980, 65–80) notes five possible techniques.

Discouraged: Pfuhl notes five possible techniques (1980, 65–80).

Discouraged: Pfuhl notes five possible techniques (Pfuhl 1980, 65–80).

This rule holds even if the author’s name is possessive.

 Pfuhl’s (1980, 65–80) study is important.

If the author’s name is not mentioned in a sentence, the citation can be placed at the end of the sentence (example here modified from Byron 2016).

Tweed’s love of Ethiopian art, culture, and sacred literature kept him returning to the country and eventually collecting more than 240 artifacts and 150 manuscripts (Hermesch 1994).

Subsequent references to the same source can truncate the initial reference, as long as there are no intervening references (example from Smith 2016).

Mary Douglas (1984, 36) states: “where there is dirt there is system”; there is a normal way of being and behaving. We can respond to perceived anomalies in two ways. We can ignore them as if they do not exist, or we can acknowledge their existence and condemn them (39).

However, if there is a potential that the reader may be confused about the source of information, repeat the full author-date citation (example from Smith 2016).

In fact, dogs and other animals were “dedicated to gods or goddesses” (Lazenby 1949, 245). Homer’s Iliad mentions “dogs I raised in my halls to be at my table” and “nine dogs of the table that had belonged to the lord Patroklos” (22.69; 23.173 [Lattimore]). As early as 600 BCE, ancient vase paintings show dogs in houses under tables. Rich and poor alike loved their dogs. An ancient Gallic relief depicts “a boy reclining on a couch and giving his pet dog his plate to lick clean” (Lazenby 1949, 246).

In this case a shortened Lazenby reference in the last sentence might be confused as a reference to the intervening Homer passage. The best option is to repeat the full Lazenby reference.

2. Placement of Citations in Footnotes

Citation of works in the main text is generally sufficient for author-date style. If footnotes are used, the placement and treatment of the citation is determined by the function of the citation itself.

2.1. If the citation serves to document another statement in a note, it follows the rules for citations within the main text. The date of publication follows the author’s name when it is mentioned in a sentence (modified examples from Byron 2016).

22. St. Clair (2006) offers a womanist ethic of wholeness that focuses on three crucial needs.

If the author is not mentioned in the main sentence(s), the citation follows in parenthesis at the end.

7. “A most evil-looking woman, who looked like an Ethiopian, not an Egyptian, but was all black, clothed in filthy rags. She was dancing with an iron collar about her neck and chains on her hands and feet” (Byron 2002, 17).

2.2. If the citation itself is the statement being made, the year of publication and page numbers do not need to be placed within parentheses.

22. For a womanist ethic of wholeness, see St. Clair 2006, 55–59.

Works Cited

Byron, Gay L. 2016. “Black Collectors and Keepers of Tradition: Resources for a Womanist Biblical Ethic of (Re)Interpretation.” Pages 187–208 in Womanist Interpretations of the Bible: Expanding the Discourse. Edited by Gay L. Byron and Vanessa Lovelace. SemeiaSt 85. Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016.

Smith, Mitzi. 2016. “Race, Gender, and the Politics of ‘Sass’: Reading Mark 7:24–30 through a Womanist Lens of Intersectionality and Inter(con)textuality.” Pages 95–112 in Womanist Interpretations of the Bible: Expanding the Discourse. Edited by Gay L. Byron and Vanessa Lovelace. SemeiaSt 85. Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016.

3 thoughts on “Placement of Citations: Author-Date Style

  1. At Eisenbrauns, we also discourage citation of the inclusive page numbers of an article in a journal or a multiauthor book if you are referring to the entire article. Thus, in the first example cited above, if you are refererring to the entire article by Pfuhl and if the article runs from p. 65 through p. 80, we prefer “Pfuhl (1980) notes five possible techniques.” The bibliography will give the inclusive page numbers, and that’s where the reader is directed in any case. Citation of page numbers is necessary, of course, when you are citing specific items or page ranges within the article.

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  2. […] When placing bibliographic citations, authors should consider both the need for accuracy and the legibility and aesthetics of the text. Placement varies depending on whether one is using traditional documentation style or author-date style. This post will discuss placement of citations in traditional documentation style. For the placement of bibliographic references in author-date documentation style, see here. […]

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