[Humanist] 24.276 e-book referencing

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Aug 23 21:59:42 CEST 2010

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 276.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    "Sharon K. Goetz" <skgoetz at yahoo.com>                     (33)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 24.272 e-book referencing

  [2]   From:    Peter Organisciak <organisc at ualberta.ca>                  (45)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 24.260 referencing a Kindle book?

        Date: Sun, 22 Aug 2010 16:19:04 -0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
        From: "Sharon K. Goetz" <skgoetz at yahoo.com>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 24.272 e-book referencing
        In-Reply-To: <20100822195537.96F916634C at woodward.joyent.us>

Jim, .mobi (Kindle-compatible) and .epub files (displayable on nearly
every other dedicated e-reader device) don't have page numbers unless
someone went to the trouble of encoding them that way. The advantage is
that text reflows depending upon the display size. (This is why I
inferred--wrongly--in my prior message that Kindle locations might be
fluid; I'm absolutely certain about .epub structure, however.) I've
noticed with archive.org .epub files that the more recently added books
often include print-equivalent pagination, but the older ones do not. None
of the dozen Kindle books I've seen--fiction titles with recent print
instances--has included print-equivalent pagination.

It'd be helpful to have original pagination reflected in electronic
derivatives, but of course not all Kindle or .epub files have print
instances, prior or otherwise. Thus Claire's question retains interest for
me--and how are we to cite specific segments of .epub texts in a coherent,
consistent manner, anyway? Counting unnumbered paragraphs is logical but a
bit difficult to execute well if one's display shows less than a full
paragraph at a time; not everyone uses MLA; etc.


On Sun, 22 Aug 2010, Humanist Discussion Group wrote:
>         From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
>         Subject: Re: [Humanist] 24.269 e-book referencing and reading
>         In-Reply-To: <20100821210116.2DDB5646AA at woodward.joyent.us>
> Claire --
> Thanks for your reply. So far as I can tell from my own use and others'
> replies, though, electronic versions of books do have page numbers; page
> numbers are certainly fixed in .pdf files.  But, I'd forgotten that the
> MLA also recommends citing paragraph numbers for some electronic
> sources, which may be a useful practice in your situation.
> Jim R

        Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2010 11:32:57 -0500
        From: Peter Organisciak <organisc at ualberta.ca>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 24.260 referencing a Kindle book?
        In-Reply-To: <20100819195410.0F0A961D73 at woodward.joyent.us>


I generally figure out the related page number in the book's print
version, most often using Amazon.com's feature for searching within a
print book. If the intent of a citation is to direct the reader to the
source of the quote, a Kindle citation limits the accessibility due to
the hardware and the fact that the e-book will usually have to be
purchased. Somebody with a print copy will have a tough time finding a
quote from a Kindle location; a person with a Kindle but a page
citation can just search for the passage.

That's my reasoning. Given no alternatives, I would definitely cite
the Kindle book location, but the obstacles to access and lack of
permanence with DRM'd files leaves me uneasy.

Peter Organisciak

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