How to Cite Weblogs and Weblog Comments in MLA Style

There's nothing very special about citing a weblog as opposed to any other web page, but students may appreciate a clear example.

Citing a Blog Entry in MLA Style

Citing a Blog Comment in MLA Style

While searching for info on citing weblogs in MLA style, I found that my own pages kept coming up to the top of Google -- but I had nothing specifically on the subject until now.

All my students have turned in their final projects, but maybe it's not too late for everyone.If anybody else knows of an existing resource, please send me the URL.

Comments

Thanks for that, Dennis; it's much needed. I think APA and Chicago gurus should step up to the plate and samizdat up citation methods for blog posts and commments.




CultureCat

I had been wondering whether the various orgs would get around to this; it seems well past time to develop a standard. Thanks!

just curious. why not just use the columbia guide to online style? the reason i prefer it is that it doesn't require the author to identify the type of electronic discourse, doesn't attempt to impose specific categorizations which may or may not be correct. works for chicago and apa.

I suppose the reason the Columbia Guide doesn't satisfy me is that it doesn't suggest how to credit a comment written by one person, inserted on a page written by someone else. Grad students would be able to figure it out, of course, but plenty of undergrads and high schoolers will be left scratchign their heads.

Mike Arnzen left a comment on my blog, in which he too mentions CGOS, and he also quibbles with my use of [Personal Weblog] as opposed to [Group Weblog.] I've replied with a possible alteration...

Thanks for the comments, all.

Dennis G. Jerz

Jerz's Literacy Weblog

I could see what Janice Walker says. It's possible that she's thought about this already. And if not, she might be interested :)

Sure, go ahead and invite her to have a go.

Dennis G. Jerz

Jerz's Literacy Weblog

Todd Taylor and I are currently finishing up work on the 2nd edition of the Columbia Guide to Online Style. I've included specific examples of how to cite Weblogs (blogs) for both humanities styles (e.g., MLA) and scientific styles (e.g., APA).

Basically, a blog is cited similarly to a posting to an email discussion list, including the name of the poster (or alias if the name is unknown); the title of the posting (if applicable); the title of the site (including the moderator, if known); the date of he posting; and the address of the site, followed by the date of access. For example:

Kiwi. "Re: How Do You Cite a Blog Post in your Bibliography?" Kairosnews: A Weblog for Discussing Rhetoric, Technology and Pedagogy. 30 Apr. 2003. http://kairosnews.org/node/view/1830#comment (30 Apr. 2003).

In scientific style, the date of the posting goes immediately after the author's name:

Kiwi. (2003, April 30). Re: How do you cite a Blog post in your bibliography? Kairosnews: A Weblog for discussing rhetoric, technology, and pedagogy. http://kairosnews.org/node/view/1830#comment (30 Apr. 2003).

I'm pretty excited about the changes coming out in the 2nd ed. of CGOS. I'm including WAY more examples of sources, the types of sources people are actually using--like Blogs, chats (even Instant Messenger chats), courseware (like Blackboard or WebCT), even files on a network drive. Of course, it's impossible to cover everything, as Dennis Jerz notes, sometimes students/authors will have to figure it out, based on the information that IS included, but, hell, MLA and APA don't give models for EVERY possible type of print source, either. And they do a particularly lousy job when it comes to electronic sources, probably as a way of discouraging their use! (Heh).

One of the best features of the CGOS, however, is the email address for questions from students and others who are wrestling with these issues. I try to answer as many questions as I can personally, and I will have a FAQ on the new Web site with answers to some of the questions that are most often asked.

:-)

Oh, yeah, and "Kiwi" is me-->A/K/A Janice Walker (so, if you cite this Weblog comment, you can use my real name OR my alias!).

! Please note new email address: jwalker@GeorgiaSouthern.edu

"Of course, it's impossible to cover everything, as Dennis Jerz notes, sometimes students/authors will have to figure it out, based on the information that IS included, but, hell, MLA and APA don't give models for EVERY possible type of print source, either." -- Kiwi

In grad school I created a MLA Bibliography Builder. It's just an HTML form with links tied to help files that show examples in another window. (Other pages are tailored to books, articles, and selections from anthologies.)

If I had more time this could use drop-down lists and such, but the value of the tool isn't so much that it automates what goes into the template (that's trivial stuff) but instead it HIDES all the information that you're not thinking about, so that you can focus on each item in turn. I've found that beginner students often forget to alphabetize their bibliographies, since my tool won't do it for them, but they still do a pretty good job.

Dennis G. Jerz

Jerz's Literacy Weblog

Dennis Jerz posted: "In grad school I created a MLA Bibliography Builder. It's just an HTML form with links tied to help files that show examples in another window. (Other pages are tailored to books, articles, and selections from anthologies.)"

What a great resource! I worked with a software vendor recently who was trying to develop a similar Web-based tool for bibliography and online research, so I know how difficult it is. One of the biggest problems is that information has to be entered in the correct format to begin with -- otherwise, garbage in, garbage out. The value, of course, is that at least these bibliographic tools help remind students/researchers to look for the necessary elements. Otherwise, it's just too easy for them to merely include the URL and perhaps minimal information. FAR too often, I've had students cite a CNN article as just http://cnn.com. Arggh.

This is why CGOS takes an "element" approach to citation. In the 2nd edition, there's a whole chapter on the logic of citation, including excruciating detail on understanding the element approach. The examples in the two chapters on citing sources are explained with regard to these elements, of course, but what I really hope to accomplish is to help students/researchers understand how to translate elements of citation for whatever types of resources they may encounter. That's why CGOS has worked virtually without any changes even though the types of resources people need to cite have changed quite a bit.

Of course, asking students to think about citation and its purposes isn't easy, and figuring out what needs to be included in a bibliographic entry is particularly hard for students who seem to be taught something different every year. But maybe this is actually a good thing because it forces us to think about/teach how and why we cite sources as we do. :)

If anyone is interested, the deadline for submitting to the Conference on Information Literacy to be hosted at Georgia Southern University, October 8-9, 2004, was yesterday, but I can still accept submissions. I think this topic would be perfect for the Conference. Email me at jwalker@GeorgiaSouthern.edu if you have any questions, or visit the Conference Web site at http://conted.gasou.edu/informationliteracy.html for more information and the online submission form.