Citing eBooks

eBooks have gained such a popularity that people can no longer avoid citing them in papers.

Why do people avoid eBooks for papers?  One reason: many people have a little bit of difficulty categorizing them, are they a book or electronic source?  However, the major reason many people have avoided using eBooks is the lack of page numbers.  So, either fearful of plagiarism or a poor grade, students avoid citing eBooks.

So where do they go?  Are they a book?  An electronic source?  Both, technically.  However, you’ll find the entry under books.

The Modern Language Association (MLA) states, “Begin the entry in the works-cited list like the entry for a comparable printed work and end it with a designation of the medium of publication. The medium is the type of electronic file, such as Kindle file, Nook file, EPUB file, or PDF file. If you cannot identify the file type, use Digital file.”

Rowley, Hazel. Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage. New York: Farrar, 2010. Kindle file.

But what about page numbers?  MLA says, “Most electronic readers include a numbering system that tells users their location in the work. Do not cite this numbering, because it may not appear consistently to other users. If the work is divided into stable numbered sections like chapters, the numbers of those sections may be cited, with a label identifying the nature of the number”.

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt began their honeymoon with a week’s stay at Hyde Park (Rowley, ch. 2).

Lastly, MLA says, “If the work is a PDF file with fixed pages, cite the page numbers. If the work lacks any kind of stable section numbering, the work has to be cited as a whole”.

While MLA is one of the most common citation methods, it is not the only one.  The American Psychological Association (APA) format follows the same advice, but the entry is slightly different.  It says, “The reference list entry for a whole e-book should include elements of author, date, title (with e-reader book type in square brackets if applicable; italicize the title but not the bracketed material), and source (URL or DOI):”

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of book [E-reader version, if applicable]. Retrieved from http://xxxxx

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of book [E-reader version, if applicable]. doi:xxxxx

The APA recommends the following if there are no page numbers:

  • a paragraph number, if provided; alternatively, you can count paragraphs down from the beginning of the document;
  • an overarching heading plus a paragraph number within that section; or
  • an abbreviated heading (or the first few words of the heading) in quotation marks, in cases in which the heading is too unwieldy to cite in full.

So why can’t you just cite the location in the eBook?  The APA explains:

As of March 2011, many Kindle books now have real page numbers that correspond to those in print editions (as far as we know, this applies only for Kindle third generation products and going forward). These real page numbers are appropriate to use in academic citation (as are the page numbers of other paginated e-books). Kindle “location numbers,” however, should not be used in citations because they have limited retrievability.

The Purdue OWL details how you can cite an eBook in Chicago Style.  There are several other types of citation formats, but they are not as common as MLA and APA.

Digital Textbooks

There has been a big push towards using digital textbooks in schools across America and the globe.  Apple just recently gave the movement a giant shove toward digitalization with revamped iBooks app and  iTunes U.  But I haven’t pronounced the print textbooks market dead yet.

Sure I’d love to eliminate having my student’s lugging around a 6lbs literature textbook among 5 other textbooks in their backpack.  Perhaps phasing out of individual copies of textbooks and only having one classroom set would be a feasible idea – but what if the student does not have access to a computer or tablet?  Or that if lending the student the device would require a parent to sign a form that says they will be liable for all damages, including loss – and the parent says no?  Digital textbooks have a promising market in the middle to upper class schools and charter schools, but not in poor neighborhoods.  Thus, there will be a decent market for print textbooks, albeit smaller than it is now.

All the digital textbook information I see right now ties textbooks to specific devices.  Textbooks published through Apple’s iBooks can be published elsewhere, but Apple still takes its large fee.  Textbooks on the Nook and Kindle are pretty much only for their devices.  If the tablet market isn’t going to let all textbooks be available on all devices, the print textbook market will never die.  Perhaps the publishing companies will sell their own tablet for their own books.  Instead of 6 heavy textbooks, students will carry 3-4 tablet devices.  Still pretty expensive and not entirely what the digital textbook market is aiming to do.

Oh but wait, aren’t students supposed to take notes and read textbooks at the same time?  True students can flip between the textbook app and the notebook app to write notes, but what about drawing charts?  I’m all for typing notes in class, but sometimes it’s just quick to have a piece of paper and a pencil to scribble my notes and diagrams on.  We would be wasting time trying to teach kids how to make a ven diagram on their notebook app than it would take to draw the circles on a paper.  Speed is important, especially with the hundreds of benchmarks the government continues to thrust at teachers to have students be proficient in their education.

Just as eReaders and tablets will never kill the paperback book, they will not kill the textbook market either.

What do you think, will digital textbooks completely kill the print textbook market?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

 

Sources:

Bilton, Ricardo. “Apple’s textbook plan’s biggest flaw is that it’s tied to the iPad | ZDNet .” Technology News, Analysis, Comments and Product Reviews for IT Professionals | ZDNet. ZDnet.com, 19 Jan. 2012. Web. 24 Jan. 2012.   Link to article

Faas, Ryan. “Apple’s new vision of education.” computerworld 21 Jan. 2012: n. pag. ComputerWorld. Web. 24 Jan. 2012.   Link to article

 

eReader Poll

I’ve been spending the majority of the day reading Wuthering Heights on my Kindle app for my iPad.  I love using my iPad to read the book.  It lessens the fatigue of my hands while reading which I believe increases my reading speed and focus.  Of course, the drawback is it sucks up battery rather rapidly (but not a bad rate) and I cannot use it outside in the sun.  I do have a paperback edition I will use for quoting and if I need to read outside, but it is very effective for siting for a long period to read.  I will not be completely sold on eReaders though.  I agree they have their uses and many positives.  But I just cannot forget the feeling of a new book in my hand, opening its cover and bringing its story to life.  I do feel the sense of accomplishment in the visual comparison of how much I have read and how much I have left.  Also an eBook (at least the Kindle version of Wuthering Heights does not have page numbers because you can increase the size of the text which thus alters the page numbers and creates an issue for citations.

I’m going to go more in depth on eReaders in another post so please – comment, email, facebook, whichever your preferred medium is – your thoughts and experiences on eReaders vs. paperbooks.  Or simply answer the following poll.

What is your preferred type of eReader?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...