Talk:Parenthetical referencing

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Parenthetical referencing inside parentheses[edit]

What is the rule for parenthetical referencing within parentheses? Is it proper to use an extra set of parentheses, or does one use brackets? ~ UBeR (talk) 09:30, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

According to the APA's Manual of Style, chapter 3 (ed. in spanish) use it like this:
(as Imai [1990] had concluded)
so, it is brackets to enclose the year of publications, and everything goes inside parenthesis, (no extra set). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Forich (talkcontribs) 23:51, 19 January 2010 (UTC)


This article states:

In the author-date method (also called "Harvard style", "Harvard referencing", APA style, ACS style, or "Harvard system" in British-based educational institutions, but having no relation to Harvard University)

But the dab page for Harvard says "Harvard referencing, a citation style developed by Harvard University".

Which is it? Perhaps someone who knows could fix this inconsistency. (talk) 16:23, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Thanks. Fixed.--Forich (talk) 18:09, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

The example using John Maynard Smith's paper was incorrect. The fellow's last name was "Maynard Smith", not "Smith". I corrected this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:54, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Ref Tags[edit]

What the hell do ref tags have to do with referencing outside of the web? What if I'm writing the old fashioned way with a pen and paper? "Referencing" doesn't only mean referencing on wikipedia, it's a general term. The whole thing about ref tags should be removed as it has nothing to do with referencing in general. It's like an article about reviewing films but going in to detail about how to make the film title bold with b tags... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:02, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Variations: the system doesn't specify all[edit]

Reading between the lines, the "Harvard system" is not a complete specification for referencing. To conform to the expectations of a particular institution, additional guidelines are required. It seems that these are usually provided by a "style manual" or guide. As an example, there's a convention that web material should include the date on which the citer saw the material. Different style authorities will specify "accessed" or "viewed" as the verb to precede this date. By inspection, I can see that punctuation can vary, too, for specifying page numbers, etc.

I would like this matter explained explicitly somewhere. At one time, I thought that "Harvard" and "APA", for example, were similar but different specifications. Instead, the APA system is an implementation of the "Harvard system". A section that listed some dominant style specifications of the Harvard system, and some details by which they differ, would be welcome.

Is any authoritative? Again, by inference, I conclude that Harvard University does not in fact have a regulatory body that governs the use of the system. By virtue of its presence in pervasive software like Microsoft Word, I imagine that the American Psyschological Association's system is popular. Does it have de-facto "canonical" status for the finer points of citing?

Wistful (talk) 22:16, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

You are entirely correct on the realizations that you came to. You are also correct that this article should explicitly explain it better. At the moment I lack motivation to do the work of implementing that improvement, but it is something I'll keep on my long-term to-do list. One of the problems about this topic is that almost no one, not even most people in the STM publishing industry, is knowledgeable enough to know the things that you pointed out. Someone reading this comment may ask how I know that, and who I can cite when asserting it. I guarantee it's correct, whether anyone chooses to take my word for it or not; I know from professional experience. To properly understand this topic, you have to understand the general concept of the cascading of styles (which is a generalizable concept, beyond the particular [best known] case of CSS). Of course, once you do, it is actually not that hard to understand any of this, but most people simply aren't aware and aren't taught. There are different senses of the word "style", from theme-level styles to specific copyeditorial styles that are variants of those themes. For example, you can talk about American style versus British style on the general theme level (as done at American and British English spelling differences); you can then also talk about New York Times style versus BBC style on a downstream level of the cascade. And yup, Harvard style is a theme, of which there are many specific variants. As you said, APA ref style is one of them (and is one of the most important/prevalent). As for your question—whether it has de facto canonical status: What answer you get will depend on who you ask, but there is a true answer in reality. Most people don't know; some people *think* they "know" that the answer is yes; in reality, the actual answer is simply that it's the minority with the largest plurality of following—no more, and no less. Like all of language, as linguistics understands although many non-linguists do not, it is simply a collection of conventions, some stronger, some weaker. Most STM books and journals use a style that is *similar* to that of many others, but on the copyeditorial level is *precisely consistent* only to itself—and often not even that. In reality you have to pay [good] copyeditors [sufficiently] to make it that (latter) way, and in reality many publications don't do that, either because they can't afford to or because they realize that "close enough" is enough for them; it's not worth the money to them to chase the last few commas. Much open access literature, and even quite a bit of literature published by the big publishers, is not copyedited at all, or is poorly copyedited by the lowest bidder. Whether these truths are scandalous depends on your worldview. In reality the world is moving toward the model of "put it all out there and let the cream rise above the crap based on whatever merit it has (including whether its author wrote it well and revised it well, or not)". This model has both advantages and disadvantages. Anyone who denies that (and there are camps on both sides) is simply not thinking objectively. Anyway, I could write a book, but that's enough for now ... (talk) 23:56, 4 May 2012 (UTC)
I simpathize 100% with the last anonymous commentator. 1) Complete systems are found only at the best styleguides/manuals of style, such as Chicago's (what he refers as 'downstream'), and 2) The Harvard connection is misleading, and there is nothing we can do about it as wikipedians; that is a fight which requires some 'Original Research' done at the real world, plus some politics (for standardization purposes).--Forich (talk) 03:42, 15 February 2013 (UTC)