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JILT 2000 (1) - Pearl Rozenberg

Referencing and Citation of Internet Resources -
'The Truth is out There'

Pearl Rozenberg
University of Sydney
p.rozenberg@econ.usyd.edu.au

Delivered at the 2nd AustLII Conference on Computerisation of Law via the Internet, Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII), University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, 21-23 July 1999.


Contents

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1. Introduction

With the increase in the use of electronic resources, the question of what, as well as how, to cite and reference these materials arises. At first there were no standards - it was a free for all. Soon after, initial guides were published which were followed by calls to attempt to generate a uniform style of citing these resources.[1]

Has the plethora of different styles and rules that we cope with in relation to print sources been avoided for electronic information? Has any uniformity developed - either fully or at least of broad principles? Or have we reached the same confusing and contradictory position that we had all hoped to avoid? Following the lead of the televised documentary that investigates the strange and unreal[2], this paper seeks to assess what has happened since those early calls for uniformity. 'The truth is out there'!

The paper will first examine the major published guides to legal citation. It will then consider the smaller individual guides, such as individual law reviews or law faculty guides. The paper will also study the non-legal citation guides. These guides are very widely accepted and, as they give rules as to legal citation, should be included in this investigation. Numerous different guides have been developed - as is evident from the lengthy list of guides available for study. The paper will conclude by analysing the reasons for the broad divergence that has arisen and attempt to locate any general areas of agreement.

2. The Major Legal Published Guides

There are a very large number of guides for citation and referencing. Seeking to limit the number to a reasonable study, the 'major legal' published guides include:

  • French D, How to Cite Legal Authorities (London: Blackstone Press, 1996).
     

  • Harvard Law Review Association, The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (Cambridge: HLRA, 1996, 16th ed).[3]
     

  • University of Chicago Manual of Legal Citation (Rochester: Lawyers Cooperative Publishing, 1989).
     

  • McGill Law Review, Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (Montreal: Carswell, 1998, 4th ed).

Within Australia, there have been no major generally accepted guides, beyond the guides published individually by each journal or faculty. In 1998, four general guides were published. Until market forces serve to distinguish between the guides, all the published Australian guides will be added to the major published category. These guides are:

  • Fong C, Australian Legal Citation - A Guide (Sydney: Prospect, 1998).
     

  • Melbourne University Law Review Association Inc, Australian Guide to Legal Citation (Melbourne: LULRA Inc, 1999).
     

  • Rozenberg P, Australian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (Sydney: LBC Information Services, 1998), a preliminary version of the electronic materials section.
     

  • Stuhmcke A, Legal Referencing (Sydney: Butterworths, 1998).

In itself, that there is such a large list of different guides does not bode well for a uniformity of styles developing. An examination of the individual styles shows marked differences in approach to electronic materials. On the one hand, the Bluebook strongly recommends against using any electronic reference materials, while other guides give such materials full acceptance and detailed rules.[4] Of those with rules, the rules given vary in what is required to be given and how it should be presented. For instance, most, but not all, recommend enclosing URLs in angle brackets.[5] The majority require a date of visit to be given.[6] On major principles of electronic citation there is majority similarity.

This majority similarity in broad principle is lost when detailed aspects are considered. The order in which items within the citation should be presented varies, as does, quite markedly, rules as to comma placement (or non placement), initialling (or not) of names, use and placement of full stops and so on. The table at the end of this paper illustrates the differences. These detailed issues, while minute in themselves, translate into major changes of form each time a change in citation style is imposed.

Despite calls for uniformity, no uniformity has arisen when existing styles are studied. The only area where uniformity is evident is in the area of citation of cases for those courts which have specified particular media and vendor neutral styles.[7] For that subset of cases, there is an externally imposed uniformity.[8]

3. Other Legal Citation Guides

There are many more citation guides serving specific groups such as individual journals or faculties. Some of these include:

  • Martin P, ' Introduction to Basic Legal Citation' (1997-98 ed.) (Cornell Law School, 10 June 1999).
     

  • 'Florida Style Manual', 4th ed, (1997) Florida State University Law Review 507 - 575.
     

  • Cunningham MA, 'Guide to Louisiana and selected French legal materials and citation' (1993) 67 Tulane Law Review 1305 - 56.
     

  • 'A Citation Manual for European Community Materials: second annual edition' (1996) 19 Fordham International Law Journal 694 - 711.
     

  • Queens University, Law Faculty, 'Legal Citation' (1997 version, 10 June 1999).
     

  • ls48Bohill R, 'Electronic Citation Guide for Legal Resources' (10 June 1999).
     

  • Murdoch University Library, ' Legal Citation Guide' (version 1996,10 June 1999).
     

  • ' Modes of Citation'.

The same lack of uniformity evident among the major guides is shown in the smaller guides. In fact, the differences in the more detailed matters show far greater variation than the major legal guides.

The differences are all differences of detail that can be traced to the original paper based style used. These specific purpose guides had developed their own unique style guides that suited their own purposes. When they added a section for electronic materials, they generally just modified the existing unique style and so carried forward the differences into the electronic area.

4. The Major Non-Legal Citation Guides

While there will be debate concerning which guides should be included in this section, at least the following will have general agreement[9].

  • The American Psychological Association Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA Guide)[10]. Presently publishing new edition which will include Internet referencing so nothing available on official site. Unofficial site by authors of the electronic amendments of the APA Guide, (10 June 1999) or Land T, 'Web Extension to American Psychological Association Style (WEAPAS)' (Rev. 1.6) (10 June 1999).
     

  • The Modern Language Association Guide The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (MLA Guide). Official Web site for the MLA which gives the Internet rules (10 June 1999).
     

  • Chicago Manual of Style, Fourteenth Edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993).
     

  • Karen Patrias, National Library of Medicine Recommended Formats for Bibliographic Citation (Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1991).
     

  • ISO, International Standard ISO 690-2 Information and documentation -- Bibliographic references - Part 2: Electronic documents or parts thereof . Excerpts printed on the WWW, (version 1999) <http://www.nlcbnc.ca/iso/tc46sc9/standard/690-2e.htm> (10 June 1999).

Stand alone guides which are published independent of a major organisation include:

  • Walker J, The Columbia Guide to Online Style (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998).
     

  • Li X and Crane N, Electronic Styles: A Handbook for Citing Electronic Information (Medford: Information Today, 1996).
     

  • Harnack A and Kleppinger E, Online!: A Reference Guide to Using Internet Sources (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997).

In addition, there are subject specific guides - such as citation of comic art. For instance

The major guides are in the process of publishing full guides, while the stand alone guides have already published their guidelines for Internet citation. There is absolutely no uniformity shown among the major non legal guides as the following example shows[11]:

ISO Format (International Standards Organization):
Robinson, Bruce. End of the World Predictions [online] [Kingston, Canada] Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, [published 1996-07-19],[revised 1998-10-10], and (cited 1998-10-12). Available from Internet: <URL:http://www.religioustolerance.org/end_wrld.htm>

APA Format (American Psychological Association):
Robinson, Bruce. (1996, July 19). End of the World Predictions. [Online] In Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. Available: http://www.religioustolerance.org/end_wrld.htm (1998, Oct 12).

MLA Format (Modern Language Association):
Robinson, Bruce A, 'End of the World Predictions' Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, 1998. http://www.religioustolerance.org/end_wrld.htm (1998, Oct 12).

Li and Crane:
Robinson, B. (1986). End of the World Predictions. In Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, [Online]. Available: URL: http://www.religioustolerance.org/end_wrld.htm

5. Other Non-Legal Citation Guides

There are very many guides for particular purposes. Locations of 'gateway' sites, that is sites that list numerous sites on a topic, include:

A review of these sites and the citation guides they describe reveals absolutely no uniformity of style. The further one looks the more styles emerge.

6. Coming up for Air: A Conclusion?

Having delved into the depths of citation style, one is left gasping for air, reeling with shock and surprised at the general murkiness of those depths. There is no uniformity at all within any of the guides. No common standard has appeared and it would appear no chance of one doing so in the future.

For an area where only three years ago there was nothing so that the proverbial 'clean slate' was available, the question raised is why has no uniformity developed. Calls had been raised to develop a common standard yet nothing resulted.[12]

The review of all the styles carried out, particularly when the styles are compared back to the styles for paper based citation shows that especially for the Law Review and major non-legal styles, the existing style was simply modified and carried through to the new mediums. Each style had been developed independently to serve individual needs. Whether those needs still hold or maintenance of the style was paramount, instead of developing something new, the older version was used. As a result, the same situation of numerous contradictory styles as exists with paper based citation has arisen with electronic and Internet citation.

Uniformity has developed in some areas. This is largely due to two reasons. The first is an externally imposed uniformity. The courts are beginning to take control and specify clearly what the new citation styles should be for their own materials. In Australia, the High Court consulted widely and then developed its own style for Internet citation. It then imposed this style by requiring it be used. The Canadian courts have also developed a common style.

The second way in which some uniformity is developing has been through attempts at collaboration and common standard setting. This is occurring at two levels. One is an informal level where a new guide will be developed by looking to existing guides and adopting one. In a more formal process, organisations such as the American Library Association are attempting to develop guides. While this will develop a better guide, it seems most likely that once published it will be just one more guide available for choice and no closer to a uniform standard.

Is there any chance of a common style developing? It seems unlikely given the way the multitude developed that suddenly the individual interests will abate. The better question is whether common elements will at least be accepted into all styles, even if minute differences remain. Items such as angle brackets to enclose the URL and date of access will allow readers to at least have a common platform when reading citations and so know instantly which part of the citation is which.

No Mulder. It's not a conspiracy. It's just a mess.

Footnotes

1. See for instance, Rozenberg P, Developing a Standard for Legal Citation of Electronic Information (1997) 4 (4) Elaw < http://www.murdoch.edu.au/elaw/issues/v4n4/rozenb44.html>.

2. The X-Files, presently showing on television. See <http://www.thex-files.com/>.

3. Writers in California (using the California Style Manual) and Texas (Texas Rules of Form) may object to the inclusion of the Bluebook in this list. All that can be said is that from the angle one views the debate from in Australia, the Bluebook has the market. Certainly a survey of quantity of comment about the guides on the Internet shows the most comment about the Bluebook (although quite what the statistic indicates is unclear).

4. McGill, Rozenberg and Stuhmcke allow the use of electronic referencing. Fong and University of Melbourne Law Review permit it but seem to recommend using alternate paper versions where available.

5. The Harvard Bluebook does not use angle brackets. The other published guides all use angle brackets. Angle brackets are used to denote that what is enclosed within the brackets is a continuous string of characters and that no additions or deletions should be made to the string. The angle brackets take away the ambiguity that arises when electronic information is printed so that typological conventions are imposed such as line breaks, sentence wraps, full stops etc. Without the bracket, it is unclear whether the full stop at the end of the line, for instance, is part of the URL or is just a full stop.

6. Fong and University of Melbourne Law Review do not ask for date of access or visit. Date of access is important since the Internet possesses invisible revisability. That is, it is able to be changed at any time, with no record of the change. Books, by comparison have visible revisablity since each new version has a different edition. The date of access attempts to deal with the invisible revisabilty issue by telling the reader that at the date listed, the reference was there, even if it is not there now. Archival copies (if available) can then be searched for to locate the version as at the required date.

7. For a list of the courts which have adopted these methods in Australia see Chung P, 'Medium Neutral Citation: A Comparison' (version 1999) < http://lawfoundation.net.au/lisc/recommend/chart.html> (10 June 1999).

8. The High Court of Australia adopted a media and vendor neutral form of citation for electronically published unreported decisions. No form has been specified for reported decisions published electronically since the court has stated that the paper version should be used. State Supreme Courts and other tribunals have followed the High Court and adopted its convention.

9. Further guides are listed by Dr Travel's Self Help Guide to Legal Citation <http://www.freedomlaw.com/LegCitations.html> (10 June 1999).

10. For examples of legal citations within the APA style, see < http://www.bgsu.edu/colleges/library/infosrv/lue/sowk/apa.html> (10 June 1999).

11. This first 4 examples are copied from Religious Tolerance.org 'Citing Internet References in Essays' <http://www.religioustolerance.org/int_cita.htm> (10 June 1999). The reminder are compiled by the author.

12. See for instance Rozenberg P, Developing a Standard for Legal Citation of Electronic Information (1997) 4 (4) Elaw < http://www.murdoch.edu.au/elaw/issues/v4n4/rozenb44.html> and the ISO attempts at ISO, International Standard ISO 690-2 Information and documentation - Bibliographic references - Part 2: Electronic documents or parts thereof. Excerpts printed on the WWW, (version 1999) <http://www.nlcbnc.ca/iso/tc46sc9/standard/690-2e.htm> (10 June 1999).

Appendix

MATERIAL GUIDE

Recommended citation from the major legal guides - same example used for comparison

BOOK

UK guide

No rules given.

Bluebook

"Because of the transient nature of many Internet sources, citation to Internet sources is discouraged unless the materials are unavailable in printed form or are difficult to obtain in their original form." No suggestions given for electronic material.

McGill

If paper version exists: William Shakespeare, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, :Romeo and Juliet, (London: Mody), online: MIT <http://wwwtech.mit.edu/Shakespeare/tragedy/romeoandjuliet/romeo andjuliet.html> (last modified 9 December 1996)..
If no paper version: Sidorko P, An Introduction to Legal Research, <http://wwwlib.newcastle.edu.au/faculty/law/intro.html> (date accessed: 7 May 1998).

Fong

No specific rule. Reference to general Internet rule produces: Shakespeare W, The complete works of william shakespeare: Romeo and juliet 1996, <http://www-tech.mit.edu/Shakespeare/tragedy/romeoandjuliet/rome oandjuliet.html> (10 June 1999)

Melb Law Rev

No rule given.

Rozenberg

If paper version exists: Shakespeare W, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare :Romeo and Juliet, (London: Mody): <http://www-tech.mit.edu/Shakespeare/tragedy/romeoandjuliet/rome oandjuliet.html> (7 May 1998)..
If no paper version exists: Sidorko P, An Introduction to Legal Research <http://wwwlib.newcastle.edu.au/faculty/law/intro.html> (7 May 1998).

Stuhmcke

No rule given but recommended should cite to version used. Thus using general rule: Shakespeare W, 'Romeo and Juliet' 'Complete Works of William Shakespeare' 1996 <http://www-tech.mit.edu/Shakespeare/tragedy/romeoandjuliet/rome oandjuliet.html> (7/5/98).

MATERIAL GUIDE

Recommended citation from the major legal guides - same example used for comparison

JOURNAL

UK guide

No rules given.

Bluebook

Do not use. "Because of the transient nature of many Internet sources, citation to Internet sources is discouraged unless the materials are unavailable in printed form or are difficult to obtain in their original form."
For electronic journals: Dan L. Burk, Trademarks Along the Infobahn: A First Look at the Emerging Law of Cybermarks, 1 Rich. J.L. & Tech. 1, 12 (Apr. 10, 1995) http://www.urich.edu/~jolt/vlil/burk.html.

McGill

Dan Burk. "Trademarks Along the Infobahn: A First Look at the Emerging Law of Cybermarks" (1995) 1 Rich. J.L. & Tech. 1, online: Richmond Journal of Law and Technology <http://www.urich.edu/~jolt/vlil/burk.html>(date accessed: 6 June 1998).

Fong

If paper version exists, cite to either paper or electronic version. Sully B, Judicial independence under the charter of rights. Australian snapshot - Canadian Camera (1997) 1 Mac LR 1-40 OR Sully B, Judicial independence under the charter of rights. Australian snapshot - Canadian Camera <http://libweb.macarthur.uws.edu.au/maclr.htm>
If only electronic version: Burk D, Trademarks along the infobahn: A first look at the emerging law of cybermarks <http://www.urich.edu/~jolt/vlil/burk.html>

Melb Law Rev

If paper version exists, cite to paper version.
If no paper version : Dan Burk, 'Trademarks Along the Infobahn: A First Look at the Emerging Law of Cybermarks'(1995) 1 Rich. J.L. & Tech. 1 <http://www.urich.edu/~jolt/vlil/burk.html>.

Rozenberg

If paper version exists: Sully B, Judicial independence under the charter of rights. Australian snapshot - Canadian Camera (1997) 1 Mac LR 1-40: <http://libweb.macarthur.uws.edu.au/maclr.htm>(6 June 1998)
If no paper version exists: Burk D, Trademarks Along the Infobahn: A First Look at the Emerging Law of Cybermarks (1995) JOLT <http://www.urich.edu/~jolt/vlil/burk.html> (6 June 1998).

Stuhmcke

No rule given but recommended should cite to version used. Thus using general rule: Burk D, Trademarks Along the Infobahn: A First Look at the Emerging Law of Cybermarks 1995 <http://www.urich.edu/~jolt/vlil/burk.html> (6/6/98).

MATERIAL GUIDE

Recommended citation from the major legal guides - same example used for comparison

Legislation

UK guide

No rules given.

Bluebook

Do not use Internet version. Because of the transient nature of many Internet sources, citation to Internet sources is discouraged unless the materials are unavailable in printed form or are difficult to obtain in their original form.

McGill

Trade Practices Act (Cth) 1974 s52, online: AustLII <http://www.austlii.edu.au/legis/cth/consol_act/tpa1974/s52.html> (date accessed:10 February 1998).

Fong

Trade Practices Act (Cth) 1974 s52: Source: AustLII <http://www.austlii.edu.au/legis/cth/consol_act/tpa1974/s52.html> (10 Feb 1998).

Melb Law Rev

No rule given.

Rozenberg

Either: Trade Practices Act (Cth) 1974 s52: <http://www.austlii.edu.au/legis/cth/consol_act/tpa1974/s52.html> (10 Feb 1998). OR Trade Practices Act (Cth) 1974 s52.

Stuhmcke

Trade Practices Act (Cth) 1974 s52: <http://www.austlii.edu.au/legis/cth/consol_act/tpa1974/s52.html> (10/2/98)

MATERIAL GUIDE

Recommended citation from the major legal guides - same example used for comparison

CASES

UK guide

No rules given.

Bluebook

Do not use. "Because of the transient nature of many Internet sources, citation to Internet sources is discouraged unless the materials are unavailable in printed form or are difficult to obtain in their original form."

McGill

The Commonwealth of Australia v Tasmania (1983) 158 CLR 1, online: AustLII <http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/high_ct/158clr1.html> (date accessed: 5 September 1997).

Fong

Reported: Appears to suggest use of paper version.
Unreported: Discussion of these but no rules or example given.

Melb Law Rev

Reported: Use paper version
Unreported, pre medium neutral citation: Georg Rudolf Dirr v R (Unreported, Northern Territory Supreme Court, 25 July 1997) <http:www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/nt/supreme_ct/unrep973.html> at 25 May 1997 (Copy on file with author).
Unreported, medium neutral: The Hancock Family Memorial Foundation v Porteous & Anor [1999] WASC 55, Unreported, 10 June 1999) <http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/wa/WASC/1999/55.html> at 10 June 1999 (Copy on file with author).

Rozenberg

Reported, pre medium neutral or court not using: The Commonwealth of Australia v Tasmania (1983) 158 CLR 1: <http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/high_ct/158clr1.html> (5 Sept 1997).
Reported, cases under medium neutral citation: Use official paper version.
Unreported, pre medium neutral or court not using: Georg Rudolf Dirr v R, Unreported NT SC No CA5 1997 :<http:www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/nt/supreme_ct/unrep973.html> (25 May 1997)
Unreported, cases under medium neutral citation: The Hancock Family Memorial Foundation v Porteous & Anor [1999] WASC 55.

Stuhmcke

Published while medium neutral in experimental stage. Describes it but gives no rules as to use.
Georg Rudolf Dirr v R, Unreported Northern Territory Supreme Court Decision No CA5 of 1997 14/3/1997 <http:www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/nt/supreme_ct/unrep973.html> (25/5/97)

MATERIAL GUIDE

Recommended citation from the major legal guides - same example used for comparison

WEB SITE

UK guide

No rules.

Bluebook

Scott Adams, The Dilbert Zone (visited Jan. 20, 1996) http://www.unitedmedia.com/comics/dilbert.

McGill

Scott Adams, The Dilbert Zone , online: Comic Explorer <http://www.unitedmedia.com/comics/dilbert> (date accessed: 20 January 1996).

Fong

Adams S, "The Dilbert Zone", Comic Explorer <http://www.unitedmedia.com/comics/dilbert> (20 January 1996).

Melb Law Rev

No rule given

Rozenberg

Adams S, 'The Dilbert Zone' <http://www.unitedmedia.com/comics/dilbert> (20 Jan 1996).

Stuhmcke

Adams S, "The Dilbert Zone", Comic Explorer <http://www.unitedmedia.com/comics/dilbert> (20 January 1996).

MATERIAL GUIDE

Recommended citation from the major legal guides - same example used for comparison

EMAIL

UK guide

No rules.

Bluebook

No rules.

McGill

No rule apparent

Fong

Greenbaum A, 'Greetings' <pearl@law.usyd.edu.au> 27 Aug 1997.

Melb Law Rev

Abe Greenbaum, <a.greenbaum@unsw.edu.au>, email 27 August 1997.

Rozenberg

Greenbaum A, 'Greetings' 27 Aug 1997 <a.greenabum@unsw.edu.au> (28 Aug 1997).

Stuhmcke

Greenbaum A, <a.greenbaum@unsw.edu.au> "Greetings" 27 August 1997 Personal email (28/8/97)

MATERIAL GUIDE

Recommended citation from the major legal guides - same example used for comparison

Newsgroups

Bulletin Boards  

UK guide

No rules.

Bluebook

No rules.

McGill

No rule apparent

Fong

Description but no clear rules.

Melb Law Rev

John Smith <jsmith@mail.com.au>, 'Citation Issues', newsgroup <misc.legal.moderated>, (2 January 1998).

Rozenberg

Smith J, <jsmith@mail.com.au>, 'Citation Issues' 1 Jan 1998 <misc.legal.moderated>, (2 January 1998).

Stuhmcke

Smith J <jsmith@mail.com.au>, 'Citation Issues' 1/1/98 <misc.legal.moderated>, (2/1/98).


This is a Commentary published on 29 February 2000.

Citation: Rozenberg P, 'Referencing and Citation of Internet Resources - 'The Truth is out There'', Commentary, 2000 (1) The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT). <http://elj.warwick.ac.uk/jilt/00-1/rozenberg.html> .New Citation as at 1/1/04: <http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/jilt/2000_1/rozenberg/>

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