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To p. or to pp.

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Sunday 6 April, 2014

Blog series: Academic referencing is stuck in a print era

Topic: Page numbering

I have been designing some new software to make writing to academic standards easy: ComWriter. Well, I didn’t know what I was getting into with academic referencing: APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, Turabian, AGLC, Bluebook, OSCOLA, Oxford, Vancouver, and the list goes on. Firstly, there is no official Harvard style, everyone seems to have their own flavour.

What I have uncovered is that academic referencing is stuck in a bygone era of print media. Trying to create the automated rules for referencing has been a very big challenge. We are winning the battle, but this blog series is going to highlight some of the, well, to put it bluntly, stupidity surrounding referencing.

Today I am picking on page numbering. That should be easy shouldn’t it? Well no. Let’s see how may ways there are to write pages:

A single page:

  1. p. 2
  2. p.2 [no space]
  3. p 2
  4. p2 [no space]
  5. 2 [the nude version]

A page span:

  1. pp. 235-237
  2. pp. 235-37
  3. pp. 235-7
  4. pp.235-237 [no space]
  5. pp.235-37 [no space]
  6. pp.235-7 [no space]
  7. pp 235-237 [no dot]
  8. pp 235-37 [no dot]
  9. pp 235-7 [no dot]
  10. 235-237
  11. 235-37
  12. 235-7

And, do we include pages in brackets (), [] or not? Which means a page span now has 36 options!

  • 2002 (2-3)
  • 2002 [2-3]
  • 2002 2-3 [no brackets]

Then, do we need to add a comma or a full stop afterwards, which means we now have 108 options for a page span!!!

  • 2002 (2-3)
  • 2002 [2-3]
  • 2002 2-3 [no brackets]
  • 2002. (2-3)
  • 2002. [2-3]
  • 2002. 2-3 [no brackets]
  • 2002, (2-3)
  • 2002, [2-3]
  • 2002, 2-3 [no brackets]

In summary, when writing a reference with page numbers included (I won’t list here the rules for when there are no pages!), a writer needs to ask:

  1. Is there a single page, or a page span (2 options)?
  2. How do I notate the numbers in the span (3 options: all numbers, last number, last two numbers)?
  3. Do I add brackets (3 options: square, round, none)?
  4. Does it need p or pp before the number/s (2 options: yes, no)?
  5. What punctuation do I include (3 options: comma, full stop, none)?
  6. Any spaces to add (2 options: yes or no)?

So, if my maths is correct that is: 2 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 2 x 2 =216 possibilities for writing page numbers! Easy peezie…yes?

But, when I have nailed down the exact configuration I need from the 216 options, I still need to consider:

  1. Is the configuration the same or different for: in-text citation, footnote, reference list?
  2. Where do I locate the pages in terms of the other data I need?

And that’s all a student needs to do to consider page numbering in their referencing! 

by Dr Linda Glassop

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Filed under Academic referencing, Grammar and punctuation tips

Writing University Papers is Easy Using ComWriter: watch this

 

 

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March 21, 2014 · 9:46 AM

ComWriter: finalist in AIMIA Awards 2014 ‘Best of Websites & Online: education & learning’

AIMI Awards

AIMI Awards

The Annual AIMIA Awards are the longest running and most prestigious Awards in Australia’s Digital Industry. Entries are judged by a panel of over 160 Australian & International industry experts.

Auto format your writing to academic standards

Auto format your writing to academic standards

All winners will be celebrated at the 20th Annual AIMIA Awards ceremony in April 2014.

 

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January 16, 2014 · 3:14 AM

ComWriter functionality leaves old ‘word processors’ behind

ComWriter is the only writing platform to provide the breadth of functionality actually needed to write to academic standards (see diagram).

ComWriter functionality outstrips the competitors

ComWriter functionality outstrips the competitors

While Microsoft suggests they support the education market, all they do is provide discounted licenses to an old product. Even their new cloud-based subscriptions (MS365) are a cutdown (and clumsy) version of their tired product. Microsoft’s real target is large corporates.

Likewise Google also suggests it supports the education market. But, realistically Google Docs is not different to MS Word, except that it is a stripped down version that is cloud-based and free. Google’s primary target is small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and individuals they can advertise to.

Neither of these suppliers/products actually delivers the functionality required by students and academics to meet academic standards. All the word processors that we have investigated, all seem to work much the same as MS Word. So there has been no real innovation in writing products since the inception of referencing software about 10 years ago!

We think it’s time to change that scenario. And, our mapping of ComWriter’s functionality against these two giant word processors, suggest we have hit the mark.

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