Presentational Conventions

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1. Introduction

Because I write as an amateur, I am not obliged to adhere to any particular standards or conventions for research writing. I have, though, found some conventions to be very useful. These are not, however, generally accepted in any field. (In other words, if you use them in your academic or professional paper, it'll be sent right back to you by your professor/editor for correction.)

2. {Braces} for Bibliographic Citations

I need a way to mark hyperlinked bibliographic citations, but I don't particularly care for the current trends in citation standards in the field in which I was trained (Eng. Lit.) They're becoming too slick, and in the supposed interest of streamlining the text they can confuse a general reader. The klunkier style used in some scientific publication standards which employs a brief author/date citation enclosed in [square brackets] works much better. Thus: [Daniels 1981], where this in turn is a reference (or hyperlink) to a full entry for the work in a bibliography (also labeled "[Daniels 1981]").

Unfortunately, this style's use of [square brackets] conflicts with the use of [square brackets] in Eng. Lit. (where they are used to distinguish editorial material from quoted material). Making this distinction is of overriding importance, so I'll adhere to the Eng. Lit. convention for it and reserve [square brackets].

I can't use the < and > signs easily, because they're embedded in the text markup language I use (the TEI P5).

Of the paired characters on a standard keyboard, ignoring (parentheses) and 'single' and "double" quotation marks, this leaves only {braces}. So my convention for marking bibliographic citations will be to enclose them in {braces}. Thus: {Daniels 1981}.

It looks a bit odd at first, but it really works quite well.


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