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Citation question - sources within sources - History Graduate Students

About Citation question - sources within sources

Previous Entry Citation question - sources within sources Feb. 13th, 2010 @ 07:27 pm Next Entry
This is probably a really obvious answer to most, but it's something I've never quite been able to get a handle on. (And I've had different profs give different answers over the years when I have asked previously).

When you have a primary source cited within a secondary source - say, Dr. John Appleseed, in his paper on the genetic line of the Macintosh apple, quotes from a letter written from the colonies back home in the 1500s. I toddle off and pull the letter from Joe Q. Apple, esq. from EEBO and take a look. I end up using the original letter in my paper as well.

Do I cite Joe Q Apple as a primary source with no reference to Dr. John Appleseed in that specific citation, since I pulled the letter and looked at it separately (instead of taking Appleseed's word for what it said)?

Or do I cite Joe Apple's letter as originally being referenced by Dr. Appleseed, even though I'm using it independently of Appleseed's points, because he's the one who found the thing in the first place and I'm piggybacking on his work?

It feels like cheating to use an obscure primary source and not make note of how I came across it, but on the other hand, if I find and follow up on an interesting and useful book or journal article in a paper's footnotes or works cited, I don't mention *that* in my own paper's footnotes.

What's the protocol there?
Current Mood: curious
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From:hollyberrie05
Date:February 14th, 2010 12:21 am (UTC)
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This
From:endxgame
Date:February 14th, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
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It's this (although I think it's supposed to be "cited in...", but I'm not sure).


It is definitely listed in the Chicago Manual of Style so go look at that if you want to be correct.
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From:joane
Date:February 14th, 2010 12:13 pm (UTC)
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I did check before posting, and what I saw mentioned sources quoted within other sources, but not what to do if you used more of/other pieces of the primary source than was referenced in the secondary source. As I understood it, anyway.
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From:rache_joy
Date:February 14th, 2010 12:21 am (UTC)
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Well, there are two ways you can do it.

If you are primarily using the material that Appleseed quoted in his paper, you'd cite the letter in the book: Joe Q Apple to [daughter's name], 16 September 1682, in John Appleseed, [and the rest of his citation, book or article].

If you are using the letter and not sticking just to what Appleseed revealed, cite the original letter. Joe Q Apple to [daughter's name], [date], [and then where you found it - the online database or archive information]. If you choose this route, you can always include an explanatory portion of the citation directing people to Appleseed's work as another place they can find a discussion of the original letter. I often add things like, "See a discussion of this letter in John Appleseed, ...]
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From:tyopsqueene
Date:February 14th, 2010 08:57 am (UTC)
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This is the correct answer.
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From:joane
Date:February 14th, 2010 12:11 pm (UTC)
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That's the distinction that was the sticking point for me, and you've cleared it up beautifully. Thanks so much!
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From:azhit44
Date:November 7th, 2011 06:20 am (UTC)
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exactly.
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From:hawkeye7
Date:February 14th, 2010 07:48 am (UTC)
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You can't cite a primary source without saying where you found it. Use the "cited in" form as suggested above. Normally the primary source is found in an archive, in which case you use that archive's standard form. Don't try and copy Appleseed's primary reference, as no end of things can go wrong. Remember, the purpose of the reference is to enable someone else to locate the thing.
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From:joane
Date:February 14th, 2010 12:10 pm (UTC)
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It's not about where I found it or copying Appleseed's citation, but whether and how I properly give Appleseed a nod for being the original place where I saw the primary source referenced, *as well as* the proper citation for the primary source itself. Which has been pretty well answered.
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