[Bell Historians] Citations for Ringing World references
Carl S Zimmerman
csz_stl at 2oY7lfq77_seDo2HG3gW9laKjaEvMYPbOqFhEhADH9epCcSCqDRYEZxq2KUVfymdtZTiGP9K97jt.yahoo.invalid
Mon Nov 6 15:01:56 GMT 2006
Chris has raised a very good question. It would be interesting to
have a professional bibliographer's answer, because the RW's practice
of using a single continuous sequence of issue numbers is certainly
less common than the practice of using volume and issue numbers. I'm
certain that a bibliographer would require page number; as to the
other details, I can only offer my own analysis.
Issue number and issue date are each sufficient to find a particular
issue. Therefore, using both together is redundant. However,
redundancy has its uses. For one thing, it serves as a cross-check
against typographic errors - the number and date should agree with
each other. For another, it allows the user to determine which form
of issue specification to use - the number may stick in the mind
easier than the date, or vice versa.
Because page numbering is continuous throughout the year, it is also
sufficient to specify year and page number to find a particular
With an issue specification but without a page number, finding a
reference is tedious, but not unbearably so. Issues are not large
(28 pages is unusual), and the nature of the reference (peal, quarter
peal, letter, article) makes it easy to limit the line-by-line search
to just a few pages within the issue. Thus page number, though
valuable, is not absolutely necessary.
With a year+page specification but without an issue identification,
finding a reference is easy if one is dealing with issues which have
been bound into volumes by year, because the pagination is continuous
throughout the year. But it's difficult if one is dealing with loose
issues, because the front cover of an issue never carries a page
Finding a reference from an issue number without the date or page can
be difficult when dealing with bound volumes, as Chris showed.
Standard practice for a library bindery would be for the volume label
(on the spine) to include not only the year but also the range of
issues (since there is no volume number). But a private bindery
might not do this unless the customer specified it. So think of this
the next time you take a year's worth of RW to your local bookbinder!
From a database viewpoint, an entirely different criterion arises.
As on the Felstead cards, or in the pNBR, one wants to minimize the
size of each reference. Partly this is to save storage space and
processing time (though that's much less important in recent years
than in the early days of computers). More importantly, the less
data you have to write or type, the less risk there is that you will
make an error.
Finally, there is the consideration that having at least the year in
the citation makes it easy to compare the ages of references to
With all these concerns in mind, my own preference in recording
references is to use issue(year)page, thus: "RW#4978(2006)p924". If
later I were to use this reference in a letter or article, I would
first verify it against the original and then write it as "The
Ringing World, September 22, 2006, p.924". This expanded format also
identifies issue, year and page.
Still, I would like to see a professional bibliographer's answer to
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