Friday, January 6, 2012

Oh, to Put an End to Endnotes

I dislike endnotes and it appears that I am not alone, nor am I the first to complain!  This is an excellent essay-sized footnote on endnotes with endnotes by Michael V. Fox.

Michael V. Fox, From the Editor: On Footnotes, in Hebrew Studies 28.  Read/download this article here (PDF).

Fox's case against Endnotes:

  1. Endnotes, particularly in books, are a nuisance.
  2. Endnotes are usually...imposed on authors by publishers...
  3. Endnotes trail behind everything else
Fox's case for Footnotes:
  1. Footnotes...[are] right there to read in a moment...
  2. Footnotes are...intrinsically significant.
  3. [F]ootnotes anchor the thought in the earlier scholarship from which it proceeded.
  4. Footnotes...go along with text.
Also worthy of consideration is his argument in endnote 4 against the misplaced priorities of the standard style sheets for bibliographies.  Having worked extensively with bibliographies, I always find it frustrating when the author's name is abbreviated.  I agree wholeheartedly that the most essential information in a bibliography is the author's name, the title of the work, and the date.  I wish that all of the information would be present including the city and publisher's name, but if anything must be abbreviated it ought to be the publisher's information.

[HT: Jim Davila @ who links to Christian Brady's post @ Targuman who gives credit to having received this from Robert Holmstedt.]