The Old Scholar's Historical Thoughts

September 25, 2009

How do we reference New Media Research?

Filed under: New Media Questions — theoldscholar @ 6:33 pm

Just a silly question. When I reference an article that I pull off of JSTOR I just reference the magazine and author, as if I went and actually got the real publication. Some of the web sites we have been looking at have scanned in primary sources, like turn of the century newspapers. If I want to reference an article in one of those newspapers, do I reference it like I actually had the newspaper? (This is what I would do if I went to a library and looked at in micro-fiche.)

The reason I ask this is Carl showed how easy it is to manipulate scanned images. I don’t want to be using a fake but I can’t see the paper and determine it’s authenticity. Do I cite the paper and the web site that provided the primary document?

New media makes primary documents more accessible – does it also make them more suspect?



  1. That’s a really good question. For one of my research papers, I also used online resources, such as runaway slave ads compiled in a database. To reference them, I wrote the footnote as if I had the paper and then noted where I found it. I don’t know if this is the correct format – it’s just what I did. Here is a sample:

    Runaway Ad, Virginia Independent Chronicle, April 9, 1788, Richmond. Available from “The Geography of Slavery in Virginia,” (accessed March 4, 2008).


    Comment by lprice3 — September 25, 2009 @ 8:16 pm | Reply

    • Thanks, I see what you did and I was going to do the same thing. Especially if it is data that has been changed from the original and put in a database or taken from the original and typed into a file. To make sure we document everything it would be a good idea to always show our source but it seems silly when I can read the actual newspaper (

      Comment by theoldscholar — September 25, 2009 @ 9:49 pm | Reply

  2. I agree with Lynn on this one. When I reference an original source from a digital archive, I think it works to cite the document as one would normally, and include the online availability. Apparently the footnoting on my ( and in my biblio work…( but I did not include the accessed on information that has become the standard.


    Comment by DeadGuyQuotes — October 5, 2009 @ 9:44 pm | Reply

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