If we can all think back to university for a minute; what was the worst part of your time there? Was it this? Could it be something along these lines? No, the man who ruined it all and a name that should send a shiver down your spine is Edward Laurens Mark – the pioneer of parenthetical referencing, or the Harvard System.
Having spent the last few days with colleagues standardising references in a soon to be published text, my disdain for Mr. Mark has reached new heights.
Edward’s first foray referencing came in his role as Hersey professor of anatomy and director of Harvard’s zoological laboratory. In 1881 Mark published a landmark paper on the common garden slug, then on page 194 of that work appears a parenthetic author-year citation accompanied by an explanatory footnote. Indeed, a former student of Mark, Theodore Roosevelt, was one of the first students to write his thesis using this style. Mark’s basic system, which only became known as the Harvard System in the mid 20th century, remains intact and is still in use by many students, journals and academics to this day. [Source: http://www.uefap.com/writing/referenc/harvard.pdf].
All in all, my contempt for Edward is similar to schoolchildren who bemoan the work of William Shakespeare. Similar to taking Benilyn cough syrup for a cold. Hard to swallow, but when it’s all said and done – it’s good for you.
Referencing has moved on a little since the days of Edward Laurens Mark, so here’s a little social media referencing 101:
- Krums, J. (2009) There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy. Twitter [online] Posted 15 January. Available from: http://Twitter.com/jkrums/status/1121915133 [Accessed on: 08 March 2012]
Tip: if real name is unknown, reference the username.
- Obama, B. (2009) Humbled. http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/
Facebook [online] Posted 9 October. Available from: http://www.facebook.com/xxx
[Accessed on: 08 March 2012]
Tip: if using a brand/fan page, reference the brand/fan page name.
- McDonald, M. (2012) (2012) Mountainous, Nature pinboard. Pinterest [online] Posted 03 March. Available from: http://pinterest.com/pin/
106679084893337155/ [Accessed: 08 March 2012].