Citing Databases

I did not have much luck in finding use of databases in the most recent articles in The Journal of Southern History. While searching through footnotes, the most highly utilized sources were books, followed by scholarly articles. I am interested to know if the authors found those scholarly articles via databases, because if they did, then the majority certainly did not cite them as such. The following are examples of where I found authors citing electronic databases or sources within their footnotes.

In one article titled “West Virginia Mountaineers and Kentucky Frontiersmen: Race, Manliness, and the Rhetoric of Liberalism in the Early 1960s,” found in the August 2014 issue of the JSH, the author used material from the JFK Library Digital Collection, and provided links to the pertinent information in multiple footnotes. In another two footnotes there were references to Gallup polls that had been taken in the 1960s with links to the website where they could be found.

In the May 2014 issue of the Journal, the author of “Centers of Creation: John Perkins Barratt’s Biogeographical Theory of Racial Origins” provided a doi to a journal article.

In “The Electric Home and Farm Authority, ‘Model T Appliances,’ and the Modernization of the Home Kitchen in the South,” the author used information from the US Census Bureau and provided links to the site. Additionally, she also linked back to The American Presidency Project. This article can be found in the February 2014 issue of JSH.

In the February 2012 issue of the Journal, the author of  “The Legacy of Indian Removal” used the HeritageQuest Online subscription database to find census information. A link to an article found in the online database for Neshoba Democrat was found in the footnotes as well as well as multiple links to the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program.

The following is the best example of citing databases and online sources that I found when going through the Journals. The author of “Border Men: Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, and Civil Rights,” found in the February 2014 edition, is very transparent in citing his sources and is not hesitant to admit when he utilized databases or other online resources. He used the Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, accessed through the subscription-based electronic edition by Johns Hopkins University Press. The online resource The American Presidency Project was cited in the footnotes, and included a link to the site. The author used information from speeches given by Truman and Johnson, which were found online at the Presidential Speech Archive. In addition, he cited the web version of a Washington Post news article, and utilized the Eisenhower online archives. One of Johnson’s speeches was posted by the LBJ Library on Youtube, and the author provided a link to the article in his footnotes.

This is only a sampling of the information (or lack thereof) that I found within the last few years in The Journal of Southern History. I was incredibly surprised that there were not more databases cited within the articles, and it makes me question the transparency and legitimacy of these authors’ research. If a scholar uses an electronic version of an article, then he/she needs to provide the database name at the very least within their bibliography or notes. Scholars who use digital sources of any kind need to engage in a conversation to ensure that they adhere to proper standards of citation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *