“Behind the Tweed Curtain”: The Copyediting.com Interview

Copyediting.com (the current incarnation of the longstanding industry newsletter Copyediting) invited me to introduce the world of scholarly and dissertation editing. Of course, I agreed. Today, the interview was posted, and the phrase “behind the tweed curtain” was born! (Copyediting’s online editor Dawn McIlvain Stahl came up with that gem.) If you’re interested to know what I think about editing and why I love working with scholarly writers, head over to Copyediting.com and find out. Incidentally, I enjoy fielding questions about my work, so feel free to contact me anytime. Also, are you going to be participating in Academic Book Writing Month...

Ask TWEED: Is Citing Online Journal Databases Necessary?

Dear TWEED Editing: I have a question for you, Mistress Tweed. My students informed me recently that MLA requires that bibliographic citations obtained through a database require that the database be included in the citation. So their citations end up looking like this: DeRogatis, Amy. “Born again is a sexual term”: demons, STDs, and God’s healing sperm.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 77.2 (2009): 275-302. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials. EBSCO. Web. 5 May 2010. Is this legit? —S. M. Well, TWEEDLE, I think it’s more than legit: your students are covering all of their bases. If a student uses an academic database for full-text content, quoting and paraphrasing from that digital version, then it is appropriate to include the extra information. Why would this additional location information be necessary? The MLA Handbook explains, “In some databases, typographic features and even the pagination found in print versions may be altered or lost. Sometimes copyrighted third-party materials (illustrations or text) in a print version may have been eliminated because permission for the electronic publication could not be cleared. Web presentations of periodicals may include enhancements, such as hypertextual links, sound recordings, and film clips, that are not present in their print counterparts.” (I retrieved that from 5.6.4, p. 192, of the seventh edition.) Chicago and APA basically concur. However, the formatting of the example you give needs some tweaking. The example looks indeed like it came right from the citation function within ATLA (the religious studies database) directly, but in this case at least it seems that ATLA has improperly formatted the MLA citation to its own content....

Ask TWEED: How Do I Cite DVD Bonus Features?

Dear TWEED Editing: My roommate is doing a paper on a film and wants to quote the director from the director’s commentary. Do you have a website recommendation that would explain how one could properly format that in their ‘Works Cited’ section? –M.G. Esteemed TWEEDLE, The answer will depend somewhat on what citation guide you are using—usually Chicago, MLA, or APA. Because you work in the arts, I’m going to assume that APA is not your format and move on to the others. MLA is probably your citation style if you are using parenthetical citations in the paper, with a works cited list at the end. MLA does not give a specific format for citing director commentary on DVD, but here is an excellent—if I do say so myself—paradigm to follow: Gondry, Michel and Charlie Kaufman. Audio commentary. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Dir. Gondry. Perf. Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, and Kirsten Dunst. Focus Features, 2004. DVD. (Remember to use a hanging indent for works cited entries!) To break that down, all participants in the commentary are listed first. If you are citing a specific quote in your paper, then do introduce the speaker of that particular snippet in the body of your paper. The parenthetical citation would look something like this, for instance: (Gondry, 2004). The director is always indicated after the film title, but I also included what MLA calls “other data that seem pertinent”—here, the marquee performers. You might also want to include the screenwriter or producer, for instance. These would also go between the title and distributor, after the director. If your film has...