I remember when it was desirable to find citations relevant to what one had written: it anchored one’s work to that of others, so that it didn’t seem merely eccentric. How nice to find some obscure reference backing up what one wanted to say! But the proliferation of journals and people writing in them has changed this: now there is just too much to keep up with, especially if you write in multiple areas. If you cite everything relevant, you drown your own work in citations. Already one risks offending people and not being deemed sufficiently “scholarly” if one tries to keep one’s citations under control (and they don’t look pretty as they eat up the page). How far can this go? What if every paper you write has at least 500 relevant sources for you to cite? How will it be in fifty years? Will you be expected to cite all the relevant stuff? (This is not even to mention reading all of it.) I’ve already decided to cut citations drastically in my writing: it has just become too unmanageable.
6 responses to “Citation”
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