08 January 2009

Footnotes and Endnotes and Citations and All That

So, I still haven't been able to go to the library so I'm wandering through a biography of Theodore Roosevelt. This is one of those books that has interesting notes, not just citations of where a quote came from, etc. The trouble is that they're all endnotes, so I'm flipping to the back of the book all the time, and it's hard to find the correct page because I'm jumping around the biography. This happens to me all the time. I don't think there's a perfect way to do notes.

I think my least favorite system is the one that's becoming more popular- where there are no superscript numbers and the endnotes at the back refer to a phrase in the text. You have to spend all sorts of time flipping back that, because you don't even know if there's a possibility that something interesting is hiding back there. At least with regular endnotes you know when to flip back.

I don't really understand why footnotes seem scary, especially in popular fiction. I think my favorite system is when there are numbered endnotes for basic citations, but also footnotes for longer and more interesting notes. Sometimes the notes are as good as the text and I don't want to miss any. Maybe I'll start a group to bring back the footnotes in popular nonfiction.

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