Friday, March 7, 2008

How to Cite a Blog NLM MLA APA (Better?)

Since blogs are a fairly new medium, there are few standards out there on how they relate to the 'old media,' especially when you consider the world of academics and medicine. Blogs are ephemeral much like journals; they reflect a point of view at a certain place and time. They do not necessarily have rigorous editorial standards or the same degree of permanence or authority as journals. They may be considered less authoritative then a formal presentation, although many formal presentations are two parts opinion to one part fact.

Regardless of where a blog post lands on the authority or importance scale, if you ever wanted to formally cite/credit where you got a reference from here is how you would do it (from NLM citation guide):

R = Required, O= Optional

Full scheme:

Author/Editor (R) | Author Affiliation (O) | Title (R) | Content Type (O) | Type of Medium (R) | Editor and other Secondary Authors (O) | Place of Publication (R) | Publisher (R) | Date of Publication (R) | Date of Citation (R) | Availability (R) | Language (R) | Notes (O)

Required Only Scheme:

Author/Editor (R) | Title (R) | Type of Medium (R) | Place of Publication (R) | Publisher (R) | Date of Publication (R) | Date of Citation (R) | Availability (R) | Language (R)

Required Only Example (example adapted from NLM website)

Sinclair CT. Pallimed: A Hospice & Palliative Medicine Blog [Internet]. Milwaukee: Drew Rosielle. 2008 Mar - [cited 2008 Mar 7]. Available from: http://www.pallimed.org/.
Interestingly they do not seem to identify the periodic nature of blogs which would help the reader reviewing the citation more accurately identify the post in question. How would you know which of hundreds of posts the citation was referring to? Also language is less critical and rarely mentioned unless other than English for most medical journals. And place of publication is rather irrelevant for blogs as well as publisher since we are not part of a formal publisher.

So to be more accurate and concise, I would think this approach to citation would be more helpful:

Pallimed Proposed NLM Style:

Author/Editor (R) | Title of Blog Post (R) |Name of Blog | Type of Medium (R) | Date of Publication (R) | Date of Citation (R) | Availability (R)

Example:
Sinclair CT. Two Weeks of Life - Memoir; Placebo JAMA Study. Pallimed: A Hospice & Palliative Medicine Blog [Internet]. 2008 Mar 4 [Cited 2008 Mar 7]. Available from: http://www.pallimed.org/2008/03/two-weeks-of-life-memoir-placebo-jama.html
But that is not necessarily the official way. Just my two cents.

Here is how JAMA (& presumably Archives journals) publish blog citations:
13. Levy P. Blackberry cold turkey [December 18, 2006]. http://runningahospital.blogspot.com . Accessed December 6, 2007.
Here is the direct link to the original post from Running a Hospital.

The National Library of Medicine has a more exhaustive resource on citing medical references from online resources so if you have questions go there.

Here are the specifics for Pallimed if you need to cite more accurate information:

Official Title: Pallimed: A Hospice & Palliative Medicine Blog
Editor: Drew A. Rosielle (Rosielle DA)
Contributors: Christian T. Sinclair (Sinclair CT) & Thomas E Quinn (Quinn TE)
Publisher: Drew A. Rosielle
Location: Milwaukee, WI

To find the exact URL for a specific post, click on either the title of the post (at the top) or the date of the post (at the bottom)

You can also cite comments sections, but the rules for that are a bit more complex so please reference the NLM website for more information. For MLA style citation of a blog/website, see the OWL at Purdue. For APA syle citation of a blog/website go here. Both are services of the OWL at Purdue, a online tutor/guideline service. If you don't know the difference between the two, here is a good comparison.

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