As I teach my technology classes, I always make it a requirement for students to cite their work and give links to resources they’ve used. In this new digitally connected world is the way we cite information changing?
He suggests the reference page has died and that in line links are the new citations. I think his premise is right. As a reader it is very helpful to link through to the original sources of information ad it leads to much deeper reading. Let’s be honest even in graduate school I did not spend much time looking up the scholarly citations that were in footnotes or works cited primarily because the works were not readily available to me. The times I did use them were when I was writing my own paper and was looking for other sources. How much easier to do your own research, to grow your knowledge and construct meaning if all of those citations were links!. Isn’t one of of our goals to teach critical thinking and evaluation of the construction of knowledge? Bring on the links so we can acess and discuss the sources!
As for Jeff’s points about MLA and APA I can’t agree more. I too spent a great deal of time trying to get my citations right in school; time that could have been better spent on content. If you must follow the old format then use a citation maker. There are lots of them out there including one on the kid friendly Answer.com.
One commenter on Jeff's article stated that
“Even when links are embedded in a document, the reference page still provides a useful benefit. Maybe not so important at 7th grade, but at some point for sure.”
I am not sure what he had in mind and he does not suggest exactly what the benefit might be. If we are looking at the bigger picture which includes footnotes that are more than a reference and provide commentary which is outside the scope of the papers main body I would suggest that they also should be hyperlinks. Scholarly or just plain explanatory footnotes or endnotes are important in higher education but in our digital world if the work is posted electronically then the notes should be easily accessed through hyperlinks. It makes the presentation much more user friendly.
Ultimately I think we are talking about define good form in an electronic era. Just like we have to reconsider how we teach and how we asses we have to reconsider the norms for digitally written work.
My one concern as a K to 8 educator is that our students may be going off to higher education environments (High School and Colleges) which have not adopted “digital pencils” (to borrow a phrase from the Grandview Librarian) or who are using them as if they were traditional pencils. This is not meant to point fingers or imply that high school and colleges are not moving forward..it simply reflects the reality that if I change how we do things I also have to consider the next step in their educational process and make sure they are prepared. Change takes time.