Following footnotes is one of the most important aspects of scholarly research. Historians and other academics use footnotes to provide background information and evidence for their claims. You can learn more about the subject or check the accuracy of their claims by finding and reading the original source they cited.
How to Identify What Type of Source is Cited
The first step in following footnotes is identifying what type of source it is: a whole book, an article in a newspaper, magazine or journal, or an essay in a book. There are distinctive features of each type of source that help you to determine what type of source it is:
Example 1: Tom Nairn. Faces of Nationalism: Janus Revisited. New York: Verso, 1997, 17.
This item is a book. The distinctive feature of a book citation is the publishing place and name of the publisher (New York: Verso)
Example 2: Ilya Bodonski, "Caring among the Forgotten," Journal of Social Activism 14, no.3 (1989): 117.
This item is a journal article. The distinctive features of a journal article citation are a title enclosed in quotation marks ("Caring among the Forgotten") and the volume and issue numbers (14, no. 3).
Example 3: Craig H. Roell, "The Piano in the American Home," in The Arts and the American Home, 1980-1930, ed. Jessica H. Foy and Karal Ann Marling (Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1994), 194.
This item is an essay in a book. This citation has the features of a book and an article, but what helps you know it is an essay in a book is the words "in" and "ed." for editor.
Finding the Cited Source
Enter an article citation to find out if we have the full text available online or in print.
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