10

In this question, my answer references dead tree books. In at least one important case, the book is listed on Google Books with no preview. In all cases, the author and title will be enough to locate the book easily on any site you want to check.

Does a reference have to be an online source? If not, how should I cite books with no online version?

11

There is not much difference between books and general websites. They are both acceptable-with-caveats. Remember that anyone can write anything on a book or a website - neither confer any mystical authority.

Here are some suggestions on how you can make your references great:

  • they are of varying reliability, so specify why you think a book or a site are reliable (or the degree of confidence you have).
  • provide a link, or a permalink if you can. For books I would suggest google books or amazon (in that order).
  • provide a specific pointer to the page or section you are using as a reference. A reference to a "general impression" of a book or a website is not a good reference, in my opinion.
  • always put a citation of the passage you are pointing to. A website may change or go down, and people might not have access to the book.

In particular, I have no problem with you using books in that particular question, but you are not giving anyone a reasonable means of checking the validity of your sources. Hence the references you are giving are not really good enough for me. I am sure that other people will disagree - it's all fine and that's why we have a voting system. However your answer would go a long way towards being convincing if you adopted the suggestions above.


Example

Simple:

Virgil denies the old gods in the "Divine Comedy" (Dante Alighieri, XIII century)

With reliability:

Dante has Virgil deny the old gods in the "Divine Comedy" (Dante Alighieri, XIII century), although he's probably not making the statement that it historically happened.

With reliability and link:

Dante has Virgil deny the old gods in the "Divine Comedy" (Dante Alighieri, XIII century), although he's probably not making the statement that it historically happened.

With reliability, link and pointer:

Dante has Virgil deny the old gods in the "Divine Comedy" (Dante Alighieri, XIII century), although he's probably not making the statement that it historically happened.

With reliability, link, pointer and citation:

Dante has Virgil deny the old gods in the "Divine Comedy" (Dante Alighieri, XIII century), although he's probably not making the statement that it historically happened:

He answered me: "Not man a man I once was and my parents were Lombards and both of Mantua by country I was born under Julius though late 15 and lived at Rome beneath the good Augustus in the time of the false and lying gods"

  • Shouldn't that be "XIV century" (five times)? :) – user16186 Jan 4 '14 at 8:16

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