Optimal Citation in the Google Age
By Bryan Caplan
One of the best examples of path-dependence is the format of academic citations. Who cares what city a book was published in? Who ever did? But in the google age, tradition is even sillier. Volume numbers? Page numbers? These days, if someone wants to get a citation, he’ll probably just google the article name.
Challenge: If you had the power to set the standard for citations in the google age, what would it be?
My nomination: last name of author(s), title, year. Thus, my book would be: Caplan, *Myth of the Rational Voter*, 2007. For journals, you’d show author(s), article title, journal name, and year.
My rationale: Journal name and year actually provide useful information for readers who don’t want to google. Year gives historical context, journal name gives a quality signal. The rest is noise, no?