Are MLA Norms Not for Everybody?

University of Notre Dame Press, you suck. If you believe that you should be exempt from quoting sources in a way that isn’t completely sloppy, then you doubly suck.

This is the first time I see an academic volume where quotes are only attributed to an author without any hint as to which particular work by this author is being referenced and what is the number of the page where the quote is located.

I now have to scour the universe for works by somebody with an extraordinarily unusual name of Richards. And given the sloppiness of the critic who quoted this Richards, it might not even be his last name.

The problem is that this mysterious Richards seems to have said something I find to be very important and I want to consider his ideas further. And the careless academic who doesn’t know how to quote is getting in my way.

17 thoughts on “Are MLA Norms Not for Everybody?

      1. Thats’ just what you’r old-fashioned 70’s outlook would lead you to believe.

        Sorry if that made your skin crawl. šŸ˜›


    1. This isn’t an error. This is a consistent lack of proper attribution that goes on and on for dozens of pages.

      But oh, those poor babies. They are not paid enough to actually do their jobs.


  1. Google the quote, there is a good chance you will find the work or another work that quotes it and references it adequately.


    1. I did, but no. I’m out of luck today.

      Of course, that careless scholar might have misquoted. Grrrr….

      One thing I don’t like Bout the Spanish people is this happy-go-lucky attitude.


      1. It is just bad form, if your doing research you need it to be verifiable (i.e., I should be able to follow each and every step). In my field I see much worse, people using data sets to make inferences, but then refusing to release the data for “commercial reasons”. Why these papers get published, I do not know.


  2. I spent last week reading 300 pages of a text from 1573 that has never been updated since that printing, so the font was terrible and the spelling is a mess. Why did I do this? Because a scholar didn’t cite it correctly. Also, once I found the quote she used, I found that she used the quote completely out of context and therefore manipulated the meaning of the quote. I was on fire with anger; however, it turns out that this book could be a career-changer for me. Anyway, this scholar’s book was written in the late 1980s, published by Stanford University Press. So it’s not just Notre Dame, and it’s not a new phenomenon. In defense of copy editors — even if they existed at these presses, it’s still the scholar’s responsibility to cite sources correctly.


  3. In a scholarly work, failure to cite sources is a very serious defect. In a book aimed at the general public, failure to cite sources is inconvenient and annoying to a percentage of the general readers, but not a major defect. An annotated bibliography may be at least as useful to the general reader as a list of citations.


  4. Concerning employees of university presses: The University of Missouri Press was considered by the state legislature to be not worth funding. The Press is on life support now, with a reduction from four full time employees to one part time employee. Naturally, quality control (copy editing) will go down if books are published at a rate that exceeds that half-time employee’s hours that can be dedicated to copy editing.


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