Vanishing Act: The Erosion of Online Footnotes and Implications for Scholarship in the Digital Age
Authors: Michael Bugeja and Daniela Dimitrova
Published: Summer 2010
Printed on acid-free paper
A decade ago, most research was done in the library rather than through its Web site, and scholars, editors, graduate directors and librarians were meticulous about the integrity of footnotes. They knew that citation was the backbone of research, from agronomy to zoology in the sciences and from art history to Zen studies in the humanities. The footnote upheld standards because it allowed others to test hypotheses or replicate experiments. In sum, the footnote safeguarded scientific method and peer review upon which academe is based, from papers by first-year and transfer students to books by postdoc and professor.
Since 2003, authors Michael Bugeja and Daniela Dimitrova (Iowa State University of Science and Technology) have been at the forefront of research on the erosion of online footnotes and its implication for scholarship. Their research has been showcased in The Chronicle of Higher Education and a number of academic journals, including The Serials Librarian, Portals: Libraries and the Academy, New Media and Society and Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, among others. Their book documents the vanishing act in flagship communication journals and provides readers with methods to mitigate the effect.
Michael Bugeja is director of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University where he also serves on the board of the Institute of Science and Society. He is the author of 20 books, including the acclaimed Interpersonal Divide: The Search for Community in a Technological Age (Oxford Univ. Press, 2005) and Living Ethics across media platforms, and writes for several magazines, including The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed. His comments about ethics appear in Columbia Journalism Review, American Journalism Review, Quill, Editor & Publisher and other publications.
Dr. Dimitrova’s research focuses on Information and Communication Technologies, Internet Diffusion, and Political Communication (ICTs). Her dissertation examined Internet adoption in the post-communist countries and proposed a multidimensional framework to predict Internet diffusion globally. Another interest is online news coverage of conflict (wars and terrorist attacks).