Thursday, January 18, 2007

Proper citations, please

On Jim Fetzer's show yesterday, Steven Jones discussed a journal article on the size of dust particles from the World Trade Center, and said it was published in a letter at Journal of 9/11 Studies.

I found this letter here:

The source for the particle size data is on page 8.

This leads to a search page, so I typed in the author Lioy, which was not clear from Jones' citation but I was able to ascertain from a reference elsewhere to Lioy, at al.

Ten articles come up, two of which are the most likely candidates:

Persistent Organic Pollutants in the Dusts That Settled across Lower Manhattan after September 11, 2001
Offenberg, J. H.; Eisenreich, S. J.; Chen, L. C.; Cohen, M. D.; Chee, G.; Prophete, C.; Weisel, C.; Lioy, P. J. Environ. Sci. Technol.; (Article); 2003; 37(3); 502-508.

The World Trade Center Aftermath and Its Effects on Health: Understanding and Learning Through Human-Exposure Science,
Paul J. Lioy, Edo Pellizzari, Prezant David, Environ. Sci. Technol. A-Pages; 2006; 40
(22); 6876-6885.

The latter seems more likely as Lioy is the primary author.

On page 6, Jones cites to another paper by Lioy on radioactive isotopes, again, just offering a website:

Much better. The full article is available online for free, so I do not to purchase it to see if it is the correct one. Even so, a citation is necessary as websites change.

Paul Lioy, et al, Characterization of the Dust/Smoke Aerosol that Settled East of the World Trade Center (WTC) in Lower Manhattan after the Collapse of the WTC 11 September 2001, Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 110, Number 7, July 2002

This article was published prior to the above two articles, one of which is the one that Jones seems to have cited to. This article contains data on particle size that seems to be the original source of the data published on page 8 of Jones' letter.

An Internet journal like any other journal should provide proper citations, even when publishing a "letter." The reader needs it, and I am sure the author of the study would also want proper citations. I heard Jones refer to this document as a "peer-reviewed" paper. One would expect a peer-reviewer to point this out.

Endnotes would be fine. Other papers are given full citations, while Jones' own paper is not cited but merely described by content with a link to Journal of 9/11 Studies home page. This requires a title, date, and full link.

Papers should also refer to any changes or updates made, and not merely state at the top of the first page that the paper was updated on a certain date. Each change should be indicated. What if someone cites to a portion of a paper that later disappears or is changed, yet remains at the same weblink? The former information should not simply be disappeared; it should remain along with a correction or update. Ideally, a paper once published should remain intact and updates published at separate links.

UPDATE: Someone just released a paper on Mineta's testimony that I think is a good model for Journal of 9/11 Studies:

Here's a comment that I made at 911 Blogger where the author was asking for comments:

This is a very impressive and useful paper in terms of content, and I'm also happy to see the citations done so well. It would be nice if Journal of 9/11 Studies could publish both a PDF and HTML with internal and external hyperlinks.

The 9/11 Commission Report website doesn't link to its own footnotes, which is weak and probably intentional as their footnotes often show how sketchy their sources are. Would it be possible for you to make a section of the Commission's footnotes and do internal hyperlinks to those footnotes, using their footnote numbers?

(I actually disagree with the author that this Mineta testimony will prove 9/11 was an inside job in a court of law, because I think his testimony could be shredded by a good lawyer, and that alternative explanations would be easy to develop. I gave one in my comment.

I also think this Mineta testimony is what students of covert operations call a "limited hangout."

Still, this article is useful to those who support this Mineta argument and those who do not, as it puts the Mineta argument in one paper. )

1 comment:

Spooked said...

I agree with your general point on referencing-- it is essential.

Also I think the Mineta thing is a limited hangout as well and wouldn't hold up in a court.