How to cite a blog

A reader writes:

Dear Mo,

I want to quote your Brain in a Nutshell Essay. Can you please provide me some bibliographic data of this essay. I don’t want to cite just Mo and a short-lived URL.

I was flattered to get this email, but I wasn’t sure how to respond. I suggested something along these lines:

  • Costandi, M. (2007). The Brain in a Nutshell. Neurophilosophy Weblog. Retrieved on September 26, 2007, from http://scienceblogs.com/

    neurophilosophy/2007/08/the_brain_in_a_nutshell.php

As luck would have it, the second edition of Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, which has just been published by the National Institutes of Health, includes a section on how to cite blogs, and provides some examples.  

3 thoughts on “How to cite a blog

  1. Don’t you mean MLA?

    Unfortunately, NLM has released their own guidelines, as they’re embarrassingly bad. No one should follow them if they have any hope of their citation containing useful information. The most egregious error is calling for only the blog URL to be cited, not the permalink, but they make other serious errors as well.
    For example, there are different citation styles for “homepages”, “parts of a website”, blogs, and wikis, there’s no mention of DOIs, and there’s no way of handling the fact that some cited works on the web can change without changing their URL.
    I don’t think the person who developed the guidelines even knows what a blog is, as they categorize it under “Email and discussion forums” instead of in the Websites category.

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