Vexen Crabtree's Websites
Referencing Methods & Sources

#copyright #criticism #disclaimer #immaturity #quotes #spelling #the_economist #words

All text and material has an inherent copyright whereby it belongs to the person who created it. A copyright notice is not required in order for things to be protected. You are legally permitted in the UK to take quotations that are within a legal definition of "reasonable usage".

2. Quotations, Square Brackets and Subscripts

3. Bibliography and References Sections on my Web Pages

At the bottom of many webpages, I have a "reference", "sources" or "bibliography" section. They are all the same thing. In alphabetical order by author. Under each author is a list of books or articles used by that author. I state the year of original publication first, then go on to comment if I've used a later edition and give its year. I try to keep my biblio relatively verbose to aid understanding, and so that casual readers can work it out, rather than use specialist academic shorthand that many professionals are fond of. The following are some notes on abbreviations and methods of referencing sources:

Some academics and the like are horrified when referencing systems do not follow one of the great established systems, such as Harvard Referencing. But the truth is that traditional methods do not suit webpages. The capability to hyperlink subscripted numbers to the bottom of the page and have links back up to the original text mean that this method becomes superior, aiding readability and allowing useful levels of information to be added about sources in an inline manner. Also, the bibliography section itself does not use conventions such as ibid and does not follow the normal Harvard format. This is because that format is designed to save maximum space by placing everything in a known order. The problem is, ordinary readers find it hard to understand, and, on the web, there is no need to save pixels. References can be written out in plain English without having to worry about space!

4. Sources

#the_economist #UK

The majority of books and periodicals I quote from are ones that I own. When I acquire a new book, I will revisit old texts and add quotes to it from the new source. I tend to write notes on books I read (and stamp them with my library stamp, much to the chagrin of my wife), which horrifies some people. I do not just read books, I use them. Francis Bacon said that book reading can "serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability". My usage of books is definitely in the latter category - not for kicks, or to look good, but to get use out of them. Bacon also said: "simple men admire" books, but "wise men use them"1 - so don't be horrified to see me writing notes in my books!

UK popular newspapers are infamous for their daft stories, political bias, poor fact-checking and skewed reporting, combined with a concentration on celebrities and entertainment-value news. By comparing all newspapers to common criteria, including academic judgements of their quality and the number of complaints raised against them, it is possible to score each one of them. As a result of their low quality, only 7% of the population rate printed news as the best source of "accurate and reliable" information2. But it is also clear that this problem is self-imposed - the four most popular papers in the UK are all at the bottom of the list of quality. All four of the most trustworthy papers are under the top 10 in terms of popularity. The main cause of trashy news is economics: far fewer people buy newspapers that are accurate and non-sensationalist. The overall effect troubles British culture, creating a cycle of misinformation and there have been many calls for the UK government to regulate the industry using similar methods to those used in most of the rest of Europe. For now the only control is a self-regulation body (IPSO) which is staffed by the papers themselves and is widely considered dysfunctional.

For the full list of national newspapers, see:

The Economist is a leading weekly news magazine of an utmost professional quality. It features analysis of world news, current events, science, academic research, business news and commercial analysis, and produces comprehensive thematic special reports on chosen subjects. It is intellectual, factual, academic and scholarly, with carefully researched articles. Bill Emmott was an editor of The Economist and before retiring, he described the magazine in these terms:

One of the exceptional characteristics of this newspaper is the degree to which it still follows the principles and methods begun 163 years ago by its founder, James Wilson, and perfected by his son-in-law, Walter Bagehot. The Economist was launched to campaign for free trade and all forms of liberty, what proponents and detractors today call globalisation. [...] It did so with a formula that was three parts factual description and one part strongly held opinion or argumentative analysis. This is what we continue to attempt today.

Bill Emmott in The Economist (2006)3

By Vexen Crabtree 2006 Apr 16
(Last Modified: 2016 Aug 07)
Originally published 1999
Parent page: Vexen Crabtree's Websites: Forcing Humanity Onwards

References: (What's this?)

Book Cover

The Economist. Published by The Economist Group, Ltd. A weekly newspaper in magazine format, famed for its accuracy, wide scope and intelligent content. See for some commentary on this source..

Bacon, Francis
(1625) The Essays. 1985 edition. Published by Penguin Books, London, UK. Original works completed by 1625 by Francis Bacon (1561-1626).

Jones, Bill
(2004, Ed.) Politics UK. Paperback book. 5th edition. Originally published 1991. Current version published by Pearson Education Ltd. With Dennish Kavanagh, Michael Moran and Phillip Norton.


  1. Bacon (1625) p209.^
  2. data from 2015, accessed 2016 Aug 03.^
  3. The Economist (2006 Apr 01) Vol.379 No.8471. Final article from Bill Emmott, retiring editor of The Economist.^

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