Yet Another Reason America Is in Trouble Today...
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My view: endnotes are totally useless. Footnotes are useful. But instead of endnotes you should make up a file of your footnotes and post it on the web keyed to pages. That way people can at least open a window on their computer as they read the book--it's close to footnotes, if they are at their computer. End notes... fah!

John Quiggin:

Endnotes, again — Crooked Timber: I really, really hate endnotes. But now that I am writing a book I have to decide whether I have to swallow my pride and use them, and if not, what alternative to adopt. To start with, I want to distinguish between explanatory notes, spelling out a point that is marginal to the main text and references giving authority for some claim made in the text, or examples or a person making a claim that I may endorse or criticise. In academic work, I’m used to the Harvard format where explanatory notes are placed as footnotes, and references cited in the body of the text as “Quiggin (2009)”, then listed in full at the end. This is much better than the all-footnotes system used, for example, in legal writing.

For a popular book on a technical subject like “Zombie economics”, there are a few options, which can be mashed up in various ways.

  • The standard endnotes setup with explanatory notes and references listed at the end of the book
  • Footnotes for explanation only: this leaves open the question of how to deal with references
  • A further reading section at the end of each chapter, in place of references
  • A book without references, but with an online hypertext version in which readers who want to chase references can find them.

Any thoughts?