Style error: MHRA

When citing edited volumes, and films, in footnotes, the MHRA guide calls for moving the title to the front, followed by the editor, or director. (In the bibliography, however, the editor continues to appear before the title, as does, I expect, the director [though no examples for films in bibliographies are given].)

Examples, from

Approaches to Teaching Voltaire’s ‘Candide’, ed. by R. Waldinger (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1987), pp. 3, 10, 27.

Dictionary of the Middle Ages, ed. by Joseph R. Strayer and others, 13 vols (New York: Scribner, 1982–89), vi (1985), 26.

Emily Dickinson: Selected Letters, ed. by Thomas H. Johnson, 2nd edn (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985), pp. 194–97.

Boswell: The English Experiment 1785–1789, ed. by Irma S. Lustig and Frederick A. Pottle, The Yale Edition of the Private Papers of James Boswell (London: Heinemann; New York: McGraw Hill, 1986), pp. 333–37.

The Works of Thomas Nashe, ed. by Ronald B. McKerrow, 2nd edn, rev. by F. P. Wilson, 5 vols (Oxford: Blackwell, 1958), iii, 94–98 (pp. 95–96).

Ballads of Love and Betrayal, Joglaresa, dir. by Belinda Sykes (Village Life, 01013VL, 2001).

The Grapes of Wrath, dir. by John Ford (20th Century Fox, 1940).
  • I think, basically, the rule is when there is no author, don't substitute with editor (or anything else), just omit. Seems like a trivial fix, so maybe adamsmith can just make it directly.
  • Two more MHRA (and MHRA author-date) issues:

    (1) "Volume" is not rendered. It should appear after the publication details, separated by ", ", in small capital roman numerals (see, p. 63).

    (According to the style guide, this may be "followed where necessary by the title and editor of the volume (if any) and by the year of publication in parentheses". To do this properly, we'd need new variables, not only volume-title, but also volume-editor, and volume-date.)

    (2) "container-title" is rendered in sentence case, should be in title case (see ibid., p. 64).
  • On the last one, I would only point out that container-title needs to be sentence case for journals, so you don't get '5th Ser.' The workaround (as used in Chicago) is quite simple.
  • I fixed the editor issue. (What a terrible rule, though. Why make notes and bibliography diverge like that?).

    Volume is rendered as you specify & works for me in Zotero:
    (called in both citation and bibliography.

    @dunning - sorry, I'm not following, we title case all container-titles in Chicago, no?
  • edited July 13, 2014
    I fixed the editor issue.
    Thank you, looks good.
    (What a terrible rule, though. Why make notes and bibliography diverge like that?).
    Couldn't agree more ...

    Volume: It is rendered if it's numerical. I was trying "VI" or "VI (1865)". Any chance you could add a fallback so volume is rendered as a literal string if it's non-numerical?

    @dunning - I believe "5th ser." should be in collection-title anyway. If so, it seems to work nicely.
  • A few more issues:

    (1) article-journal should render month and issue. Examples from the MHRA guide, p. 68:
    Lionel Trilling, ‘In Mansfield Park’, Encounter, 3.3 (September 1954), 9–19.

    José Luis Pardo, ‘Filosofía y clausura de la modernidad’, Revista de Occidente, 66 (November 1986), 35–47.

    E. Iukina, ‘Dostoinstvo cheloveka’, Novyi mir, 1984, no. 12, 245–48.
    (2) "vols" should not be followed by a full stop (p. 61).

    (3) years should be collapsed: not "1987–1988" but "1987–88" (p. 66). (If that's possible, I've only seen this in CSL for page numbers so far.)

    (4) film titles should appear in italics, no quotes (p. 75).

    BTW, the following patch, adding "director", works well with pandoc, and I don't expect it to break anything on the Zotero side, so if you wish, use it:

    --- modern-humanities-research-association.csl 2014-04-16 14:56:00.000000000 +0100
    +++ modern-humanities-research-association-modif.csl 2014-07-13 13:51:57.000000000 +0100
    @@ -39,6 +39,7 @@
    <names variable="editor"/>
    <names variable="translator"/>
    + <names variable="director"/>
    <text macro="title-note"/>
    @@ -136,7 +137,7 @@
    - <names variable="editor translator" delimiter=", ">
    + <names variable="editor translator director" delimiter=", ">
    <label form="verb-short" text-case="lowercase" suffix=" "/>
    <name and="text" delimiter=", "/>
  • Sorry, yes, I was thinking collection-title. Shouldn't be looking at these things late at night.

    I had noticed that about the rendering of journal articles awhile back: the issue is that the guide specifies this information shouldn't be included if journal page numbering is continuous between issues, which is 99 per cent of academic journals. Another very annoying rule, as I don't know how one would ever implement it. (Add a continuous-volume-pagination property to the entries for articles which is on by default?)

    Zotero still doesn't support date ranges, of course, but I suppose that it's possible to get them with Pandoc. Chicago requires the same thing.

    Thanks for working on these. I will be writing another article that requires MHRA in the near future, and will keep a lookout for more issues.
  • @dunning - Adding "a continuous-volume-pagination property to the entries for articles which is on by default" would sure be the cleanest solution.

    Short of that, I maintain that in the absence of continuous volume pagination, i.e., when information on issue and/or month become essential for identifying a source, rendering these variables should be possible with the style files from the repository without users having to jump through hoops (i.e., individually patching their style files). If you do not want issue or month to appear for a particular entry, you have to clean up your data of course, but I think that's a small price to pay.

    chicago-fullnote-bibliography.csl renders issue and month, too, so I don't quite see why the MHRA styles shouldn't.

    On date ranges: pandoc supports these. What I was wondering about is whether the abbreviation from "1987–1988" to "1987–88", as described for page ranges in, is possible for year ranges, too.
  • edited July 14, 2014
    The problem is that Chicago explicitly allows the inclusion of issue information (¶14.180):
    The issue number may be omitted if pagination is continuous throughout a volume or when a month or season precedes the year. Nonetheless, it is never wrong to include the issue number, and doing so can be a hedge against other errors.
    Whereas MHRA is a bit more definite about it (11.2.4/pp. 5 and 68):
    Issue numbers are required only where each issue starts at page 1.
    Normally it will not be necessary to cite the month or season of publication or the part number of an issue of a journal, unless the part numbers are individually paginated, in which case the information should be given.
    I wrote the chair of the subcommittee in charge of the MHRA Style Guide (Brian Richardson, who is a wonderful fellow) several months ago to ask if they could modify this policy. Who knows, however, whether they would be amenable to such a change, or when the fourth edition of the guide will come out. This, at least, explains the logic of what is in the files; whether it should be changed is another question.

    As to date formats, I do not see any option that would cause date ranges to be abbreviated. I wonder, however, if there would be any drawbacks to simply expanding the scope of the page number formats to cover all numbers. In addition to dates, there must be some situations in which it could apply to the volume and issue numbers, which are occasionally a range.
  • If you do not want issue or month to appear for a particular entry, you have to clean up your data of course, but I think that's a small price to pay.
    what I disagree with is that removing issue numbers is "cleaning up your data"--as I've mentioned before, it's throwing away data that may be required in other citation styles, so that's not an option, either.
  • @adunning, nickbart -- I'm considering adding issue numbers, given that that's what we're doing in APA, which is even more insistent on only including them for non-continously paginated items. Comments welcome.
  • Sorry for the slow response – I think this would be safe, if that's what you're doing for APA and users haven't given you grief over it. I wrote MHRA last year to ask if they would consider changing this policy.
  • oh, I get grief for this all the time for APA, but I don't know what else to do. I'd love to have a decent solution and we've developed some ideas with bwiernik (the general idea would be to introduce an APA variable "continuously-paginated" with default to true and can be toggled either with a checkbox or a list, but we've never gotten terribly far with this).
  • If it's any consolation, editors of MHRA tend to be somewhat more lenient in my experience. At least from a practical point of view, it's a lot easier to take out than to add in.
  • edited September 21, 2015
    yes, APA is unique in how upset people get by minor deviations of the style, even if there are good reasons for them. I have no idea why.
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