Pedantryfilter; subtopic, latin abbreviations
December 7, 2004 6:50 PM   Subscribe

Pedantryfilter; subtopic, latin abbreviations: I've always been confused about the difference between op. cit. and its usage vs. loc. cit. and its usage. Is there an easy rule to remember a) the distinction of meanings between the two, and b) when one ought to use the one instead of the other?
posted by .kobayashi. to Writing & Language (11 answers total)
Best answer: op. cit. (opere citato) means "as cited before." It should be used if the source you are referencing has been referenced somewhere in your text before.

ibid. (ibidem) means "same as cited." It should be used if the source you are referencing is the same as the source you referenced immediately before this.

loc. cit. (loco citato) means "in the place cited." It should be used instead of ibid. if you want to refer to the same reference as the one immediately before, and the same page in the source.
posted by copperbleu at 7:03 PM on December 7, 2004

Response by poster: That's really very clear. Thanks, copperbleu.
posted by .kobayashi. at 8:03 PM on December 7, 2004

Best answer: I know the question's been answered, but I was curious what these looked like in situ (heh), so I found a page with example footnotes.
posted by smackfu at 8:19 PM on December 7, 2004

And as for the rest of em...
posted by fatllama at 8:31 PM on December 7, 2004

No no no. Neither should be used, ever again, and in academic historical writing at least they are mostly abandoned. Both, along with ibid, can cause real mischief when you start cutting and pasting blocks of text, and suddenly your shorthand footnotes refer to the wrong citation. Better to use the short version of a citation after the first--author, short version of the title, page number.
posted by LarryC at 11:01 PM on December 7, 2004

I don't know about academic historical writing, but I wouldn't cater to stupidity at the expense of convention. Sure, these can get tricky if you edit carelessly. Don't be careless. Problem solved.
posted by cribcage at 11:29 PM on December 7, 2004

These are definitely not used in the sciences. In some fields and journals (e.g. things under the control of the American Chemical Society), authors are even instructed not to use et al. but to instead use "and co-workers." I like this because the prose in journals is already stilted and difficult to understand enough and I think every bit of pretention removed helps.
posted by grouse at 2:49 AM on December 8, 2004

Nice question & great links smackfu & fatllama!
posted by Pressed Rat at 6:27 AM on December 8, 2004

I wouldn't cater to stupidity at the expense of convention

not for kobayashi but generally:

You should just make sure that it's actually the convention in your field. In most academic settings apart from law, it's not; something like APA, MLA, or Chicago is, and AFAIK all of them strongly deprecate the Latin abbreviations.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:42 AM on December 8, 2004

(Minor adjustment: opere citato = literally, in the work cited)
posted by gimonca at 7:26 AM on December 8, 2004

Response by poster: I'm more interested in being able to get it right, should the demand be made of me, as well as being able to understand fully the difference in the articles I've read that make use of the terms.

For that purpose, smackfu's link, in particular was really quite useful. I'd googled fatllama's link, actually (and thanks for sharing it here, fatllama, as it is a helpful resource in general), though the distinction made between the two there wasn't sufficiently clear to me. Thanks to all, even to those who just weighed in with their distate for the usage.
posted by .kobayashi. at 1:51 PM on December 8, 2004

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