Elaborating Via Footnoting

This is a guest post by author Peter Felton

Peter Felton was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. A proud native of the City By The Bay, Felton's lifelong interest in San Francisco Bay Area public transportation was documented in his five-star first book, DAILY PUBLIC TRANSIT RIDERSHIP: THE INSIDE SCOOP (2012)--outlining contemporary (1970s-early 2010s) upgrades, milestones, routes, and the overall aura of the San Francisco Muni public transit system. Felton's five-star second book, TOMMY WROUGHT: A MUSICAL REFLECTION OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS (2015), provides readers of all descriptions with extensive comparative analyses between the outlooks of special-case children of today and yesterday--signified by the in-depth music of The Who's Rock Opera, Tommy. Bearing a deep interest in music of all genres, Felton's musicological explorations began at age ten upon discovering the glory, wonder, and depth of the music of the 1960s thanks to public television, the radio, local record stores, and most of all, his upbringing. Eternally furthering Felton's creative horizons as an adolescent, young adult, and working professional, music continually provides Felton with increased inspiration for using the resource as a regular teaching tool in his academic career working with a wide variety of students and disciplines. Upon earning his BA in Liberal Studies-Teacher Education in 2008, Felton put the pedal to the metal in his teaching career immediately the following Fall. Since then, Felton's professional claim-to-fames as a determined, enlightened educator have included accomplished instruction in the following fields: United States & World History and Geography (Grades K-10), Physical Education (Grades K-8), Civics & Economics (12th Grade), Music & Movement (Grades K-8), Choreography & Interpretive Dance (experimentally pioneered in college, routinely integrated into different subjects in Grade K-8 general education since), and Tutoring (Grades K-12, general ed. subjects). His third and most recent five-star book, SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT: WELL-ROUNDED EDUCATION IN THE LANDS OF OPPORTUNITIES, was published on September 10, 2018. When not teaching or writing books, Felton enjoys photography, taking walks, going to his local public library and exploring its wondrous growing catalog, riding public transportation, surfing the web, and spending quality time with friends and family.

When it comes to citing the origins of quoted pieces of information (whether in complete sentences or as miniscule excerpts of correlative conceptual language), in order to avoid receiving a legal citation for plagiarism, the presence of bibliographic citations within footnotes says everything in terms of identifying the literary origins of a written masterpiece, in addition to showcasing a writer’s editing etiquette and prestige.

Footnotes primarily serve three purposes.  (A) They can cite sources quoted directly (evidenced by the placement of quotation marks at the beginning and end of every excerpt drawn from an online or textual resource selection within the main body of writing).[1]  (B) Footnotes can elaborate upon an idea introduced in brief within the main body of writing by providing further examples of the written argument without interfering with the smooth flow of language present within the author’s train of thought exhibited during and after its written presentation.  (C) When it comes to anecdotes, footnotes can serve as a means of literary narration in one’s memoir or work of fiction by recalling a tale from the given characters’ pasts, while also correlating to the events of the present—with the context constituting the latter time block appearing in the main body of writing, and the former time block’s material signifying the footnoted content at hand.

Fortunately for everybody, the practice of free writing, implementing source citations, and enacting subsequent publication is available at our disposal on informative online networks like Wikipedia, and self-publishing networks like Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) on Amazon.  While many initially consider the information on the former of the two aforementioned networks to be invalid for research on a wide variety of subject categories, thanks to the presence of source citations (the network’s equivalent of footnotes—evidenced by their numeric listings, visually resembling exponents appearing within pairs of brackets tagged beside the appropriate bits of information articulated), corresponding content bears legitimacy in the public eye.[2]

And due to the advancement of technology, upon viewing an article created on Wikipedia (forever offering random readers bearing or creating newly-active accounts with the network the opportunity to edit its content by easily clicking on the visible titular link displayed within brackets located next to the bold titles of each section of any given article, allowing such an action to be performed at will), online users can effortlessly click on the links to the numbered citations that instantaneously jump downward to the bottom of the open page, showcasing the References cited in numeric order (albeit not alphabetical order—this format of which constitutes the layout of listings within all Bibliographies and Works Cited pages included [by academic and legal requirement] at the ends of published works of nonfiction and school-related term papers, research projects, etc.).  Erstwhile, when perusing a nonfiction work on an E-reader, all one has to do is tap the numbered footnotes present within the bulk of the writing and be immediately taken to their contextual elaborations (marked by individual caret symbols [^] indicating the beginning of the textual description itself) one second later.[3]

But regardless of the mechanisms involved in navigating through the phenomenon of the written word: to avoid putting your foot in your mouth by swiping somebody else’s writing and skimping on issuing the proper literary credit thereof, you must put your foot down and make note of the necessary inclusion of a footnote for every piece of valuable information within your influential writing at all times, while providing salutations to the underlying citations.

[1] The alternative to citing such a source within a separate footnote involves parenthetical citations—in which the last name of the author of the excerpted literary resource and the page number[s] on which the quoted language rests, sit beside one another, divided by the common comma, within a pair of parentheses located at the ends of sentences containing quoted material.

Case-in-point: “By allowing your mind to expand to depths and horizons never before explored, you yourself can increase your ingenuity to indeterminable heights, growing internally every step of the way” (Felton, 11).

[2] In certain cases, as determined by Wikipedia itself, information presented may require a citation according to the network’s guidelines (alerting readers with the italicized tagging: citation needed, waiting within brackets that would otherwise contain a citation of a primary resource along the lines of a book’s author, title, and page number[s]; a[n online] newspaper article; or the official website of the information’s foundation).

[3] This feature also holds true for accessing Endnotes.  Endnotes are a gathering of all footnotes in one setting on a series of successive pages (the first of which displays the heading Endnotes in bold lettering) at the very end of a written work, set up similarly to an entirely separate chapter of interrelated information pertinent to content from earlier on in the main body of writing.  This citation format is in contrast to the literary listing of individual footnotes existing at the bottoms of pages directly beneath their partnered text.

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