As I was revising the conclusion to the chapter of my dissertation that I sent out earlier today to my committee chair, I wondered if I needed cite some of the observations I made in those final pages. Once I had completed the body of the chapter, I set my books aside (save for two quotations I wished to use at the end), cleared my desk and just wrote, using primarily notes I had scribbled (i.e., independent observations I had made) during the course of my research.
Yet, as I wrote I found that I was occasionally expressing certain ideas and interpretations that very likely would not have come to me had I not read some of the secondary material I had consulted. That said, the idea was there in my head. I wondered if maybe I needed go back and find the book (or article) which allowed me to offer the observation that I had. To be sure, in that particular case, the notion of the Phaeacians as the “most civilized” people in the Odyssey, I recalled that several scholars had made that or a similar observation.
Which brings me to blogging.
Whenever another blogger links an article or blog post, I strive to tip my hat to him (either with “h/t” or “via”). Sometimes I may forego those expressions, but link the blogger so as to indicate my gratitude to him for tracking down the post.
But, there are times when I am blogging, similar to my experience writing the conclusion to this latest chapter, where I find myself reporting a fact or offering an opinion that I know I had encountered somewhere else, but can no longer remember where. Sometimes, I can find it by searching the history on my browser, other times, a google search will yield the source. In many cases though (usually with facts), I am able to find a source to confirm the fact, while uncertain that it was my original source.
In short, sometimes you can’t always cite your original source.
And one more thing. Every now and again (particularly now when I have less time to read blogs than I normally do), I find one blogger links a post on another blog I often check, but had not yet checked (and may be intending to check that very day). And I wonder if I need hat tip someone who alerts me to a post I would have almost certainly found on my own.