Issue For December 13, 2007
This will be the last Purdue OWL News for the Fall 2008 semester. We will see everyone again for the Spring semester in late January!
Writing Question of the Week
This is usually a question submitted by an OWL user to the OWL Tutors. If you have a question you need answered quickly, ask one of our OWL Tutors or call the Writing Lab's Grammar Hotline at 765-494-3723. And remember, both services are free for everyone!
I noted that in MLA format, the page number is supposed to follow an in paper reference. I am discussing several novels that are built around actual historical events. I need to site the novels, but I don't have an actual page number to reference. Can I follow MLA formatting but leave the page number off, or do I put something like 3-332 to include the whole book?
Thank you for your inquiry. I think that answering this question depends on what you are trying to do in your paper. If, for instance, you are just talking about a general idea expressed throughout a whole work, there is no need to cite a page number, you can just mention the title of the book and the author in the sentence. For example:
Utilitarianism and overeducation are prevalent themes in Charles Dickens' novel, Hard Times.
However, if you want to use a direct quote or paraphrase a specific idea from the book, you must cite the page number in MLA style. Example:
"Facts. What we want is facts" (Dickens 10).
Gradgrind's speech indicates that he is obsessed with facts. (Dickens 10)
I don't think it is permissable to cite the entire work rather than a particular page number.
I hope that helps.
The OWL Help Nest
Each week we publish Purdue OWL News readers' requests for advice or information and the responses from other Purdue OWL News readers.
This situation came up in a discussion of proper capitalization.
"Hand me a kleenex, please."
"I think Kleenex is the best brand of tissue on the market."
In other words, the word "kleenex" is not capitalized when it is just substituted for the word "tissue", but capitalized when referring to a brand of tissue. Is this correct?
Thanks so much.
--Deborah Avelis, Ivy Tech Community College
Kleenex is a copyrighted trademark of the Kimberley Clark paper company, and the company vigorously defends its copyright because if the word fell into global usage without the capitalization the trademark would be lost. It should always be capitalized. If you are describing a generic facial tissue, use the words "facial tissue."
In speech, of course, we don't know if the person who asks for a kleenex is capitalizing the term and asking for a specific brand of tissue.
Many companies and organizations publish logo and trademark style guides to define how their names and brands should be treated in print.
An informative and entertaining article discussing issues such as Kleenex with a capital K is available on the Web site of the Poynter Institute http://www.poynter.org/content/content_view.asp?id=64412
--A. R. Andrews, Annapolis, MD
The announcement about the Owl Newsletter going to a bi-weekly publication begs the question: Do you mean twice a week or every two weeks? I'm assuming every two weeks because of the reference to "allow additional time to moving old OWL resource ...."
Personally, I avoid using the term "bi-" -- weekly, monthly, annually -- in my documents because of the confusion it causes regarding the specific period. What is the proper definition? And based on the potential confusion, what is the proper use of "bi-"?
--Dawn Bugni, Atkinson, NC
Think of the "bi-" or the "semi-" as describing the interval between events, NOT the number of events within a given time period, and you have your answer: bi-weekly means at intervals of two weeks; semi-annually means at intervals of a half year.
The more interesting point that your question raises, however, regards the usage of the expression "beg the question," which has come to be used with increasing frequency to mean "invite the question" or "raise the question"--as you have done. The original meaning, and still the correct one according to most authorities, has nothing to do with this. Rather, it means "'to base a conclusion on an assumption that is as much in need of proof or demonstration as the conclusion itself.' The formal name for this logical fallacy is 'petitio principii'" (from Garner's Modern American Usage)--In other words, "circular reasoning." Garner gives the following example: "'Reasonable people are those who think and reason intelligently.' (This statement begs the question, What does it mean to think and reason intelligently?)"
--Richard Zimmerman, The University of Guam
Next Week's Questions
What's Your Question?
If you have a question you'd like to ask our readers, please send it via our simple Web form.
This Week's Feature Story:OWL 2007-2008: The Year in Review and the Year to Come
The past year brought many changes with the Purdue OWL. Building on the successful OWL redesign initiated by Dr. Karl Stolley (now at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago), the OWL staff worked with content developers and OWL users (through feedback) to update and re-post a number of resources from the old OWL into the new design. We also worked with content developers and OWL users to create new resources. Some of our 2007 work includes a new front page that features a more user-centered design. The new front page also features:
- links to pages that contain suggested resources for our users
- a search function
- links to our most popular resources such as MLA and APA formats
- a rotating featured OWL resource
Revised resources on the OWL include
- updated MLA and APA resources
- updated employment document & professional writing resources
- updated writing and rhetoric resources
- updated professional document resources
- updated email etiquette PowerPoint presentations
- updated teaching and tutoring resources
New resources on the OWL include
- Understanding Writing Assignments resource
- Color Theory PowerPoint presentation
- Designing Effective Presentations PowerPoint
- writing for international audiences resources
- Writing in Psychology Resources
We also collaborated with Daniel Poynter to work on the Digital Literacy Contest http://owl.english.purdue.edu/purdueowlnews/20070903/. Lastly, we scoured the 2007 Krannert School of Management Undergraduate Career Fair to bring you information "from the front lines" about tailoring employment documents to meet companies' needs and expectations http://owl.english.purdue.edu/purdueowlnews/20070927/.
Much of what we accomplished in 2007 was invisible to OWL users, however. We have been working to code and design a new content management system that will enable us to offer exciting new resources in 2008.
The new content management system will provide the flexibility to move to a three-tiered navigation design. Users will no longer have to struggle through the long (and ever growing) list of links from the OWL pages. The OWL will feature a mid-level area so that users can click on Grammar/Mechanics, then surf to areas such as Spelling, Punctuation, and Usage, rather than facing a long list of Grammar/Mechanics resources presented alphabetically.The new content management system will also provide the flexibility to allow for multimedia resources such as Podcasts and Flash movies, which will be posted early 2008. We are also working on a keyword search system integrated with the new CMS that will replace our current Google search system.
We are also in the process of going through revision of the interior OWL pages so they are more navigable and usable. Two and a half years of usability research http://owl.english.purdue.edu/research/, the user-centered design approach, and OWL user feedback will inform the interior page redesign. We will be adding a navigation bar at the top of each OWL page that will feature a search function and tabs to other areas of the OWL (Purdue Writing Lab in Heavilon Hall in West Lafayette, IN; a Community Engagement area; a Research area; and an online tutoring service for Purdue University students). And we plan to add other fun features such as OWL widgets and a section dedicated to OWL art!
As a final note, we would like to thank our undergraduate OWL staff for their hard work this year:
- Brandon Patton, senior Professional Writing Major and OWL Assistant Webmaster: Brandon has worked diligently on the new CMS coding this fall and has really pushed us to think beyond the realm of the possible.
- Nick Hurm, sophomore CGT major: Nick has been helping is transfer OWL resources for the last year with his HTML knowledge.
- Bonnie Stockwell, senior Professional Writing Major: Bonnie recently joined our team and is working as an HTML coder bringing resources to the new site.
- Jordan Golembeski, junior CGT major: Jordan has been working with us for the last year on new graphics for the OWL.
So please stop by often to gather the resources you need, to see what we're up to, and to let us know how we're doing.
Allen and Dana
What's Happening on the OWL at Purdue
- OWL Eye On...Big changes coming soon! The Purdue OWL expects to release its user-centered and revised OWL website early in our Spring semester. The OWL Webmaster, Dana Driscoll, and OWL Assistant Webmaster, Brandon Patton, have been working hard to revise the OWL pages and our content management system throughout the fall semester.
What's Happening in the Writing Lab
- OWL Eye On...Writing Lab Closed. The Purdue Writing Lab is closed for tutoring (but open for computer use and studying) during finals week The Writing Lab will be closed for the duration of the winter break and resume services on January 7th, 2007. Thank you for a great semester!
This week's OWL News was edited by H. Allen Brizee, OWL Coordinator and Dana Lynn Driscoll, OWL Webmaster.