Citation, Documentation of Sources

Q. I am editing a text in which it is necessary to cite the source of several illustrations from an unpaginated book published in Asia. The author and I agreed that it would be useful to count the leaves and then cite the page number as a folio, for instance, “ff42v–43r.” We disagree on where to begin counting: the title page (English) or the first page with print. This first page might be interpreted as a half title page: it has just the Chinese name of the artist, who is the subject of the book. The verso might be considered a frontispiece: it has a photograph of the artist and a quotation. So which would be folio 1?

A. To leave no doubt as to how to find the page you cite, use the simplest and most obvious numbering: the first recto page is 1; its verso is 2. (Page numbers like “ff42v” are unnecessarily complicated and may give the impression that the pages are actually numbered that way.) In your citation use brackets [42–43] to indicate that the numbers are not expressed in the book itself.