Citation, Documentation of Sources

Q. JSTOR provides readers with what I would assume to be the correct way to cite articles. However, in the case of an article that includes double quotation marks in the title, these are retained in JSTOR’s “Chicago” citation:

KORNBLUTH, GENEVRA. "Carolingian Engraved Gems: "Golden Rome Is Reborn"?" Studies in the History of Art 54 (1997): 44-61.

But isn’t this wrong?

A. JSTOR, like most bibliographic databases, generates its citations automatically, so it’s susceptible to certain types of errors. You’ve spotted a common one. You’d also want to change the author’s name to upper- and lowercase. And a copyeditor would apply smart quotation marks, plus an en dash in the page range. The corrected citation would look like this:

Kornbluth, Genevra. “Carolingian Engraved Gems: ‘Golden Rome Is Reborn’?” Studies in the History of Art 54 (1997): 44–61.

But wait. If you dig into this example further, you’ll see that even though it’s from JSTOR (originally an abbreviation for “Journal Storage”), this article isn’t an article at all. In fact, it’s a chapter in a book. What looks like a journal title in JSTOR’s citation is actually the title of a book series. So the original citation needs more than just a few cosmetic changes. Here’s what it would look like, properly revised (see CMOS 14.107 and 14.123):

Kornbluth, Genevra. “Carolingian Engraved Gems: ‘Golden Rome Is Reborn’?” In Engraved Gems: Survivals and Revivals, edited by Clifford Malcolm Brown, 44–61. Studies in the History of Art 54. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1997.

The book also happens to be the thirty-second volume in a subseries of published symposia, but if that’s relevant the details could be mentioned in the text. And there’s more: the book was distributed by the University Press of New England, an optional detail that can be added to the citation (see CMOS 14.141).

All of this can be determined by careful attention to the source as a whole—in this case, starting with the title page of the book. To its credit, JSTOR makes all of this context available, for those who are willing to look for it.

The moral of this story: Canned citations are a great convenience, but they should always be double-checked against the sources themselves. You never know what you might find.