The netiquette of pointing to websites

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: The netiquette of pointing to websites
From: Laurie Knight <>
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2010 14:12:44 +1000
A recent post to Birding-Aus ( , last viewed 19 June 2010) has raised the issue of a website referring to a report of an uncommon sighting of a wader in SEQ. The internet is an evolving social domain, and its mores are still developing.

In academic circles, when referring to a [non-password protected] online item, it is normal to cite the URL and the date the item was last viewed. When referring to the contents of the item, it is important to use quote marks when presenting verbatim material, or to ensure that an accurate representation is made if summarising it.

I would suggest that a reasonable way for a website to refer to a posting on Birding Aus might be to include the URL from the Birding Aus archives ( and the date viewed (in case things get moved around). In the case of a rare sighting, I would say that it is fair to say "There is a report of a (possible if identity is uncertain) <species> seen at <location> on <date> at <URL> (last viewed <date2>". If the original report contains a weblink pointing to photos etc, then it would be fair to say "Further details are available at <URL> (last viewed <date3>."

So to use a recent example of my own, "On June 4, 2010 ( , last viewed 19 June, 2010), Laurie Knight reported the absence of Spotted Whistling Ducks at the Weipa sewage ponds and attributed this to changed environmental conditions."

Regards, Laurie.


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