Book Edition

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Brian G
Brian G's picture
Book Edition


I want to refer to a book that's part of a 4-volume set, privately printed.  The volumes I got from the library have confusing printing dates and editions on their title pages:

  • Volume 1 : Printed 1972, no edition listed
  • Volume 2 : Printed 1981, reprint 1993, second edition
  • Volume 3 : Printed 1982, first edition
  • Volume 4 : Printed 1989, first edition

My first point of confusion was the "edition".  I'm not sure whether there might have been more than one "edition" in a single year or whether the publisher called each printing an "edition".  I felt I needed to capture both the "edition" and the print date in my citation because of this ambiguity.

My First Reference Note is close to EE 12.71 (for citing a single volume):

Paul Miller Ruff, translator, The German Church Records of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, vol. 4, 1813-1820, 1st ed. (Aliquippa, Pennsylvania: p.p. 1989), 96, "Hoffman Lutheran Church," entry 36, Christina [Frick], b. 20 Feb. 1816, bap. 24 Mar. 1816.

I considered putting the "1st ed." into the printing information as "(Aliquippa, Pennsylvania: p.p., 1st ed., 1989)" but wasn't sure about that.  Where does the edition belong?

My second point of confusion was the printing date range for the four volumes.  The four I had were printed from 1972 to 1993, but I don't know whether there might be printings later than 1993.  (I looked in WorldCat, but just got more confused!)  

My Source List Entry is close to EE 12.70 (three or more volumes):

Ruff, Paul Miller, translator. The German Church Records of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. 4 volumes. Aliquippa, Pennsylvania: p.p., 1972-1993.

Is it appropriate to just cite dates only for the books I used?




EE's picture

Brian, you have handled this issue well. Of course, an author should not call a reprint a new edition, unless it is a new edition, with numerous significant changes. However, individuals who self-publish without studying publicataion practices do frequently make this gaffe. It's also true in today's world, where digital typesetting allows for easy  updates (or typo corrections) at reprint time, that many reprints today do have small differences from the prior run. For this reason, it is wise to note a reprint date when the backside of the title page indicates that the book has been reprinted.


The Editor