Recording newspaper pages and columns

Could you provide some guidance on the following situations one finds when recording of pages and columns of a newspaper? The first question, below, is by far the most important.

1) Some newspapers seem to split or merge their regular number of page-columns in the course of a page.
causes me confusion when trying to cite an article, because column number depends upon where it occurs on the page. Is there a standard way to handle this?

2) When recording page and column numbers; does one record them based on column in which the related   title/heading occurs or based upon where the relevant item of text occurs. (As an example; it's not uncommon to have a title like, "Student Exam Results", occur in one column, but the actual person is mentioned in another column and possibly even on another page. Perhaps one identifies the start of the item and adds something to the citation to focus on the person-of-interest?

3) When an item of text spans columns, should we just record the page and column on which the item starts or should be record them for both the start and end of the item?


Submitted byEEon Sun, 09/03/2023 - 16:51

H-H: The basic rule {surprise} is: We cite what we use and cite what we see.

  • If an article starts on one column and ends on the next, then we cite page x, cols. 2–3 [or whatever].
  • If a wide item is placed across two or more columns, then we cite the column numbers over which it sprawls: say, p. x, cols. 2–4.

Without seeing actual examples for your three questions, I can't assign these two generalities to any of the three specific examples.


Thank you for replying so quickly.

I tried to find an example that would reasonably clearly show the issue of columns being merged or split over the vertical extent of a page. That is the situation I really find confusing to cite. I had a bit of a time trying to reduce to the one I've attached so that it met the upload limit and yet still was clear enough to illustrate the situation.

One can see the issue in the attached picture and writeup for "20th Century Liberal Ladies" at the top-centre of the attached page. The pages in this newspaper typically have 8 columns per page. The picture and writeup occupy the width of two of those columns. The question is the noted item cited as a single column (4) or two columns (4–5)?

I've seen several instances in which the splitting and merging of columns occurs randomly across the whole page. I almost wonder if it's best to just count the number of "standard" column-widths when citing such items. From my perspective it would cause less confusion for a person to count over x "standard" columns and then scan down a page to find the intended item.

Your bullet 1 answer is already clear to me, so no further explanation is necessary.