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Citation manners

  1. Nov 18, 2008 #1
    Should one keep citations to not so well known publications/books (non-trivial citations), and not bother citing some famous books which everybody knows anyway? IMO it is reasonable to assume that the reader is already aware certain basic results, but on the other hand one might think that it is better to cite than to not cite?

    I have a very specific question: I'm writing my master's thesis, and I'm using the change of integration variable at one proof. The integration domain is an arbitrary measurable set, so it is not really usual multi-variable calculus one might expect everybody to know. Should I cite Rudin's Real & Complex Analysis at this point?

    It is probably not going to harm anyone if I did not cite, and on the other hand it feels like that the only reason I would make the citation is, that it looks cool when there is longer list of citations in the end... which would be dumb of course :confused:

    (No need to be responsible when posting answers. I'm going to ask the same thing from elsewhere too :smile:)
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 19, 2008 #2

    Andy Resnick

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    If you use a previously-obtained result, then cite it, simple as that.

    I tried to have some fun with citations on my dissertation- I cited Aristotle and Galileo, because they had some relevant observations- why not?
  4. Nov 19, 2008 #3


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    The purpose of a citation is to either give credit, or to give a reference for additional information.

    In the case of citing analysis results, it's fair to assume that the results aren't Rudin's himself. The citation would therefore be a matter of convenience to the reader, and therefore you should only include such a citation if the result is non-trivial enough that you believe some of your readers (possibly experts in your fields depending on the level at which you aim your paper) will not know the result off-hand.
  5. Nov 24, 2008 #4
    But I'll have to draw the line somewhere, to avoid citing my old high school books, from which I'm probably using some basic mathematical knowledge :tongue:

    I remember the time when I wasn't sure if change of variable formula holds for Lebesgue integrals, so this could be enough of reason to cite. Besides, other students could be more likely readers of my thesis than actual professionals.
  6. Nov 24, 2008 #5


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    Well in your case, it's a thesis, so ultimately no one will actually read it.

    That being said, you should definitely give a reference if someone at your level or slightly below you would not know such a result off-hand. So yes, cite.
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