HOWTO cite blogs in formal academic medical papers

Kidney Notes sez, "For anyone who's wondered how (or even whether) to cite blogs in formal academic medical papers, the National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health provides a style guide. (They used Kidney Notes as one of the examples -- I'm honored.)" [blog on the Internet]. New York: KidneyNotes. c2006 - [cited 2007 May 16]. Available from:
Link (Thanks, Kidney Notes!)


  1. This reminds me of an Onion article. The headline was:

    “Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years of American Independence; Founding Fathers, Patriots, Mr. T Honored”

  2. “blog on the Internet” ???

    IIRC, blog is short for weblog, which implies the World Wide Web, which is most certainly on the Internet.

    Where else would the blog be?!

  3. Wish it could be [Internet blog] or [Internet web log] or, equally precisely, [blog]. Looks like they need the “on the Internet” to match phrasing for other Internet content types.

    To my ears, the phrase “[Blog on the internet]”, which appears in many of the Examples on the linked NIH page, at first sounds:
    1. non-academic — lacks the terseness of a citation
    2. technologically naive — “blog on the Internet” has the ring of someone unfamiliar with the technology the (because of 3.)
    3. redundant — ‘blog’ is ‘web log’. Web is World Wide Web. “Blog” is all thats needed to describe this medium, and indicate it is on the network available to all researchers. There are certainly blogs visible only to those in private networks (e.g. in-house corporate blog), but Internet is the default. “Discussion list on the internet” and “blog” are both maximally compact.
    4. extra words not helpful — if a researcher is unfamiliar with “blog”, she will not be much helped with “on the internet” vs “internet”.

    I see that they want to be in parallel with non-blog Internet material that does need the long phrase — these don’t have special words for their net versions “Discussion list on the internet” can’t be “Internet discussion list”, slightly ambiguous, as could be a paper discussion list with a topic of the Internet. So maybe we’re stuck with the clumsy compromise, even with “blog” such a nicely precise word.

    I guess bloggers are lucky to get their own word, assumedly from socio-sexual pressures to avoid identification with pre-adolescent girls which prevented the well-known “diary” (web diary seems an immediately-understandable terms for casual use) and forced “blog” in the first place.

    Still, it will make for a nice subliminal imperative command while skimming over references: Hey buddy, go [blog on the internet]!

  4. I wouldn’t cite a wikipedia entry, just like you generally don’t cite an encyclopedia entry (site or cite????). I think depending on the paper, a blog is a horse of a different color.

    I wonder if Chicago will get this update soon (I haven’t looked for it, but the edition I have is 15th, which is from 2003- I don’t know if there is a newer one out or not). It’s not surprising, really. It was only a matter of time before this became more accepted. More and more info (good and bad) can be found on the tubes (for better or worse, but I think it’s good in the sense that more information being available is better), so how to cite this information is important. I don’t write about medicine, I write about history, but considering what I want to do in grad school, this sort of citation could be quite useful.

  5. Now, I can understand citing a blog if you’re doing research on writing, society, etc. But who in their right mind would cite a blog for REAL science?

  6. It seems likely that scientists cite blogs for evidence of certain opinions or attitudes. Even scientists discuss attitudes about science. Or maybe people post preliminary findings, even before publication?

    my question is, why no citation to to the Internet Archive since eventually whatever blog page may change? Wouldn’t that be a more reliable and permanent reference?

  7. I intensely dislike this citation style. It cites the blog but not the entry. Try finding the entry you’re looking for years afterwards. It should reference the specific entry .html file.

  8. +1 for Dennis G. Jerz’s citation suggestions; much better than the flawed NLM work. A manual trackback: I linked those and covered RADIOGUY’s critique.

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