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Footnotes

Footnotes are one of those things that reviewers like to see in a thesis. Their use is to note where the facts came from. This is important when you're tryingto find something again later. Once the thesis is posted on the internet people will query all sorts of things. The ones who want to know where something came from never read the footnotes. There's also a slim chance that the reviewers will read the footnotes. If they do, you're screwed. 

So I can move the text around majorly later, I try to put the footnotes as close to the text they refer to as possible, usually the next comma, semi-colonor full stop. This makes the footnotes a bit dense. I try to avoid footnotes that point to more than one place unless it is unavoidable – a graph that draws upon a series of monthly reports, for example.

Unlike some other universities,  mine doesn't require a particular style. Some of the archives, including the Australian and US National Archives,mandate styles for citing their documents. In any case, published styles tend to be totally inadequate, so I have developed my own.

Here's an example from a page of the thesis. 

  1. CTF 76, "Finschhafen Operation – Report On", AWM54 589/7/27
  2. Letter, GOC I Corps to CinC AMF, [10 September 1943], Herring papers, State Library of Victoria, MS 11355, Box 10
  3. Extracts from Berryman Diary, 20 September 1943, AWM93 50/2/23/331
  4. Message, DCGS to G-3 GHQ SWPA, 25 September 1943, War Diary, G Branch, New Guinea Force, AWM52 1/5/51
  5. Report of I Corps on the Operations in New Guinea from 22 Jan 43 to 8 Oct 43, AWM54 519/6/32
  6. Message, BGS I Corps to GOC 9th Division, 17 September 1943, War Diary, I Corps, September 1943, AWM52 1/4/1; WarDiary, I Corps, 17, 18 September 1943, AWM52 1/4/1
  7. "Notes on Conference HQ 9th Division 2000 Hrs 18 Sep 43", War Diary, 9th Division GS Branch, AWM52 1/5/20

The first field is the type of document, if it is correspondence (as in footnotes 2, 4 and 6): message, letter, minute. You've got to be a bit of a bureaucrat to know the difference. Sometimes a document goes out to multiple recipients, in some cases as many as fifty. If there is more than one, I don't list a recipient.

The person who authored the document and the recipient are referred to by title. So in footnote 4, DCGS (Deputy Chief of the General Staff [of the Australian Army]) is Major General Frank Berryman and G-3 GHQ SWPA (Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 Division, General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area) is Brigadier General Stephen Chamberlin. This does not mean that they wrote the document. Usually, Army documents are actually drafted and often signed as well by a subordinate. Most people are too busy writing their superior's correspondence to handle their own. Similarly, even "eyes only' documents are rarely read solely by the named recipient.

The date follows. Most documents are dated but some reports (such as footnotes 1 and 5) are not. A standard date format was often used; day time, zone. This journal entry would be stamped 182200K. War diary entries refer to the date in the diary. If it refers to a month, this means that the document is in an appendix.

Report titles are in italic. Where a document had a title, that appears in quotes.  War Diary entries cite the unit that created the diaries, Where something comes from someone's papers (eg footnote 2), this is noted.

Finally, the file and item numbers. AWM52 is the WWII war diaries.