Standards of Credibility of References

Given that this is an academic course, I think it is fair to assume that your sources must be academically credible. The boundaries of the academic credibility are a bit looser in our course given that we are frequently using online material, and, well, traditionally, internet is considered to be a trash bin. I don’t buy into that generalization, and by this time neither does the academy on the whole. Nevertheless, we need to have some standards, as we do in print, regarding the references we use. Afterall, “on the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” still holds true in certain ways.

For the purpose of this course, please consider the following as standards of credibility for external sources you reference in your work. Your source must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • published (hosted) on an academic website (not just linked to)
  • published (hosted) through a recognized academic press
  • published (hosted) on an academic journal
  • published (hosted) on a recognized art institution (includes artist-run and independent galleries) website
  • published (hosted) on a recognized artist website
  • published (hosted) on a critical culture journal (this means popular magazines/papers such as Wired, Salon, Cosmopolitan, Toronto Star, etc. are excluded)
  • published (hosted) on a non-commercial, non-private, public reference website (this means,, and pretty much most other .com websites are excluded, with some discretion if the .com site belongs to a non-commercial entity, such as the one hosting the Litchy essay here.)

If you are unclear about a source, feel free to ask. For the purpose of all upcoming assignments please consider this standard as a requirement.

Here’s an interesting story, to illustrate why we need to have these standards. In this case, the questionable source is our own favourite public resource, Wikipedia. So, what is the difference between Wikipedia and commercial and privately-owned and run reference sites? Precisely the fact that it is public and as such is more transparent in terms of where its information comes from, and it is more easily subject to public scrutiny.

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