Caught My Eye: Will the E-Book Kill the Footnote?

Will the E-Book Kill the Footnote?

In this recent article in the New York Times Book Review, Alexandra Horowitz worries that her beloved footnotes will be “shunted off to the end of the text, relegated to being mere endnotes” as ebooks continue their impressive growth in popularity.  Of course, the real worry is that “the e-book may inadvertently be driving footnotes to extinction.”  While Ms. Horowitz notes  that  “it is at the discretion of the publisher how to treat footnotes”   she observes that “most are demoted to hyperlinked endnotes or, worst of all, unlinked endnotes that require scrolling through the e-reader to access.”  It’s obvious to her that “few of these will be read.”  Ms. Horowitz worries that this will result in the eventual disappearance of footnotes.  And she, along with many of us, would “grieve their loss.”

 

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