What do the experts do in order to cite long URLs, especially in printed publications where the reader will be seriously challenged to type out into a browser the line-long (or more) address?
Is it acceptable to use services like www.tinyURL.com or www.bit.ly to provide a short, typable URL for one’s sources? The former at least says that the links one creates do not expire (probably as good a promise as one would get for the original site/cite).
The McGill guide says that one could cite an article just by the top level of the domain where it appears, e.g. S. Fodden, “Becoming Slaw”, July 14, 2009, http://www.globeandmail.com. Then the reader would have to search the site to find the article, or perhaps do a web search of the title of the article.
This strikes me as more work for the reader than giving a shortened URL that links directly to the article. Also, some sites still charge for content after a couple of weeks of free access. Sometimes linking directly to the article takes one past the “pay here” page.
One should I think provide the original long URL along with the shortened one, or the top level URL plus the abbreviation. But without the abbreviation, I suspect that most readers will never go to the electronic sources: too frustrating.
Other views? After all, is it really more work to type a long non-intuitive URL than to go to a physical library to get a periodical to find the article? Or do people just expect that following links will be easy, and not compare that effort to going to and picking up a printed source?
Perhaps most people never look at any of the sources cited in an article, though, unless they are testing the author or writing their own article on a related subject. Does that matter to the ease that one should try to create in accessing one’s sources?