I found the original manuscript of a very celebrated English botanist on the internet (in pdf format of course) Here it is: http://sciweb.nybg.org/science2/pdfs/dws/Brownian.pdf

The reason is that in an introduction to an academic essay/thesis, I would like to talk about him and his findings and I found, at least, curious to copy the fragment when he talks about his findings (about 10 lines)

My question is, is it OK to paste the "photocopy" of the original manuscript itself? Or should I retype everything again between quotation marks? (of course, both with a citation under the text)

What are your opinions or what are the rules to follow?

1 Answer 1


Retype (or use OCR) if the meaning of text is the important thing. You have your formatting rules, your publication may need to be formatted, maybe made readable for mobile devices or devices for handicapped people.

If the manuscript is in graphical form, e.g. illustration with descriptions of its parts or some very special formatting, e.g. alchemical formula written in a way that letters "E" form a pentagram, this is your excuse for including a direct scan as an illustration of your article.

If the text is of the essence but the presentation contains some peculiarities relevant to your subject, write the text, and include an example illustration of the original depicting the mentioned peculiarities.

Nevertheless, the first mode - inline text of citation, that can be edited, reformatted, or read out by text-to-voice interfaces is the primary method used in 99% cases. "Graphical citations" are only rare edge cases.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.