I'm writing a high school history textbook. While writing my book, I'm finding its becoming very heavily laden with sources. If I used Turabian's footnote style, they tend to fill half the page. Perhaps 1 source per 2 lines of text. My reasons for this are:

  • The history involved three different groups of people, but typically only one point-of-view has been presented in most general sources, so I'm having to check more sources from these other points of view (which has revealed to me that a lot of sources are missing important details).
  • There is heavy bias in much scholarship, because the scholars are writing about their own ancestors, or have much local pride, they ignore facts that contradict their developed image of their ancestor as a "hero".
  • Indigenous groups with no written language were part of the history, so the facts can be difficult to pull out, and requires cross-checking and confirming information across multiple sources while filtering out the biases mentioned above.
  • Sometimes a great source ignores the basic details, like the date of the event, so I have to include cite general sources for the date alongside the more thorough detailed source with better analysis of the event.

Is too many sources frowned upon? Most secondary textbooks I see are strangely quite absent of sources. Is there some way this is bad practice?

  • I don't think you should be changing your citations to fit them on the page - you should be using a different citation style. Jan 6, 2021 at 20:46
  • I likely will change the citations to be placed on the page at the end of the chapters, so they don't take up much space. I'm not concerned with that issue, but whether or not having such a dense amount of sources is frowned upon.
    – Village
    Jan 6, 2021 at 21:03
  • 1
    Are you working without a publisher? Without an editor?
    – Buffy
    Jan 6, 2021 at 21:03
  • I've only finished 10 chapters, have 40 total, so I think it is too early for working with a publisher.
    – Village
    Jan 6, 2021 at 21:06
  • 3
    @Buffy asks a good question. It's not too early to work with a publisher if you can find one interested. Publishers know the audience you are writing for and what books for that audience should look like. Jan 6, 2021 at 22:23


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