While looking for information on how to perform a particular basic lab technique, I found the lab manual from another university's undergraduate lab course. This lab manual illustrates the technique very well, with concise description, useful tips on fine points of the procedure and nice, helpful pictures of how the procedure should be performed.
In my research notes, I try to cite relevant material in a format resembling usual citation styles of well-known journals, both to build a habit and because it happens to be a good way to keep track of precisely what information I based my decisions on.
However, this lab manual does not have a DOI or ISBN and the PDF itself does not provide enough information to uniquely identify it in a traditional fashion. By looking at the URL it was posted under, I can deduce a fair bit regarding exactly what course this document pertains to (in my particular case, it seems to be the 2013/2014 version of the lab manual of the Bi204 course at Boston University, hosted here). What is the best way to cite it, to ensure that future readers of my notebook will be able to follow the citation without being hopelessly confused about which document I am talking about?
- In theory, I can keep searching for other, more "formal" texts such as journal publications, then cite those. However, I don't want to do this. Firstly, I would be doing extra work to find what I already have discovered. Second, the manual is exceptionally well written and it will be hard to find other sources which provide the same information just as clearly. Third, I would like to give credit to the person who was actually the most helpful to me in my own reasoning.
- I could just cite the reference given by the lab manual, but many of the issues I raise for the previous point apply.
- I could cite the URL, but what if a year later the web page changes drastically, and the version of the notebook I used disappears?
I would like to, to the extent that is reasonably possible, provide the means for locating this lab manual to anyone reading my notes in the far future, even if the original author removes the manual from the web page I found it at. And I would like to provide this information in a style that conforms to established citation practices of scientific writing. How can I do this?