[uf-discuss] Easy book citations

Tantek Ç elik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Sun Jul 30 09:58:29 PDT 2006

On 7/30/06 1:53 AM, "Simon Cozens" <simon at simon-cozens.org> wrote:

> Hello folks; please don't shoot, I'm new here.

Hi Simon and welcome to the list!

> I've noticed on the wiki that
> there's a relatively long discussion about citation formats, tending to focus
> on creating microformats for full academic citations. From my point of view,
> this seems to go against the "start as simple as possible" principle, but
> let's move on.

This is an excellent point of perspective to raise, and rather than "moving
on", I recommend you add a statement about "a citation format as simple as
possible" to the citation-brainstorming page:


> I'm looking for something simpler and something a bit more immediate.
> I'm working on an online book recommendation site
> (http://www.youneedtoreadthis.com/) which will, obviously, display a lot of
> information about books. I'd like that to contain semantic markup for all the
> books: nothing too fancy, just title, author, maybe ISBN. I would imagine that
> this is a fairly common usage case.

The way to determine if it *is* a fairly common usage case or not is to
document real world examples using the wiki.  Fortunately a bunch of folks
have started doing this.


That being said, if you have a set of "really simple citation" examples
found on the Web I strongly urge you to add them to that wiki page.

> Can I do this yet? Is there a citation format ready to use right now?

Not yet.  There is the <cite> tag for enclosing the entire citation, but
nothing formal has been developed for distinguishing the structure.  There
are some proposals on the brainstorming page that you can try using and see
if they work for you:


Continuing in the thread...

On 7/30/06 7:59 AM, "Fred Stutzman" <fred at metalab.unc.edu> wrote:

> I think microformat citations are a great idea.

Hi Fred and thanks!

> The good news is the hard
> work has already been done for us.
> The .bib citation format is a flexible, open, and widely used bibliographic
> format.


> I believe our task could be as simple as microformatting the bib format.

If the bib format was the overwhelmingly dominant bibliographic/citation
format, it could be that simple.  But it is not.  It is one of many formats
in wide use. See:


For the documentation and research that has been done on this.  If you have
additional data on usage, *please* add it to the existing documentation.

The last time the "which format is newest / most widely in use / most
interoperable" questions were asked, I believe OpenURL was the answer.  I
could be mistaken, I've only been on the periphery of the citation
microformat work and there are several others here who are much more
familiar with the state of the work.

> I would warn us away from attempting to change the namespace.

I'll put it another way, whatever the research in citation *examples*


leads us to in terms of 80/20 citation properties and schema, we very much
SHOULD re-use the names of properties from one or more existing *formats*.

> I would be willing to offer assistance in making this a reality.


First I would like to point you to the microformats process:


Second, the folks working on the citation microformat to date have done *a
lot* of work along the lines of the process which I recommend you read to
understand the current state of progress:


>  If we are 
> going to take up citations, I strongly urge us to go the .bib route.

We might end up re-using from the .bib vocabulary, and we might use another
vocabulary (OpenURL) instead, or some other.  Once there is consensus on the
80/20 schema from the examples, it is reasonable to discuss the merits of
the various pre-existing citation formats in order to decide which
vocabulary to re-use.



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