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BenWest will start this by reorganizing material from


(I have withdrawn the issues I submitted. Feel free to resurrect them from the archive if you think anybody else is interested in them, but I will not be pursuing them further. --Thomas Breuel)

Convert citation formats

Should a user agent provide retransmission of a citation in a new format? Which ones? A user agent should be capable of reading a citation from a web page, in a given format, and converting it into a second format, for use elsewhere. For a list of such formats, and examples, see Wikipedia, Citation styles. Andy Mabbett 11:05, 30 Mar 2007 (PDT)

Outstanding Issues

Moved from citation-brainstorming by [[BenWest 17:30, 8 Apr 2007 (PDT)]] available at

The 3 main points I (Brian) came across so far are:

  1. identifiers
  2. format types
  3. nesting
  • open issue! How should different kinds of non-globally unique identifiers be represented?

1) In hCard/hCalendar there is a UID field. Added with URL it makes for a great unique identifier. There are loads of other identifers besides URL, ISBN, LOC call number, SKU, ISSN, etc. Many of these are unique in their domain, but not globally unique. So how to they get marked-up? Much like the hCard TEL/ADR properties, we can use something like:

<div class="uid"><span class="type">ISBN</span>: <span

This makes the encoding the most extensible... if we start use class="isbn" then it is an enumerated list, with class="type" it is open ended.

  • open issue! What vocabulary should be used to distinguish between medium (aka format) versus type of work. How do we resolve ambiguity between type of work and the publishing medium?

2) I keep mis-using "format", format is the medium - hardback, softback. The TYPE (there probably is a better word - container?) is book, article, conference, manifesto, etc. Much like the identifers we can make an enumerated list of values, class="book", class="article", but that boxes us in, whereas something like:

<span class="type">article</span>

leaves things more open.

  • open issue! Should citations support nesting?

3) Nesting citation data in a citation. The ability to nest the same microformat inside itself is something that other microformats don't explicitly handle.

The two options are: i) Using class="book"

<div class="hcite">
 <div class="book">
  <span class="fn">Book Title</span>
  <div class="chapter">
     <span class="fn">Chapter Title</span>

This makes things easy to nest and to figure out exactly what is associated with what, but the downside is that we have enumerated lists of values for the class properties.

ii) using the TYPE for book

<div class="hcite">
 <div class="type">book</div>
 <span class="fn">Book Title</span>
 <div class="type">chapter</div>
 <span class="fn">Chapter Title</span>

now the class="fn" is not nested inside the class="book" or class="chapter" so there would have to be some other mechanism to associate the data with the type.


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See also