[uf-discuss] Citation format straw proposal on the wiki

Breton Slivka zen at zenpsycho.com
Wed Mar 29 04:33:10 PST 2006

Going of my experiences with microformats, the most difficult thing  
to deal with as a "newcomer" to the idea, is for instance, the  
intimidatingly large amount of properties available in a format such  
as iCalendar. For the sake of wide adoptability, I can see the merits  
of trying to keep property lists down to a minimum, and I can see the  
effort to do so in the microformats initiative.

In this instance, you seem to be running into an issue where we have  
a very widely applicable and general idea (citations) and a fairly  
large number of specific domains over which it can be applied, each  
with its own set of requirements and restrictions. For instance, Ryan  
Cannon's suggestion that "work-of-art" be rolled into a citation  
format. Not a perfect fit but it could work- but it would only be  
useful with a number of domain specific properties. Other examples  
could be photos, journals, websites, etc. You want to be able to  
cover all of them, but you also don't want to bloat the format.

So how do you deal with the counter goals of making it simple enough  
for general usage, but useful enough for domain specific applications?

My suggestion: Modularize. Create a "Core" citation format, which is  
stripped down to the bone, containing only the common elements in all  
of those formats. Then add domain specific modules for the special  
cases, which only the domain experts need to worry about.

With this, I think you've eliminated part of the problem in adoption  
of a large and ungainly format with hundreds of properties.  User  
agents need only deal with the core citation format. domain specific  
software can be created and utilized as necessary.

On Mar 29, 2006, at 5:10 AM, Bruce D'Arcus wrote:
> To me a test of an 80/20 format is can a user/developer reliably and
> consistently encode the following:
> 1. articles (not just journal articles, but also for other  
> periodicals)
> 2. speeches and other presentatiions (like a conference paper)
> The trick is to avoid genre-specific property names like "jtitle" or
> "conference-title" and exploit the nested possibilities of HTML and
> the fact that one can include more than one class attribute.

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