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

Michael McCracken michael.mccracken at gmail.com
Wed Mar 29 11:34:04 PST 2006

On 3/29/06, Alf Eaton <lists at hubmed.org> wrote:
> On 29 Mar 2006, at 13:29, Michael McCracken wrote:
> > On 3/29/06, Alf Eaton <lists at hubmed.org> wrote:
> >
> >> Either way, here's the kind of thing I had in mind, just for a
> >> comparison to your straw man...
> >>
> >> <div class="bibliography">
> >>      <ol class="reference-list">
> >>         <li class="citation reference book">
> >
> > Seeing 'book' here, does this imply that every reference type has a
> > separate specific class?
> It does, but there aren't that many types. I think it's still easier
> than having a separate type element as in your example below, and
> it's a fairly fundamental piece of information needed in order to be
> able to interpret the citation. It's also an attribute that applies
> to eveything in the contained element, so seems appropriate here.
> > I think this might be a slippery slope into a huge format, judging by
> > the multitude of types out there in formats like MARC. If we want to
> > explicitly encode type, why not something like a type class whose
> > content can be whatever type you like? eg:
> > <span class="type" style="display:none">book</span>
> >
> > Condsidering existing practice, citations don't generally say what
> > type they are, do they? It's usually implied by the format or kind of
> > information they provide. It supports my favorite use case, since I
> > want to know what kind of record to create when harvesting references,
> > but is it really important, or just an artifact of us being used to
> > looking at bibtex etc...?
> Yes, they do: BibTeX's @article, for example, as you say. In this
> case, I'm producing the XHTML as a translation from the NLM Journal
> Publishing format, which has 10 defined types for citations and
> 'other': http://dtd.nlm.nih.gov/publishing/tag-library/2.1/n-us70.html
> OpenURL links also have defined formats for journal articles, books
> and other type of works.

By "citation" here I was thinking not of a bibtex (etc) bibliographic
record, which does have an explicit type, but instead of a citation,
which just identifies the cited work.
In other words, citation = the text you see in a reference list at the
end of a journal article
bibliographic record = the strutctured data you create in order to
keep track of citations and to generate them in your own publications.

My view of the goal of a citation microformat is to make a better
version of citations, and one improvement is that it will become
easier to create bibliographic records from citations found on the

(Thanks to C. Hudley for pointing out the distinction clearly)

> >

> >
> > for editors and pages, you have a container span, but for authors you
> > don't - what are the containers for?
> The container is the thing that contains the cited work. In this case
> it's a book; in other cases it could be a journal.

Sorry, I didn't mean the 'container', I meant the spans 'editors' and 'pages'.

> >> I guess there are some things in there that could become vcards, if
> >> you wanted.
> >
> > Yeah, it seems like a principle of microformats is to reuse other
> > microformats when possible, so publisher and any people ought to be
> > vcards, IMHO.
> That does make them more weighty though, and harder to read.

Not necessarily - vcards don't have to be super-verbose. Here's a
minimal vcard from the hcard creator:

<div class="vcard">
 <span class="fn">First Last</span>

It seems like most of the elements are optional, although that isn't
immediately clear from the hcard wiki page.

I used this in my examples:

	<span class="author vcard">Lorin Hochstein</span>,

but it looks like (from the hreview creator) I should have done:

  <span class="author vcard">
    <a class="fn">Lorin Hochstein</a>

but I'd say it's not necessarily super weighty, and it lets you give
much more information in a useful way if you want to...


Michael McCracken
UCSD CSE PhD Candidate
research: http://www.cse.ucsd.edu/~mmccrack/
misc: http://michael-mccracken.net/wp/

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