From Jessamyn: “don’t toss up a bunch of bibliographic citations when a decent URL will do. You’re online, act like you’re online.”
Posted on Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 at 2:08 pm in Dispatches, Libraries & Networked Information | RSS feed
Jessamyn was talking about using the Q&A service Metafilter, not in general terms. Citations can be very valuable, esp. if they can be downloaded into citation software (Zotero, Endnotes). COinS can also be very useful. All depends on the site and the users. one of the favorite features of the RedLightGreen catalog was the citation tool. Kids could just cut n paste those citations for a quick bbliography.
I disagree. Our old notions of how citations should look and work were appropriate for the time and technology they were developed for. Today, however, URL citations are far more meaningful. Not only do they achieve the purpose of directing a reader to the source of the material in question, they make that source material more findable in search engines that index those URL citations.
When will we start leveraging the affordances that the web offers us?
I agree with David. If said URL lead to a machine-parsable form of metadata for the item, it would be quite a different story. Then an agent could go look up the textual bits of the citation in real-time. But the fact that we don’t know that the URL leads to — a splash page, a PDF, and HTML rendition — means that we still need the metadata afforded by a standard text citation.