This page suggests best practices for making citations in digital scholarship and documents a set of conventions that are intended to promote greater interoperability. It will also point to tools for identifying, processing, and presenting citations in server and client-side environments. Additionally, it highlights resources that are creating stable URLs relevant to digital scholarship, with a focus on humanities disciplines.
The phrase 'Citation in Digital Scholarship' is meant very generally as the encoding of reference to an external entity in support of, as illustration of, or otherwise in relationship to a work of digitally available scholarship. Scholars cite resources ranging from primary texts, contemporary scholarship, museum objects, people, places, and a wide range of other entities and categories of information. A set of robust and straightforward conventions that allow for local extension will enable increased recognition of the growing number of links between scholarly works.
In its most simple form, the convention adopted here is to wrap a citation in an element that has an attribute with value 'citation'. A title attribute, or equivalent, can be used to indicate a plain-text non-abbreviated form of a citation. In html that can mean:
This effort takes as its starting point that the conventions described should:
The above list is based up on previous scholarship in the field of digital citation (Romanello 2008, Smith 2009).
For xml-based documents, the following conventions are recommended:
Given the following mapping between prefixes and URL:
the following examples add RDF to conformant citations:
Addition of RDF to conformant citations is discussed in more detail on the page Citations with added RDFa.
The '@*="citation"' pattern can be used in the following circumstances.
Sample text: Herodotus (1.78) describes Babylon as the strongest and most famous city in Assyria. It is likely that this city was subsequently the mint from which Alexander issued a series of coins depicting eastern warriors on the obverse and an elephant on the reverse (e.g. ANS 1995.51.68). See discussion by Martin Price (1991).
Is it possible to establish a robust convention that allows unambiguous machine-recognizable linking to the cited text, to Alexander, to Babylon, to a description of the the coin in the collection of the American Numismatic Society and to the article "Circulation at Babylon in 323 B.C."?
HTML: <span class="citation">Herodotus (1.78)</span>
TEI: <ref type="citation">Herodotus (1.78)</ref>
In both these usages, an xpath selector "//*[@*='citation']" will create a set of all the citations in a text. That is robust.
HTML: <span class="citation" lang="en" title="Herodotus Histories 1.78">Herodotus (1.78)</span>
TEI: <ref type="citation" n="Hdt. 1.78">Herodotus (1.78)</ref>
Normalization will assist tools that can automatically recognize plain text citations.
If the value of the 'title' attribute would be identical to the text representation of the element it is attached to, it can be left out.
Note: in the HTML5 spec, elements without @title inherit the value from any ancestor that has @title. That should not happen in the case of a citation.
Both "Herodotus Histories 1.78" and "Hdt. 1.78" can be considered English representations of the citation of that text. The German equivalent of the first is "Herodot Historien 1.78", the Latin - still with Arabic numerals - is "Herodotus Historiae 1.78". If the language of the citation is the same as its prose context, it is not necessary to further markup the citation. It is common practice in some disciplines to cite the title of a work in its original language or in a widely accepted academic language, such as Latin titles for Greek works in Classics.
HTML: Herodotus (<a class="citation" title="Herodotus Historiae 1.78" lang="la">Historiae 1.78</a>) describes...
The 'lang' attribute specifices the language of the element to which it is attached. It does not directly specify the language of the 'title' attribute. Therefore, they must be the same.
Ideally, citations in digital scholarship are paired with a link to an online resource available at a persistent URI that that has clear semantics. Such URIs do not always exist, which is one reason to put a plain-text reference in the 'title' attribute.
HTML: <a class="citation" title="Hdt. 1.78" href="http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0125:book%3D1:chapter%3D78">Herodotus (1.78)</a>
TEI: <ref type="citation" n="Hdt. .78" target="http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0125:book%3D1:chapter%3D78" >Herodotus (1.78)</ref>
HTML: <a class="citation" href="http://atlantides.org/batlas/babylon-91-f5">Babylon</a>
The 'class="citation" title="<normalized plain text citation>"' html pattern is designed so that it can be easily used with other markup schemes. The global 'class' attribute in html is a space separated list so that other, unrelated values can be present without interfering with the identification of an element as a citation. The global 'title' attribute is directly suitable for the role envisioned here so shouldn't clash with other conforming uses.
Content-creators may choose to add in additional markup. Links to guidelines for doing so are list here.
Note: the page Current practice in citation has been started.
"Classics" has well established abbreviations. Neither complete, nor unambiguous, but well established.
The following examples illustrate that the same text can appear in different places.
This example does not address the presence and/or capabilities of the Canonical Text Services (CTS) protocol and URN scheme under development at the Center for Hellenic Studies.
Within the Ancient Mediterranean, the Pleiades Project is establishing short URL as identifiers for geographic entities (but see their own discussion for details). Geonames.org is a worldwide list of identifiers.
Worldcat. But there may be licensing issues.
What is the relationship between citing a work and citing its bibliographic record? Is that a necessary distinction?
Or any cataloged object with stable id?
HTML: <a class="citation" href="http://numismatics.org/collection/1968.34.40">ANS 1968.34.40</a>.
See more examples at Citation of museum collections.
HTML: <a class="citation" title="Trismegistos Number 23" href="http://www.trismegistos.org/tm/detail.php?tm=23">TM23</a>