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# References in a new technology environment

As it's coming up in other contexts, there's the question of what the best way of doing references is on the Wiki.

Traditional texts and articles have a list of references at the end of the article, with small indications such as references numbers in the text. The need for full references is clearly to provide enough detail to find the exact source listed, but presumably its done this way for the following reasons:

1. Paper is a static medium (a full reference can't appear in a mouse-over). Putting all very long lines inline in the text would break up normal reading, so putting them at the end moves them out of the way.

2. It's easy for authors and readers to scan through an alphabetical ref list and look somehting up, spot something that they think ought to be there isn't, etc.

To what extent do these apply to the wiki (in principle, ignoring for the moment Instiki limitations)? It's possible to "hide" the full reference details as referring to them comes up in the main text, and have means of making them visible, eg, mouseover. It's also possible to automatically compile a secondary list of references (either at the end or on a separate page) from the text, so it doesn't sacrifice the utility of point (2). So the traditional reasons for reference structuring don't apply. Why might we want to keep things that way:

2. Similarly, if wiki material is intended to migrate to a traditional format, eg, a printed version or submitted as a journal article.

3. It provides somewhere to stick references that aren't explicitly mentioned in the text.

I certainly find the current layout difficult at times, since it's often time consuming to find the reference a mention in the main text refers to. (Mea culpa in that I haven't bothered to learn how to do markdown reference-links. However no-one else seems to have done it either.) Certainly on a page which has multiple "orthogonal" sections, it'd be nice if it was acceptable to put references only of relevance to that section at the end of a section. Being more radical, it might be interesting to come up with some guidelines for when it's appropriate to put references in as they come up in a text block, and if so how.

Any responses/ideas?

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1.

Because it's related, in another thread I commented this:

Roflwaffle said

I gotcha, I think... Would it be best then to have a concise summary for most references that are academic, as opposed to just data or articles that only contain data from some other source, or only if something presents a view that differs from other views in a given field?

I think that in the end almost all important references should have a concise summary. Only if the summary can be just as short as the title (e.g. in case of data) it can be omitted, I think.

But if all references in agreement with what's on the page, it's not very urgent to include the summaries (which is, in a sense, the page itself), I think. I include summaries if the references explain different things (to point the reader to the right reference) or when they are in disagreement. Sometimes I also cite in between the text, e.g. following the style of Sea level rise. I put citations at the bottom if they're useful for most of the page.

Anyway, this is part of David's question

Comment Source:Because it's related, in another thread I commented this: Roflwaffle said > I gotcha, I think... Would it be best then to have a concise summary for most references that are academic, as opposed to just data or articles that only contain data from some other source, or only if something presents a view that differs from other views in a given field? I think that in the end almost all important references should have a concise summary. Only if the summary can be just as short as the title (e.g. in case of data) it can be omitted, I think. But if all references in agreement with what's on the page, it's not very urgent to include the summaries (which is, in a sense, the page itself), I think. I include summaries if the references explain different things (to point the reader to the right reference) or when they are in disagreement. **Sometimes I also cite in between the text, e.g. following the style of [[Sea level rise]]. I put citations at the bottom if they're useful for most of the page.** Anyway, this is part of [David's question](http://www.math.ntnu.no/~stacey/Mathforge/Azimuth/comments.php?DiscussionID=455&page=1#Item_1)
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2.

Hi David,

I don't have any strong opinion. I try to make a text readable and put references at the bottom, but often I find it's more clear if I put references in between the text (especially for lengthy articles) like I did for Sea level rise.

For me the first concern is that it's as clear as possible which paper claims what. Then I try that it is readable.

If anyone has good guidelines, I'd like to hear them too.

Comment Source:Hi David, I don't have any strong opinion. I try to make a text readable and put references at the bottom, but often I find it's more clear if I put references in between the text (especially for lengthy articles) like I did for [[Sea level rise]]. For me the first concern is that it's as clear as possible which paper claims what. Then I try that it is readable. If anyone has good guidelines, I'd like to hear them too.
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3.
edited February 2011

If we want, we can do "inline references" as has now become common on Wikipedia.

I tried some on the nLab here, for example. The idea is to write something like this:

Aaron Lauda [Lauda (2006)](#Lauda2006)

which links to a reference near the bottom like this:

Aaron Lauda (2006), Frobenius algebras and ambidextrous adjunctions, _Theory and Applications of Categories_ **16**, 84-122. ([web](http://tac.mta.ca/tac/volumes/16/4/16-04abs.html) ([arXiv](http://arxiv.org/abs/math/0502550)) {#Lauda2006}

That's a lot of stuff, but the point is simply that

{#Lauda2006}

creates a location which you can link to using

[this](#Lauda2006)

The same idea lets us mark a specific portion of text so we can link to it from a different page.

I think anyone who finds it "time consuming to find the reference a mention in the main text refers to" should, when they find it, stick in a link like the above. If we start liking them, we'll all start doing more.

Or, if this way is annoying, maybe someone can come up with a better way.

Comment Source:If we want, we can do "inline references" as has now become common on Wikipedia. I tried some on the nLab [here](http://ncatlab.org/nlab/show/Frobenius+algebra#props_for_frobenius_algebras_10), for example. The idea is to write something like this: Aaron Lauda [Lauda (2006)](#Lauda2006) which links to a reference near the bottom like this: Aaron Lauda (2006), Frobenius algebras and ambidextrous adjunctions, _Theory and Applications of Categories_ **16**, 84-122. ([web](http://tac.mta.ca/tac/volumes/16/4/16-04abs.html) ([arXiv](http://arxiv.org/abs/math/0502550)) {#Lauda2006} That's a lot of stuff, but the point is simply that {#Lauda2006} creates a location which you can link to using [this](#Lauda2006) The same idea lets us mark a specific portion of text so we can link to it from a _different_ page. I think anyone who finds it "time consuming to find the reference a mention in the main text refers to" should, when they find it, stick in a link like the above. If we start liking them, we'll all start doing more. Or, if this way is annoying, maybe someone can come up with a better way.