Adapting Citations and References to the
Online Environment


An analysis of existing citation styles has produced 30 insights into how citations and references can support online communication from authors to readers. These insights motivated the design, from the ground up, of an architecture for online citations and references.

The architecture supports online links to a wide variety of referenced content and emphasizes information that speaks to credibility. It provides one style for authors and another for readers.

A real-time transformation converts the author style to a corresponding reader's view. It sorts the references, adorns each reference with an icon gleaned from the reference's first hyperlink, and equips each in-text citation with a mouseover note that brings up its corresponding reference.

Readers of the transformed content see references with five elements: titles, links to representations of cited content, contributors, publishers, and dates. The titles and links come first, as these are the elements emphasized in search engine results.

The document Reference Elements: Examples provides a pleasant introduction to the citations and references of the new architecture. Here is a labeled screenshot of a subsidiary reference in the form of a mouseover note:

The architecture is presented in Citations Online: Preliminary Guide for Content Creators. The underlying research is presented in Citations Online: Architecture Development. Its conclusion identifies crucial differences between traditional citation styles and the Citations Online architecture.

All three of these documents are self-illustrating. The reader sees not the content-provider format in which these documents are maintained but the corresponding transformed reader's view produced by the real-time transformation algorithm.