Was thinking about adding a reference section to my Digital Garden and started to review the different guides for citing papers -- MLA, APA, Chicago, etc. and it occurs to me that no one has really made a digital-first guide for works cited pages.

All the existing guidelines are still operating in a dead-print-first mindset in an era which nearly all of your sources will probably be digital and can be hyperlinked.

@lordbowlich Along those lines, you wouldn't happen to be able to recommend a good reference manager software could you?

@vortex_egg @lordbowlich this is a yak i have yet to shave. zotero gets recommended a lot, but feels kind of heavyweight.

i've thought about embedding either bibtex[0] or something like the refer[1] format used by danny yee[2] in my notes and parsing it out to an sqlite db for tool use, but this tends to quickly spiral out to questions about general embedding of structured data...


@brennen @vortex_egg Definitely yak shaving, though approaching bike shedding.

Since I'm not aiming for any kind of peer-reviewed publication, I'm being pretty free-form with how I'm handling citations. So Zotero, Bibtex, etc. is a bit overkill.

I was thinking in my footnotes of just doing "Author Name. Hyperlinked Article Name." Then I decided to get fancy and looked up the Chicago style and found the repetition of both the article name and a separate section for the URL needless repetitive in a hyperlinked document. Then I looked around at all the other major guides and found they all did that...

(Then there's a part of me that doesn't like that all of them are disregarding the ISO-8601 standard for date formatting)

Ended up with something resembling the reference sections found in Wikipedia:

Author Name. Hyperlinked Article Name. Site Name. Retrieved Y-M-D.

Then there's an entire world of how best to do the in-text citations. If I can just work the link into the text, that's fine. But what if I want to cite something parenthetically? I could do something like Wikipedia and have a footnote linking to the reference (either directly or to the correction section of the references). Manually managing those numbers in a markdown text file might become cumbersome...

@lordbowlich @vortex_egg yeah - for me i'm less concerned with specific formatting right now, since my notes are mostly un-published, and more with how best to represent the references themselves. i use pinboard, and fairly simple bookmarking with tags covers a lot of what i need - right up until i want to model stuff that doesn't really have a canonical URL, or want to say things like "show me every place i reference a tolkien work" or whatever.

@brennen @vortex_egg I'm doing most of my notes publicly. They're a mixture of writing targeting myself and a semi-public replacement for blogging.

I had a Shaarli instance for a while, but I found myself bookmarking a lot of pages that I never really read.

Part of this for me is trying to develop a little better discipline about my reading and citing habits. Trying to personally be aware of where particular knowledge came from, being able appropriate credit them.

Then there's trying to identify when particular bodies of knowledge or assumptions are lying on faulty sources or unstable grounds. Essentially, trying to map out the boundaries of my own bubble.


Yeah, ultimately I'm trying to get better about tracking what I read, and what I intend to read, so I can source where knowledge comes from. I haven't been able to find an existing reference manager app that.... felt good to me.

Considering just making a flat file or a personal database or something, but it's honestly something that I'm surprised to not find a smol simple solution for already.



> but it's honestly something that I'm surprised to not find a smol simple solution for already.

yeah, same. i think i'm going to just pick a markup format and start embedding it in vimwiki pages with a standard name scheme for referenced works unless i come across a better idea soonish.


@brennen @lordbowlich If I want to get smol and single-purpose about defining my need, I guess the thing I'm looking for is primarily a reading material tracker, as opposed to a citation manager/generator.

@vortex_egg @brennen I just started a markdown file where I'm pasting the author name + url for each article I read in the week then reviewing it at the end of the week.

Surprised to find I'm reading 30-40 2,500+ word articles each week and probably only 5 of them I really felt like I got anything out of.


That's a good idea, thanks. I can do that with the tools I have now, and apply it to books or papers as well.

Figure I can crack the citations nut when and if I get to that point.


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