Nov 192010

I had talked about this with friends in the past. It is basically the citation format equivalent of a vCard. It should allow simple swapping of citation or citation-like information. It should be built on open standards, perhaps using the Dublin Core as the basic semantics. It might also use something like the Netscape RSS.

vCite must be XML-based. It should be able to hook into a hypertext link (perhaps as a XLINK or in some extension of ANCHOR tag) that allows a vCite block to be “grabbed” by another application. This might be things like:

– an automatic citation scanner used to compile link directories (useful for collaborative filtering)
– bookmark manager
– enhanced subject gateway or hypertext link display (cursor over and see a structured catalog entry for the link).
– exchange of vCites between a range of applications, for example, sending a catalog URL to a customer PDA much like the vCard allows a user to send a business card.

One can imagine going into a store with a PDA and then allowing a user to have selected items automatically forward their descriptions for later review and comparison shopping.

Students would be able to grab vCites from library catalogs as a simple transportable and interoperable set of semantics that they could then use for creating bibliographies.

Promoting this development would allow a user to catalog a link or some record and then share it more easily. Since users and automated tools would be the ones disseminating the vCite, the onus is on the originator to ensure a useful, accurate vCite. This helps encourage stronger linkages and fewer transcription and other errors in sharing citation information.


Citation analysis seems underutilized for information retrieval to me. Why don’t organizations use citation analysis to figure out what important things were referenced in their particular area of interest and use this information to help determine things like digitization priorities (like making sure the most important and cited articles/texts are available to their users) or to create secondary “survey” products like annual compilations of important stuff.

Now if only we had a mechanism to clearly identify what portions of documents that people stop and reference, then we have something interesting. Too bad electronic highlighting is so crude. It would be useful if we could have highlighting in browsers and have it used for automatic notetaking or summarization. Rather than just saving links (which are terribly unstructured) the objective should be to capture anything and summarize and/or catalog.

Here again is where my idea of vCite would really be helpful.

Citations online. Why have programs like Endnote/Procite on the desktop? Why not make them accessible from anywhere on the web and allow users to have a variety of outputs (HTML, PDF, .doc, RTF) and let them chose the citation style as well.

This would be a useful service and allow notetaking from anywhere.

It would be useful to be able to upload a local file and to download one as well. Import from Procite/Endnote would also be a great feature to have. Work with ISI to develop the product?

One objective is to support scholarly and educational work.
Another is personal subject trees: how to manage links better is the objective here.

Another twist might be to make this an online bookmark manager. Allow users to move their bookmarks to a central repository (saves them in the event of an accidental overwrite) and to make all or portions of their links accessible. If this were matched with vocabulary tools online for creating personal heirarchies
and automatic linkchecking, and even metadata cataloging, then I think there is a nice application environment here.

How to make money? It must be a subscription service purchased either by single users or institutions. Viral market by providing a limited service for users (100 citations/200 links, etc).

Existing citation management tools are lame and have not advanced significantly.

Performance must be great.

It would be useful to allow users to define access for various parts of their personal bookmarks, subject trees,

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