Often when I’m reading a story in print, I come across a quote which makes me wonder: What was said in the sentences preceding the quote? In other words: What is the Context? Is this quote cherry-picked and can I really get a full sense for what happened just from the quoted selection?
What is CiteIt.net?
CiteIt.net is the name I chose for a web service that allows writers to augment their writing with greater context about the quotations they make. The concept behind CiteIt.net is part the tradition that started with footnotes, became hypercharged with hypertext links, and now has evolved to allow the words of the original source to flow into the citing document, without requiring the reader to interrupt their reading experience by leaving the original document.
CiteIt.net was inspired by the work of Ted Nelson — who coined the term “hypertext” in 1962 and had the vision for a universal hypertext network, before Bill Gates and Steve Jobs even assembled the first personal computers.
While writing a review of Ted Nelson’s 2002 PhD thesis, I was inspired to write in a way more similar to what Nelson advocates, namely quotations that pull their content from their sources to provide full context for the citation. Since Ted’s vision has yet to be realized, I thought I would create a jQuery plugin to provide a quick-and-dirty implementation to evoke Ted’s vision.
This form of citation is not a real implementation of Nelson’s design, but a shallow partial simulation designed to build awareness of alternate modes of writing. It uses the world wide web (the most popular version of hypertext) as a starting point, rather building from a fresh base, as Nelson has described in his books.
I hope the public comes to expect more from their hypertext, inspiring work towards Nelson’s original vision.
Akron, PA (USA)
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