Often when I’m reading a story in print, I come across a quote that makes me wonder: What was said in the sentences preceding or following 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 from just 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 of the tradition that started with footnotes, became hypercharged with hypertext links, and now has evolved to enable the words of the original sources 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 had even assembled the first personal computers.
While writing a review of Ted Nelson’s 2002 PhD thesis, I was inspired to develop a way to write in a way more similar to what Nelson advocates, namely quotations that provide the greater context of their sources by excerpting the text surrounding the citation and “injecting” it into the original document. Since Ted’s goal has yet to be fully realized, I thought I could advance his vision by creating a jQuery plugin to provide a quick-and-dirty implementation that would evoke Ted’s vision. I know I don’t have the technical skill to implement Ted’s design, but I believe I can implement a crude imitation that is useful and that raises awareness about Nelson’s bigger vision.
I hope the public comes to expect more from their hypertext, inspiring work towards Nelson’s original vision.
Akron, PA (USA)
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
When did you begin CiteIt?
- The idea for CiteIt.net came while I was writing a profile of Ted Nelson.
- I started writing an implementation with the first GitHub commit on Jan 15, 2015.
What is Neotext?
- Neotext is the first name I gave to the project that became CiteIt.
- Lynn Schmidt Miller suggested the name of “CiteIt” as a way to relate the project to the well-understood concept of citation.
- You may see some stray references in the code to Neotext.
Why did you release this as open-source software under a free license like the MIT license?
- I want the type of citation I’m doing with CiteIt.net to spread as widely as possible.
- I want to promote the norm that serious discussions are substantiated with citations. The question to ask is: “Can you CiteIt?”
- By providing as few restrictions on implementations as possible, I hope others will extend my vision, taking it places I could not go on my own.
What do you use to create your footnotes on this website?
Is there a simple code demonstration of CiteIt I can inspect that is stripped of all the WordPress boilerplate?
- There is a basic example on GitHub of how to use the CiteIt.net jQuery library with the web service.
Want to Get Involved?
- A more complete list of features and bugs are outstanding in the Issue Tracker.
If you have ideas or think you can help, send me an email. (email address found on homepage)