CZ:Wishlist/Citations, References and Bibliographies/Problem Statement

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This page summarizes the problem of using and providing citations, references and bibliographies in a multi-page environment, such as Citizendium. It follows a well-tested technique for solving complex problems, which organizes the work into 3 stages. In the first stage (Collection) everyone who wishes to contribute provides a statement of what he/she thinks is the problem or a component of the problem. This statement is then summarized and that (the summary) is placed in the Collection portion of this page. For this problem, statements are specified on a forum thread and then summarized here. The basic rule for the collection stage is no filtering. That is, everyone is allowed to state their view and those views are recorded. It is inappropriate for others to request the removal of anything recorded in the Collection section.

The second stage is Analysis. In this phase the ideas presented in the Collection section are organized. Similar ideas are aggregated together and the problem statement presented in a more developed form. While filtering is allowed during this stage, generally that is best left for the third stage.

The third stage is Prioritization. The work in this phase is to rank the processed ideas presented in the Analysis section according to their importance. Deciding what is and what isn't important is a subjective activity. However, a general guideline is to give higher priority to those problems identified in the Analysis section that are impeding the goals of Citizendium the most.


The following list enumerates concerns expressed by Citizens about how CZ currently supports Citations, References and Bibliographies. Many of these are taken from the forum thread on the problem. The attribution of the Citizen who originally proposed the concern is not given.

  1. Citations in a cluster cannot be constrained to the Bibliography, since "an easy jump to the bibliography subpage and back again to the main page is not supported by the software."
  2. Placing citations only on the Bibliography page and referencing them on the main article page by a footnote has the problem "that the changes on the bibliography page and in the main article would then have to be synchronized either manually or by means of transclusion of the reference section", both of which may cause confusion.
  3. Putting the same citation information in two or more different article clusters introduces the hazard of inconsistencies. (see Annotation mechanics)
  4. Placing the same citation information on both the Bibliography sub-page and the main article page raises the problem of keeping them both synchronized if errors are corrected in one or the other.
  5. Different referencing styles (e.g., those supported by the cite template, the Citation template and the Harvard templates) introduce inconsistencies in the way citation data is entered and stored, leading to inconsistencies in the articles on CZ.
  6. Providing new Citation/Reference/Bibliographic services in CZ would enhance its attractiveness. "Having an automatic link (transcluded) between the bibliography subpage and the article page would be a really cool function."
  7. It should be possible to form unions of citation lists and to define citation lists by specifying members from other citation lists. A citation list is pretty much what it says - a list of citations.