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How should we display print references online? - asking for your advice

We are looking to include over 500 of our book titles in SRMO. Within SRMO each chapter of a title will display on a single web page (a little like a journal article); you will be able to navigate different chapter by links to the table of contents next to the chapter text on the page.

As I look through the print copies recently it struck me how greatly the display of references varies from title to title: sometimes at the end of the chapter, sometimes at the end of the book, sometimes within the text.

When we move these titles online it will be important to standardise the display (although feel free to challenge me on this!) of the references so that as you move from title to title or chapter to chapter you will be familiar with where to access the references next to the chapter text. Here are some options:

1) Include references that pertain to a particular chapter at the bottom of every chapter. This would mean disaggregating references, if they are at the end of a book, to reallocate them at the chapter level for the online display.

2) Include references as a separate page that you can move to through a link next to the chapter that would display the full alphabetical list of references used for the title; we would need to aggregate references if they were displayed at the chapter level into the full list

3) Include references as a separate page that you can move to through a link next to the chapter that would take you to a page that breaks the references out to a chapter level allowing you to scroll through the references for each of the different chapters; we would need to aggregate those references that are displayed at the chapter level in the book, and disaggregate references displayed as a list at the back of the title to divide them out by chapter

4) Leave references to display just as they do in the print book, either at the end of the chapter or at the end of the title, the assumption is that the variations through the product are not important here.

I hope the above makes sense?! Do you have any preference for one of the options above, or indeed, any other thoughts to help us with these questions about displaying references online?

Let me know whether any of this isn't clear and I'll have a go at mocking up the different options in a set of visuals.

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Comment by Martha on November 25, 2009 at 16:24
Hi Johanna - thanks for the feedback below!
We are planning to use CrossRef. We are currently generating DOIs for each book title and book chapter in the product, these will be deposited in CrossRef so that any references to our titles from external sites will link directly through to this product. References within content on SRMO will also be "linkable" out to third party products.
Our editor in the UK, Patrick Brindle (you can find him on Methodspace!), believes that there should be quite alot of references that will link to other material on SRMO - it's very difficult to know until the content is all up there on the site, but it will be certainly very interesting to see!
Comment by Johanna Tunon on November 21, 2009 at 11:25
I agree with Martha that hyperlinking from the text citation to the reference citation in the list or just a pop-up with the full reference would be very useful

As for location of the reference list, since each chapter is going to be in a separate file, it would make sense to keep the references for that chapter in the same document (option 1), but I think people couldl deal with also linking to some kind of list of all the references at the end (options 2 or 4). I am assuming that when you talk about a "link next to the chapter" , that you will have the link accessible within the chapter and not require the user to return to the TOC to access the references. Also, if you are going to aggregate the references by chapter which is what option 3 sounds like, then I think it would make more sense to just include the references in the chapter file since that is the point of need rather than a master list that sounds like it has the references aggregated into mini-lists by chapter.. Of course, you could also have option 5 that would have both -- the chapter references and a master list for the book as well!

Being able to download citations to products like EndNote, etc., is definitely imporant for researchers since they tend to be power users.

My question is: Do you plan to create hyperlinked references for other Sage titles in the same database and links to public websites? CrossRef might also be an option! ;-]
Comment by Martha on July 22, 2009 at 1:04
Sara - I like the idea of hyperlinking, I thought that could be a really good option for footnotes...or perhaps a little pop up would be more effective for a footnote. The idea of the full reference list on a seperate page provides the benefit of allowing the user to click through straight to the list of references, or to the reference at the appropriate point as they are reading the text.

Ed - we are planning to allow you to download the citation for the text that you are reading to EndNote, Reference Manager, ProCite, BibTeX or RefWorks, but I hadn't thought about providing the option to do the same for the references to a book - is that what you mean? That sounds really useful, so you can store the reference in your Citation Manager as a "read for later"?

I completely agree about the launch and learn - I think there can be a tendency of needing to replicate the print in the online environment rather than to focus on how researchers, lecturers and students might use books differently when they are online and respond to that with the technology we use, and then evolving this over time - let's see what we can do here!
Comment by Ed Rigdon on July 20, 2009 at 16:51
It would be super if you could incorporate a standard tool like EndNote, which would allow researchers to simply interface your reference list and theirs. Hyperlinking could mean so much to researchers. I worry that trying to preserve the "book experience" will mean sacrificing far too much of the potential advantages. Then again, a project like this will be evolutionary, so the best approach is surely "launch and learn."
Comment by Sara P Robinson on July 20, 2009 at 12:32
Personally I think I would want it to mirror my normal practice when reading the physical book, for me that is to check each reference that interests me as I go along. To achieve this electronically the way I would do it is to have a full reference list on it's own web page and for each reference in the text I would provide a hyperlink directly to the relevant section in the references page (opening in a new window).

But everyone is different so I guess you will go with the general consensus.

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