KCite – easy citations in WordPress

I’m excited about this one.

For a couple of months now, I’ve been working on a referencing plugin for Knowledgeblog. The idea is to make it easy for authors to add citations to their posts, and have a bibliography produced automatically. Key to this approach (as with everything we’re doing on Knowledgeblog) is enabling authors to use their pre-existing workflow. So, if they are used to writing documents/papers in Word, they should be able to continue using it for writing posts for Knowledgeblog. If, on the other hand, they prefer to write collaboratively using Google Docs, we shouldn’t put unnecessary obstacles in their path, and so on. So the tool that we have produced, called KCite, uses simple text-based tags to process citations. These tags can be added from any platform (they are extremely simple to just type in), and WordPress will interpret them when it renders the post.

There is no attempt to manage references, to create a database and allow selection from that database when adding new citations. This is quite deliberate, researchers already use these tools, they are external to WordPress and (as of yet), incompatible with it. By keeping the system as simple (I hope) as possible, citations should be perfectly manageable by copy&paste from a browser or reference manager of your choosing, into the tool of your choosing.

I will publish an example of the plugin in action as a separate post, but in short the idea is that you surround either a DOI or a PMID with a cite shortcode. The plugin queries the CrossRef API or PubMed (via NCBI eUtils) in order to retrieve metadata about each publication, and uses that data to build the bibliography, which is then appended to the foot of the post. As yet this is far from being completely generic, and there will be circumstances where the lookup fails, but I have attempted to handle these situations as gracefully as possible, so hopefully a usable bibliography will be produced in as many cases as possible.

This is a 0.1 release, intended almost as a preview. The plugin is currently nowhere near what we would consider to be feature complete. There are a number of things on my TODO list to address over the next few weeks, but I would welcome feature requests and bug reports. You can follow development, and contact us, through the Google Code page for Knowledgeblog.

A final reminder, you can download KCite from http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/kcite/.

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