I’ve written before about what seems to be the most persistent and error-proof way to handle citing journal articles in blog posts and blog posts in journal articles (1,2), because it seems like some people have gone to quite extensive efforts to address this problem, apparently without looking to see if someone else has already gotten started on a solution. I’m glad to see that people are starting to talk to one another about how to handle things, as opposed to creating their own version of the wheel.
But what if we provided a different service for more informal content? Recently we have been in talking with Gunther Eysenbach, the creator of the very cool WebCite service about whether CrossRef could/should operate a citation caching service for ephemera.
As I said, I think WebCite is wonderful, but I do see a few problems with it in its current incarnation.
The first is that, the way it works now, it seems to effectively leech usage statistics away from the source of the content. If I have a blog entry that gets cited frequently, I certainly don’t want all the links (and their associated Google-juice) redirected away from my blog. As long as my blog is working, I want traffic coming to my copy of the content, not some cached copy of the content (gee- the same problem publishers face, no?). I would also, ideally, like that traffic to continue to come to to my blog if I move hosting providers, platforms (WordPress, Moveable Type) , blog conglomerates (Gawker, Weblogs, Inc.), etc.
The second issue I have with WebCite is simpler. I don’t really fancy having to actually recreate and run a web-caching infrastructure when there is already a formidable one in existence.
The people at Crossref know about Purl.org, Archive.org, and they share my rather dim opinion of the NLM’s recommendation’s for citing websites. However, the people at WebCite.org apparently didn’t know that you can deposit things upon request into Archive.org. If CrossRef goes forward with their idea, perhaps working with Purl.org like they did with DOI, it would pretty much make WebCite irrelevant, and I wouldn’t have to be frustrated by seeing http://webcitation.org/f973p4y in a paper and never knowing if it’s worth following the link or not(at least there’s a greasemonkey fix for YouTube Links).
“Bloggers for Peer-Reviewed Research Reporting strives to identify serious academic blog posts about peer-reviewed research by offering an icon and an aggregation site where others can look to find the best academic blogging on the Net.”
It is all great except that it already exists and for a long time before BPR3. You can go to the papers section in Postgenomic and select papers by the date they were published, were blogged about, how many bloggers mentioned the paper or limit this search to a particular journal. I have even used this early this year to suggest that the number of citations increases with the number of blog posts mentioning the paper.