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A citation is a reference to something (a way to look up what) someone said, wrote, or photographed/captured, typically a published work of some kind, these days often on the web.

Publishing a citation for material discussed in a article, or that a reply is in-reply-to, are also ways of explicitly and transparently giving-credit to sources.


You should publish citations so your readers can lookup the quotations or media you post from others, and evaluate such information for themselves.

You should both look for and check citations for quotations and media because so many quotations are false or misattributed, and so much media is altered, re-used for unrelated events, or otherwise misleading.

“PSA: If a photo, ostensibly of some recent event, does not come directly from a credible journalist or outlet and is not attributed to one, don’t trust it and don’t share it.

It could be edited, of a different event, selectively framed, or otherwise an attempt at manipulation.”

How to

How to markup

Main article: h-cite

How to markup citations in your posts:

When publishing references to published works on the web, use the h-cite microformat to markup the name of the work, URL, author (with embedded h-card name, photo, and URL ), when published, publisher (if any), when retrieved (optionally).

How to lookup

(this section is a stub and incomplete, please expand)

  • Images:
    • You can track the source of images through sites like Especially useful to detect if an old photo is presented as showing a recent event.

IndieWeb Uses

There are several specific indieweb uses of citations.

  • reply-context - a reply-context contains a citation for the original post that the reply is in-reply-to.
  • comments-display - indieweb comments that have been syndicated from their original reply URLs into a "Comments" section on an original post are all references to original material, and thus are also citations.
  • post footer sections - external references in footer sections (i.e. in addition to the abovementioned comments display section) are almost always also citations.
  • Photo citations in articles (featured photos) or other posts to credit the original photographer and provide any licenseing information.

User Interface

text input

A site can provide text inputs with a citation URL (and/or full citation markup) pre-filled in for the reader to copy / paste. IndieWeb Examples:

Visual Input

append to text selection copy

Using javascript it appears possible to append a citation URL to the end of any text that a reader selects and uses the "copy" operation on.

Possible source of script to do this:

Criticism. There have been some sites / script that in addition to adding the citation URL also do some sort of tracking of every copy action. This has been written up with some criticism:

Thus if you do choose to implement an approach that adds a citation URL automatically to text that is copied from your posts, be respectful of your readers, and avoid any (especially surreptitious) tracking (e.g. utm_ query params).

allow access to fragmention on copying text

Main article: fragmentioner

Using JS, it is possible to provide access to the fragmention for a selected text. Preliminary demo:


Why a URL UI when address bar has it

Q: Why provide a UI to copy/paste the URL of the post (e.g. a text input box pre-filled with the permalink), when the user can just copy/paste the URL from the browser address bar?

A: Browser UIs sometimes do not provide an (easily) accessible the address bar, e.g.:

  • mobile browsers (often hide the URL bar, make it hard to get to)
  • kiosks, kiosk mode, fullscreen mode, presentation mode

A2: It's also easier for the user, having just finished reading your post, to see the UI immediately in their reading flow, and not having to scan back up to the top of the window for it.


IndieWebCamp sessions related to citations:



on the IndieWeb wiki

To create a quick citation on the IndieWeb wiki, one can use the citation template by adding the following text to a wiki page and filling in the appropriate details:

| title =
| url = 
| author =
| published =
| archiveurl = 

See Also