Last modified: 2012-05-08 13:54:49 UTC

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Bug 20441 - using ISBN, DOI, URI, ... in references (ref element)
using ISBN, DOI, URI, ... in references (ref element)
Status: NEW
Product: MediaWiki extensions
Classification: Unclassified
Cite (Other open bugs)
All All
: Low enhancement with 1 vote (vote)
: ---
Assigned To: Nobody - You can work on this!
Depends on:
Blocks: 29473
  Show dependency treegraph
Reported: 2009-08-30 13:50 UTC by Andy R
Modified: 2012-05-08 13:54 UTC (History)
4 users (show)

See Also:
Web browser: ---
Mobile Platform: ---
Assignee Huggle Beta Tester: ---


Description Andy R 2009-08-30 13:50:21 UTC
Currently, it is quite cumbersome to use references. A reference has to be entered as follows:

:This is a sentence.<nowiki><ref>Miller (2005): Is Wikipedia an encylopedia? Berlin, New York. p. 5. ISBN 1234567890</ref></nowiki>

Why so cumbersome, if it could be much easier? If I enter the ISBN number in any event, why not using only the ISBN as follows:

:This is a sentence.<nowiki><ref isbn="1234567890" p="5" /></nowiki>

or better (because XML)

:<nowiki><ref isbn="1234567890" p="5">This is a sentence.</ref></nowiki>

This would lead to the same reference, but the source code is slim and only the system would have to look up the author, title ... of the book.

The same would work with papers from journals using DOI:

:<nowiki><ref doi="1234567890" p="5">This is a sentence.</ref></nowiki>

instead of:

:This is a sentence.<nowiki><ref>Miller, Smith, Black (2009): The evolution of Wikipedia. In: International Journal of Wikipedia Research. Vol. 7, No. 3, p. 5. doi=1234567890</ref></nowiki>

Also web sources would work:

:<nowiki><ref href="">This is a sentence.</ref></nowiki>
Comment 1 Mathias Schindler 2009-09-06 20:48:29 UTC
I would like to point out to a more recent feature at the German language Wikipedia for this particular problem. is a list of the most commonly referenced books in de.wp as identified by its ISBN (without merging ISBN-10 and -13). Thanks to the MediaWiki support for templates, we can use a template called BibISBN to create bibliographic references just by using the template and one parameter.

{{BibISBN|0801857899}} will result in Ronald M. Nowak: Walker’s mammals of the world. 6. Auflage. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 1999, ISBN 0-8018-5789-9.

Additionally, will show a few fields of this record at the ISBN search special page.

The full record, which might contain more specific data, for example a LoC control number or a Google Book Search-ID, is shown at

Data on this page is stored in a template called BibRecord. is a version diff of this feature in action. The former version was the German edition of the cite_book template, the current one is the BibISBN template. The output is the same, the redundancy is gone.

BibISBN supports parameters to identify specific pages or to add comments. It can be wrapped in the {{q}} template for footnoting. COinS support is already included. The output can be customized for localized citation rules.

In the medium run, adding more sub pages for each ISBN is not the best option, but frankly, the BibISBN template itself doesn't care where the data is coming from and the user cares about the functionality itself and the quality of the reference.
Comment 2 Andy R 2009-09-07 04:34:12 UTC
I want to add that the system could look up the data mentioned by Mathias automatically when it is used in an article for the first time and could establish an own databases. Obviously there are such databases for ISBN, DOI, ... already as listed here:

Another important aspect I want to stress:

The usage of

<ref isbn="123456789">This is a sentence.</ref>

instead of today's

This is a sentence.<ref>Miller (2005) ...</ref>

is both XML conform and allows more precise referencing as reported here:

Both today's lengthy ref source codes (which could be a thing of the past after implementing ISBN, DOI, href support) and the imprecise implementation of referencing (bug 18231) is opposed to efforts of a reliable, trustworthy Wikipedia.

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