Outline for Webmentions in Conjunction with Academic Citations

Replied to a tweet by Terence EdenTerence Eden (Twitter)
I’ve noted before how Altmetric does what some would call backfeed, though I’m not sure what or how their mechanism works other than some heavy search and extreme processing from social media platforms.

Pingbacks are essentially dead and in personal experience some of the few sites that still support them are in academia, but they’re relatively rare and have horrible UI in the best of times. Webmention is a much better evolutionary extension of the pingback idea and have been rapidly growing since before the spec was standardized by the W3C. 

I’ve sketched out how individual academics could use their own websites and publish pre-prints and syndicate them to pre-print servers and even to their final publications while still leveraging Webmentions to allow their journal articles, books, other works, to accept and receive webmentions from other web publications as well as social media platforms that reference them. 

I think the Microformats process is probably the best standardized way of doing this with classes and basic HTML and there is a robust offering of parsers that work in a variety  of programming languages to help get this going. To my mind the pre-existing h-cite is probably the best route to use along with the well-distributed and oft-used <cite> tag with authorship details easily fitting into the h-card structure. 

As an example, if Zeynep were to cite Tessie, then she could write up her citation in basic HTML with a few microformats and include a link to the original paper (with a rel=”canonical” or copies on pre-print servers or other journal repositories with a rel=”alternate” markup). On publishing a standard Webmention would be sent and verified and Tessie could have the option of displaying the citation on her website in something like a “Citation” section. The Post Type Discovery algorithm is reasonably sophisticated enough that I think a “citation” like this could be included in the parsing so as to help automate the way that these are found and displayed while still providing some flexibility to both ends of the transaction.

Ideally all participants would also support sending salmentions so that the online version of the “officially” published paper, say in Nature, that receives citations would forward any mentions back to the canonical version or the pre-print versions.

Since most of the basic citation data is semantic enough in mark up the receiver with parsing should be able to designate any of the thousands of journal citation formats that they like to display any particular flavor on the receiving website, which may be it’s own interesting sub-problem.

Of course those wishing to use schema.org or JSON-LD could include additional markup for those as well as parsing if they liked.

Perhaps I ought to write a longer journal article with a full outline and diagrams to formalize it and catch some of the potential edge cases.

Replied to a tweet by Martha BurtisMartha Burtis (Twitter)
I want it all too! If you’d like to join us at IndieWebCamp this weekend (free online), let’s have a session there to brainstorm how we can have our cakes and eat them too.

I think some of the POSSE (Post on your Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere) model may work to smooth some of this over. For example, I can write my response to everyone on my own WordPress site and fairly easily syndicate it to Twitter to have the best of both worlds.

If this weekend isn’t convenient, let’s host a pop-up session or mini-conference in a bit to discuss it and see what we can hack together.


Replied to a post by Katherine M. MossKatherine M. Moss (cambridgeport90.micro.blog)
I wonder how on earth one finds the ISBN of a Kindle-only book? I’m wondering whether or not the IndieWeb book resources should begin going by ASIN instead of ISBN … seems that the ASIN is easy to find if on GoodReads.
Each publisher should be assigning individual International Standard Book Numbers to each format for each different edition, but in practice they don’t always. Often they’ll assign a single ISBN number to all e-book versions (regardless of file format) and sometimes they’ll incorrectly use the same number as the paperback or hardback editions.

Things can be worse for more independent or self-published works where the author doesn’t know how these things work. These may often have no ISBN at all regardless of the format.

The least “indie” thing one could do would be to use the Amazon Standard Identification Number which is a number assigned by Amazon. ASINs are easy to find on Goodreads solely because they’re owned by Amazon. In many cases, there are far more editions on Goodreads than actually exist because of the lack of use of ISBNs and de-duplication of editions which they import from a variety of data sources, including Amazon itself.

To my knowledge, the only true way to find the “correct” ISBN is to copy it directly from the book/source itself.

Bookmarked a tweet (Twitter)
It’s starting to feel too late on the West coast of the US to start something right now, but my mind is buzzing. I’ll see if I can come up with something IndieWebby/Domain of One’s Owny overnight to post tomorrow. 

In the meanwhile, I’m curious what Greg McVerry, Aaron Davis, and others might whip up while I’m sleeping?

Thoughts on Wikity for WordPress

I spun up a new instance of Wikity today at http://wikity.chrisaldrich.net/ to test it out for potential use as a personal online wiki. My goal was also to test out how it may or may not work with IndieWeb-based WordPress pieces too.

Below are my initial thoughts and problems.

The /home/ page has a lot of errors and warnings. (Never a good sign.)

It took me a few minutes to figure out where the Wik-it! bookmarklet button was hiding. Ideally it would have been in the start card that described how the bookmarklet would work (in addition to its original spot).

The Wikity theme seems to have some issues when using for http vs. https.

  • Less seems to work out of the box with https
  • The main card for entering “Name of Concept or Data” didn’t work at all under https. It only showed the title and wouldn’t save. Switching to http seemed to fix it and show the editor bar.

I’ve tried copying over from Aaron DavisWikity instance, but the cardbox seems to fail on my end.

  • Nothing seemed to work at all when I had my site as https. In fact, it redirected to a URL that seemed like it wanted to run update.php for some bizarre reason.
  • On http I at least get a card saying that the process failed.
    • Not sure what may be causing this.
    • Doesn’t seem to matter how many cards it is.
    • Perhaps it’s the fact that Aaron’s site is https? I notice that his checkbox export functionality duplicates his entire URL including the https:// within the export box which seems to automatically prepend http://
    • Copying to my own wiki seems to vaguely work using http, but failed on https.

Multiple * in the markdown editor functionality within WordPress doesn’t seem to format the way I’d expect.

Sadly, the original Wikity.cc site is down, but the theme still includes a link to it front and center on my website.

The home screen quick new card has some wonky CSS that off centers it.

Toggling full screen editing mode in new cards from the home screen makes them too big and obscures the UI making things unusable.

The primary multi-card home display doesn’t work well with markup the way the individual posts do.

The custom theme seems to be hiding some of the IndieWeb pieces. It may also be hampering the issuance of webmention as I tried sending one to myself and it only showed up as a pingback. It didn’t feel worth the effort to give the system a full IndieWeb test drive beyond this.

Doing this set up as a theme and leveraging posts seems like a very odd choice. From my reading, Mike Caulfield was relatively new to WordPress development when he made this. Even if he was an intermediate developer, he should be proud of his effort, including his attention to some minute bits of UI that others wouldn’t have considered. To make this a more ubiquitous solution, it may have been a better choice to create it as a plugin, do a custom post type for wiki cards and create a separate section of the database for them instead of trying to leverage posts. This way it could have been installed on any pre-existing WordPress install and the user could choose their own favorite theme and still have a wiki built into it. In this incarnation it’s really only meant to be installed on a fresh stand-alone site.

I only used the Classic Editor and didn’t even open up the Gutenberg box of worms in any of my tests.


The Wikity theme hasn’t been maintained in four years and it looks like it’s going to take quite a bit of work (or a complete refactoring) to make it operate the way I’d want it to. Given the general conceptualization it may make much more sense to try to find a better maintained solution for a wiki.

The overarching idea of what he was trying to accomplish, particularly within the education space and the OER space, was awesome. I would love nothing more than to have wiki-like functionality built into my personal WordPress website, particularly if I could have different presentations for the two sides but still maintain public/private versions of pieces and still have site-wide tagging and search. Having the ability to port data from site to site is a particularly awesome idea.

Is anyone actively still using it? I’d love to hear others’ thoughts about problems/issues they’ve seen. Is it still working for you as expected? Is it worth upgrading the broken bits? Is it worth refactoring into a standalone plugin?

Replied to a thread by Andy MatuschakAndy Matuschak (Twitter)
This thread makes me wonder when the Hypothes.is team will be allowed to build a layer onto e-reader platforms? Another great idea might be for e-readers and note taking tools to have built-in micropub clients so I can use them to publish to my website or other platforms.
Watched Joel Dueck: Pollen, Textpattern, and Websites as books by Jared Pereira from YouTube

Joel walks us through his 20+ year strong personal website, and digs into his frustrations with past versions, and how he's building the latest edition to generate both a website and a book.

  • 0:00 — History/existing Textpattern site
  • 35:00 — Tour of new site
  • 58:00 — Use of Racket / Pollen to wield godlike powers
  • 1:15:00 — Dual web/printed-book publishing: Pollen, LaTeX, Quad, etc.

Imagine webmentions being used for referencing journal articles, academic samizdat, or even OER? Suggestions and improvement could accumulate on the original content itself rather than being spread across dozens of social silos on the web.

Bookmarked Great Expectations (Serapis Classics) (7switch.com)
An ebook published using TiddlyWiki
An interesting example of a book published using TiddlyWiki as an ebook platform. It also enables highlighting and annotations to boot! I’m curious how well it works with Hypothes.is given their anchoring schemes?

IndieWeb idea for the extension of ThreadReaderApp

I’d love it if ThreadReaderApp had the ability to authenticate into my personal website and publish a copy of my own tweetstorms into my blog using Micropub

This would be a great way to leverage their existing infrastructure and to allow people to put their own Tweetstorms onto their blog and solve the perennial “Why didn’t you just blog about this” commentary. 

Replied to a thread by Carter Rabasa and Boris Mann (Twitter)

Another great option is Kevin MarksNoterLive which lets you Tweetstorm away and cut/paste (PESOS) the stream to your website (with appropriate mark up when done). Other ideas at: https://indieweb.org/tweetstorm

Read Zocurelia - Inspiring Learners to Read and Discuss by Axel DürkopAxel Dürkop (axel-duerkop.de)
With Zocurelia you can increase the fun of reading online literature together. The browser tool shows the activity of a reading community directly in the context of the texts being read and discussed. This way learners can be motivated to participate and join the discussion - hopefully hypothetically. In this article I will explain my motivation, ideas and decisions that led to the development of Zocurelia.

For those interested in online reading groups, journal clubs, OER, open education, marginal syllabus, etc., Axel Dürkop has created quite a lovely little tool that mixes Zotero with Hypothes.is.

Using his online version (though the code is open source and it looks like I could pretty quickly host my own), it only took me a few minutes to mock up a collaborative space using an Econ Extra Credit group I’d tried to encourage. This could be quite cool, particularly if they continued the series past the first recommended textbook.

I could easily see folks like Remi Kalir using this as part of their marginal syllabus project and allowing students to recommend texts/articles for class and aggregating discussions around them.

First of all, I wanted to learn more about how to inspire learners to read. And this means for me as an educator to create a technical and social environment that is welcoming and easy to participate in.

Annotated on March 03, 2020 at 08:01PM

I want to have ways to show learners that I chose the texts for them, as I’m convinced that empathy is motivating.

I quite like this idea as a means of pedagogy.
Annotated on March 03, 2020 at 08:03PM