Make your blog Zotero friendly with COinS

I’ve known for a while about a data standard known as COinS.

This is publishing OpenURL data in an HTML format, and allows you to insert bibliographic metadata into web-pages. COinS data is normally hidden from human viewers – it exists to make it easier for other programs to extract relevant biblographic information from a web-page. If you are a Zotero (the fantastic free and open-source bibliographic software) user, you’ve almost certainly used COinS even if you don’t know what it is.

When browsing a the contents page of an issue of an academic journal or the search results from Google Scholar, a simple click of a button in Firefox allows you to instantly add all (or a selection) of the articles listed. It can do this because the webpage includes the COinS metadata for each of the papers and articles listed.

For an age I’ve been wanting to create COinS data for the papers on my own publications list – as well as for any articles I blog about. There is a COinS plug-in for WordPress – but this creates the COinS tag for each post on the blog, it’s not for creating COinS tags relating to the content of a post. Alternatively, COinS Generator will create tags for you – but requires laborious and tedious manual data entry. I just knew there had to be an easier way.

And indeed there was… and I’m kicking myself for not seeing it before.

Simply select the references you want want meta-data for, choose “Create bibliography from selected items…” – and “Save as HTML“. This will save the reference(s) as a web-page with COinS metadata included. Cut and paste from this file into your web-pages as required. With just a little work you can also paste references (and metadata) directly into WordPress or any other web-page.

First you need to tell Zotero which pages you want to paste metadata to (by default Zotero doesn’t include the metadata when you copy references to the clipboard). Open Zotero settings, then Preferences…, Export. Add a “site-specific setting” with the ‘+’ button. Enter the domain name (e.g., choose an output format (e.g. APA, Harvard and so on), and check the Copy as HTML option.

Now, you can select references in Zotero, select your references, and simply drag into the text editor, like so (if you don’t have Zotero installed, view source to see the COinS metadata!):

Livingstone, D., & Fyfe, C. (2000). Modelling Language-Physiology Coevolution. In The Evolutionary Emergence of Language: Social Function and the Origins of Linguistic Form (pp. 199-215). Cambridge University Press.  

Livingstone, D., & Kemp, J. (2006). Massively multi-learner: recent advances in 3D social environments. Computing and Information Systems Journal, School of Computing, University of Paisley, 10(2).  

Livingstone, D., & Kemp, J. (2008a). Integrating Web-Based and 3D Learning Environments: Second Life Meets Moodle. Upgrade: The European Journal for the Informatics Professional, IX(3), 8-14.  

Livingstone, D., & Kemp, J. (2008b). Integrando entornos de aprendizaje basados en Web y 3D: Second Life y Moodle se encuentran. (F. Sanchez, Tran.)Novatica, (193), 7-12.  

Leave a Reply