There’s interesting times ahead for anyone wanting to hook reference managers into WordPress blogging software.
First up there’s now a Google Group for developing scientific plugins for WordPress. In this case science means academic because a lot of the tools are basic research tools. If you’re interested in using WordPress as a scholarly tool this is the first place to hang out. The next should be Martin Fenner’s weblog Gobbledygook.
Martin Fenner’s been changing a lot of my ideas about citations. The biggest idea is that citations are links. They’re specialised links, but they are links. So you could handle them via WordPress’s links tools. That’s the thinking behind his BibTeX to links plugin. This adds a link to a citation, if the citation can be paired with a DOI or URL. Once you have a link in your system you need to get it back out again and this is done with his Link to Link plugin. This plugin adds a button to the text editor. Click on it and you can quickly search for the link/reference you’re looking for and add it to the blog post. I like this a lot, but it doesn’t compile a bibliography at the end of the post, which would be nice.
At the other end there’s Zotpress. It requires some functions on your server so installation could be either very smooth or impossible. Zotpress adds a (zotpress) shortcode (imagine those were square brackets) for adding a bibliography. It can pull up to 99 references from your Zotero account. There’s all sort of options so (zotpress collection_id=“ABCDEF”) will pull all the citations from a collection with that identifier. These aren’t intuitive, so you’ll need to open a new tab looking at zotpress in your dashboard to see them. The downside is you don’t insert citations inline like Link to Link. What you could do though is tag the citations you want to compile into a bibliography. If you tag them post20110217 then (zotpress tag_name=“post20110217”) would format the bibliography. I’m not sure if that helps writing that much. I prefer to write and cite, but it’s well worth keeping an eye on this plugin.
The one that does (almost) everything I want is kcite. kcite uses shortcodes too, so (cite source=‘doi’)10.1021/jf904082b(/cite) inserts a footnote to a bibliographic section and uses CrossRef to format the bibliographic data from the DOI. There’s a demo of it here. It’s a very neat write and cite system if everything has a DOI. If it doesn’t then you can use PMIDs from PubMed. Otherwise you’re stuck for now.
I think Jason Hoyt at Mendeley has also written a plugin for WordPress for inserting links to Mendeley entries for papers, but I haven’t seen that live yet. He has however written a plugin that searches for related papers based on the tags you use in posts, which is potentially a very powerful tool if people start tagging research papers in your field.
What makes this exciting is that these are all tools that are being developed right now. For example Martin Fenner’s Link to Link plugin has been updated to produce kcite friendly code, as well as CiTO. Another feature I like about Martin Fenner’s approach is that it’s manager-agnostic. At the moment I prefer Mendeley, but if Zotero Standalone works it’s possible I could move back to that. However, with BibTeX import into WordPress I could use Mendeley, Zotero, CiteULike or Bibsonomy and still have something I could use with WordPress to write.
The other thing is that these are all GPL tools, which means I can poke around the source code and distribute my own alterations. For example if I can get my head around how kcite works, there’s nothing to stop me writing additional code using WorldCat as a source for data from ISBNs. Browsing the kcite code, it looks do-able, though it’s now one o’clock in the morning here and I won’t be home from work till 8pm so not tonight.