One of my bugbears is the widespread failure of website creators to construct their code (well, technically markup) properly. Back in 2005, Creative Review awarded me ‘Star Letter‘ for my critique of the pretty but entirely inaccessible websites that were being held up as the pinnacle of design. “The web is a medium in itself, not a metaphor for print.”
In particular, I am continually dismayed by sites that present long screeds of text without anchor links that allow linking to a specific part of the text. I wrote a WordPress plugin that adds these invisible bookmarks to the underlying markup.
That’s all very well for my site, but what about other sites? You cannot edit someone else’s content to add the links you want.
I’m delighted that someone has coded Cite Bite to hack the problem. Its a simple web app which allows you to link directly to any text you wish to quote, when the website you’re linking to does not offer ‘anchors’. The visual design of the resulting link is not particularly pretty, but it does its job, which is to encourage citation and oil the wheels of discourse.
The tool seems to have been around since 2006 so I’m surprised I’ve only just discovered it now. There also used to be a browser plug-in that allowed ‘one click’ citation but it no longer appears to be supported. Its surprising that there is not more demand for this tool, and that competitor sites doing the same thing have not emerged. Its a perfect opportunity to get people clicking on links you generate and possibly show them adverts as they do so.