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Thinking about citations as links

I quite like a recent entry from Martin Fenner of the PLoS Blog Gobbledygook positing that citations and links are petty similar creatures:

If we think about it, citations are nothing more than specialized links that contain additional information and formatting.

I agree. He then points out that properly handling citations is difficult and suggests WordPress as an authoring platform for scientific papers. He writes later in his post:

And I want to be able to cite specific parts of an article. Dave Winer has introduced paragraph-level permalinks to blogs, and I can do this on WordPress using the WinerLinks Plugin.

The New York Times also recently started offering paragraph-level permalinks - and such schemes seem like the right way to handle context.

Without respect to any particular platform (i.e., WordPress compared any other management system), Fenner's point is a good one: it's high time to start thinking of citations as links - and vice-versa. If you write - whether for an academic journal, blog, or otherwise - his entry is worth reading.

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