Adding Bibliographic Metadata to Blog Posts

One thing that gets my goat is not being able to simply add blogposts into Zotero.  I read a lot of blogs, and reference them occasionally for library school projects.  I take a snapshot of the post, then go back (if I remember) and fill in all the metadata: author, often have to rejig the title and website title – and of course no time for abstracts or anything cool like that.

Wouldn’t it be good, I thought, to write a plugin for wordpress that would expose the appropriate metadata to ease my (and maybe other student’s) pain.  I’ve had a look at a couple of different ways to implement this, an none are very satisfactory.

Two active useful plugins exist, one for each of the approaches, and they both have drawbacks, both in implementation and in design.

Dublin Core

Dublin Core is a pretty straightforward metadata standard.  Its extensible (or ‘qualified’), adheres to some pretty rigorous standards and is generally very readable.  The downside is, so far implementations of it have it sit in the <head> of an HTML document, so you can only have one reference or set of metadata per page.

Have a look in the head of this post (as long as you are looking at the single post page) and you’ll see it there.  Nice and readable.  One post at a time.

The implementation I’ve found for it (Dublin Core For WordPress) is pretty neat with some really good thinking behind it, but I’d like to extend it a little, tidy up its out of date function references, rewrite its documentation.  Its been left for over a year.  Here’s the work I’ve done on it so far.


Install as for any wordpress plugin.

The things I like about it are

  • It ignores the default category for “dc.subjects”
  • It allows for adding extra licencing information
  • It creates a default fault tolerant dc.creator

However I’m not sure about how comfortable I feel with the Metadata it creates – there seems to be a lot of redundancy with the qualifications it makes.


Compared to Dublin Core, Context Object in Spans (COinS) feels kludgy.  Create a an empty <span> tag with a Z3988 class, and throw all the bilbliographical detail in a long URLencoded string in the title attribute.

<span class="Z3988" title="ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&amp;rft_val_fmt=info%3Aofi%2Ffmt%3Akev%3Amtx%3Adc&amp;;rft.type=&amp;rft.format=text&amp;rft.title=Hello+world%21&amp;rft.source=sandbox&amp;;;rft.language=English&amp;rft.aulast=Angelo&amp;rft.aufirst=Anton&amp;rft.subject=Uncategorized"></span>

 You can throw one of these babies anywhere in the body, so multiple references per page is possible, unlike the Dublin Core example.  Its not so easy to read with all the URLencoding going on, but that’s the price you pay for i18n I suppose.

The plugin I’ve foind for COinS – ScholarPress-coins which seems to come out of the same place as zotero – is under development (1.3 came out last night!).  It doesn’t have any admin functionality to add licence details, or documentation to explain what it does.

COinS itself seems to be a little moribund, the standard page on OCLC is full on dead links, and there is little discussion of it outside zotero circles.

What I’d like to see

A wordpress plugin exposing bibliographica data for blogposts that documents itself,  and allows for a limited amount of configuration for things like licencing details, and  perhaps even type on a post by post basis (blogpost, podcast…)




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *