All about the footnotes

Footnotes are new to the LIS Publications Wiki and, as beautiful as they are and as helpful as the information is, they were a bit of a saga for me to figure out.

The journey all began when the decision was made to convert the original wiki site into WordPress. We had received feedback that having footnotes would make the site more useable for everyone. We readily agreed. This meant:

  • We needed to find an easy way to create footnotes.
  • We needed to add footnotes to every page on the wiki.

The list was short but daunting. Creating footnotes on a web page requires a little more forethought and planning than it does in a word processing document. I found myself scouring the web and teaching myself basic HTML coding to find something that worked, only to be dismayed at the amount of work each citation took and how little I liked the final result.

You must imagine the dance of joy I did in my living room the day I discovered there were plugins that took care of footnotes. The process went from writing long strings of code to simply putting all the citation information between two square brackets. I was elated.

This led to the next part of the process: creating footnotes for all the existing pages. I will not spend much time detailing the next few months. Let’s just say that it really does take a while to retroactively footnote several hundred pages of content. College students everywhere should take this lesson to heart and cite their research papers as they go along, rather than trying to do so after the fact.

But the result, when all was said and done, was phenomenal. Each page, full of thoughtful annotations, brought a tear of joy to my eye. Both aesthetically pleasing and useful to readers, the footnotes were everything I dreamed they would be.

You may wonder, upon reading this, whether it was worth all the work involved just to add a few footnotes. But I think when you use the new and improved – and footnoted – pages, you’ll see how useful all that work was. Now, instead of just trusting our information, you have the tools right at your fingertips to do anything you want: verify our facts, find out more, or actually submit work to be published. Footnoting may have been a long project for me, but it was done with the goal in mind to empower you when you use the new and improved LIS Publications Wiki.

You’re welcome.

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