Computer: Format
Eligible Legible Citations   (+7, -1)  [vote for, against]
pdf files made more legible by having citations disappear

pdf files are a staple of modern scientific communication. This idea pertains especially to pdf files, as with other (editable) formats it is already possible to implement yourself, using some regexp in an editor of choice.

In many scientific papers, citations in the text are situated directly behind the word they belong to - this is well, because that way there is no ambiguity. But the text (Gutenberg 1456) is (Kant 1780) ripped (Jaws 1987) apart. Reading is hindered. Many journals already make the citations as clickable links - i propose an upgrade to this, the option to make them invisible until mouse-over. The text will stay in place, so no reformatting is going on, but the eye can spring from (visible) word to word, without leaving the sentence. Printing the text would give you the options to render it as very light grey, or normal text-color.
-- loonquawl, Apr 02 2009

[+] bun.

I like the idea, but I would prefer that the feature be toggleable (while reading, or perhaps when the document is opened; not merely while printing), so you can switch between visible citation mode and discrete citation mode. Yes, I realize that switching modes would result in reformatting, which could be a complication, but some people might prefer seeing citations inline, even though it distracts others (you and me).

Also, I think that instead of *completely* hiding the citation, a better option might be to turn citations into numeric superscripts, with the text of the citation moved to the bottom of the page (or perhaps to the margin). That way, if the document is printed in discrete citation mode, the cited authors [loonquawl '09] are still visibly credited.
-- goldbb, Apr 02 2009

Yes, [goldbb], but I think you mean "discreet" citation mode - unless I've misunderstood your point.
-- pertinax, Apr 04 2009

The biggest problem here is formatting. I suggest moving all of the citation space to the end of the line, making it invisible, then creating little tiny tabs that you can mouse over to see the citation. So we move from:

Human heads weigh 8 pounds (Snapple Cap, 2009). That's a lot!


Human heads weigh 8 pounds [+]. That's a lot!

And text from the next line is NOT brough up to fill in the gap created by shrinking the citation to a tab. Thus, when reading online, you may have some jagged justification, but it will be smoothly readable, and when printing, you just write the citation out. No changes in formatting needed, and no issues are encountered with journal length limits.
-- Smurfsahoy, Apr 04 2009

It ( Freud 1915) would look like this; after mouse over.

It ____________would look like this, normally. (just without the underlines, but the HB does not allow for multiple concurrent Spaces.)

I realize that this would not be as legible as with reformatting, but i wanted to hold on to the set-in-concrete pdf type look.
-- loonquawl, Apr 05 2009

random, halfbakery