Imagine you are a software developer for an online academic publisher. You have been asked to enhance the usability of an existing site:
When hovering over any given in-text citation, show a tooltip with the actual corresponding reference text.
An example of in-text citations and references:
Finding treatments for breast cancer is a major goal for scientists.1,2 Some classes of drugs show more promise than others. Gradishar evaluated taxanes as a class.3 Other scientists have investigated individual drugs within this class, including Andre and Zielinski 2 and Joensuu and Gligorov. 4 Mita et al's investigation of cabazitaxel 5 seems to indicate a new role for this class of drugs.
1. Cancer Research Funding. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/cancertopics/factsheet/NCI/research-funding. Publication date unavailable. Updated June 6, 2011. Accessed November 3, 2012.
2. Andre F, Zielinski CC. Optimal strategies for the treatment of metastatic triple-negative breast cancer with currently approved agents. Ann Oncol. 2012;23(Suppl 2):vi46-vi51.
3. Gradishar WJ. Taxanes for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Breast Cancer (Auckl.). 2012;6:159-171.
4. Joensuu H, Gligorov J. Adjuvant treatments for triple-negative breast cancers. Ann Oncol. 2012;Suppl 6:vi40-45.
5. Mita AC, Figlin R, Mita MM. Cabazitaxel: more than a new taxane for metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer? Clin Cancer Res. 2012;18(24):OF1-OF
Explanation of the problem
Online readers are well aware that
1 refers to [reference 1]
1,3,5 refers to [1, 3 and 5]
1-3 refers to [1, 2 and 3]
Unfortunately, there is no concrete relationship between the superscript in-text citation and its corresponding reference. The publisher has no desire to update thousands of online papers by hand either. The HTML code is as follows.
<p>1. Cancer Research Funding. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/cancertopics/factsheet/NCI/research-funding. Publication date unavailable. Updated June 6, 2011. Accessed November 3, 2012.</p>
We must create a concrete “one to one” relationship, between these two HTML elements. Once you have connected the two HTML elements with a set of rules, you may store this relationship to create a reliable way to show the correct tooltip.
Firstly we must ‘define the relationship’ in verbose terms/rules/exceptions:
- Any superscripted text inside the academic paper body is considered to be an ‘in-text citation’, if the text is of the form of:
- Digit comma digit …
- Digit hyphen digit …
- Much like a book, where the references come after the citations. The corresponding reference must be appear below the in-text citation on the page
- The citation must refer to an actual reference on the page
- The citation must find the closest reference within the same page, since multiple papers can exist on the same page