School Citing

So, I never went to college, for a couple reasons. But recently, my employer revised their program to help people pursue bachelor's degrees, and I currently qualify… So, I applied, and I start classes on 2022-01-17.

However, it's been many years[1] since I have been in school, and so I needed to get a few things out of the way. The one I've just figured out was citations, so that's what I wanted to write about here.[2]

Ref and Cite

(define (endnote num)
  `(sup (a
          (href ,(string-append "#en" (number->string num)))
          (id ,(string-append "r" (number->string num))))
         ,(string-append "[" (number->string num) "]"))))

A quick search reveals there are two common ways to do citation in Org Mode: The older one is org-ref, and the newer one is org-cite. Both are mostly based on, and compatible with, an older piece of software called BibTeX, which remains the standard text-based citation format to this day (despite a few attempts to unseat it). That's good, because I'm familiar with the syntax[3] and would prefer to use something that has stood the test of time versus something brand new.

Looking at the summaries of both of them, I decided to go with org-cite for two reasons. The first of which is that it is included with Org Mode. This means no extra dependencies, no packages to update, and only a few lines of configuration to get it off of the ground. As someone whose init.el is nearly 2000 lines long, I value the batteries-included nature, here.

The second reason largely grows from a desire to not work with citations much in my own work (at least for now). Basically, I want to spend as little time as possible working through formatting bibliographies and citations, because I will only be using them when I need to. And while org-ref might have more features built in, it really did only take me about 10 minutes to learn to use and set up org-cite today.

And for now, that is what's important to me.

[1]: I haven't attended a class since mid 2012, but I haven't taken a class seriously since at least 2010. This is partially why I am so fervently against forcing kids to go to school; I wish I hadn't wasted 3 years ruining my GPA back then.

[2]: I also figured out the common idiom for using foot/end notes in HTML5, so I'll be doing that here, too, from now on!

[3]: I've used LaTeX extensively in the past, when I was self-employed. I'm fairly familiar with the *TeX style of syntax, and honestly the fact that BibTEX isn't some kind of JSON/XML hybrid (and therefore it keeps things simpler) is a good thing to me.