ContextObjects in Spans, commonly abbreviated COinS, is a method of embedding latent OpenURL ContextObjects in web pages. This allows client software to retrieve bibliographic metadata and to use an OpenURL resolver to find a mediated link. A principal advantage of using COinS, rather than giving a static OpenURL, is that the client can determine which resolver to use. This allows, for instance, searching for a copy of a book in one's own library.
COinS have been added to various parts of the Wikipedia. They are basically just a chunk of bibliographic information stored in a way that machines can read. This has two applications:
- The information can be converted into a full OpenURL and resolved by your local OpenURL resolver. For instance, if you have LibX, OpenURL referrer, or a similar extension or bookmarklet installed in Firefox, a link will appear after many of the books and journal articles in a Wikipedia article's References section. If you have the extension configured correctly, you can click the link after a book to go directly to your school library's site and find out if they have a copy. If you click the link after a journal article and your library has access, you can go directly to a copy of the article.
- The information can be stored by bibliographic tools like Zotero. You can use this tool to download the bibliographic information from an article into your personal library, for future research and retrieval.
So far COinS have been added to:
- Wikipedia:Book sources — just contains the ISBN
- MediaWiki:Cite text — generated when you click Cite this article; contains information for citing Wikipedia itself in other documents
- Some citation templates and infoboxes - see: Category:Templates generating COinS
For use on templates generating COinS:
It adds pages to the above category.
Templates needing COinS
COinS could, and should, be added to these templates:
- The planned citation microformat