Template talk:Cite journal/Archive 2009 May

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ISSNs are useful, independent of DOIs[edit]

Why does the template documentation advise to "only include [an ISSN] if a DOI is unavailable?"

To quote the documentation more: "Although it may appear redundant to include multiple ids for articles, it is helpful for many editors who only have access to a certain resource."

Some interlibrary loan services do not accept a DOI as a standard entry; if a DOI does not resolve to a full text article for which a user has a subscription, ISSNs can be very useful. Furthermore, if users are using tools that process COinS and/or that autolink ISSNs (such as LibX), ISSNs can help check whether a library may have a copy of a journal and/or can be useful for other OpenURL resolver tasks.

I personally don't find the presence of an ISSN to be uncosmetic, but that is the only possible reason to not include them that I can think of. If there was consensus that they are uncosmetic, I'd think that we'd want to enforce excluding them by using better template logic. Anyone have a strong opinion that they should be omitted, though? --Karnesky (talk) 04:27, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

ISSNs are worthless in a citation. ISSNs identify the series, not issue. Examples: ISSN 0028-792X, ISSN 0028-0836, ISSN 0951-9467. Yes, its possible (and indeed sensible) to not display cruft. -- Fullstop (talk) 15:18, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
That is like saying an author or journal name is worthless. Of course ISSNs, used alone, don't provide a way to locate an article. They do provide a way to more easily locate a journal, though & this is why they are used: many journals have similar or even the same names, are overly long, or are in a foreign language. An ISSN is a unique identifier for the source publication & is useful because of that. --Karnesky (talk) 15:38, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
If push comes to shove, I think DOI is the more useful in general, as it give a "directory entry" to the online article. A few journals publish content freely online without DOIs, e.g. PNAS and the Oxford Journals series (e.g. Integrative and Comparative Biology), and for these a URL is the most useful. If there's an ISSN (print or online? some quote both) readers can get it via DOI or URL. --Philcha (talk) 15:39, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree that both DOIs and URLs are great & would not want either removed. But there's no reason to have only a DOI or an ISSN. If the latter still serves a purpose for non-open-access articles, why remove it? --Karnesky (talk) 15:44, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
As an academic, I think I just about understand when an ISSN might be useful; perhaps this documentation does indeed need changing. Perhaps if you could provide a concrete 'case study' of when an ISSN might help other editors here to assess their utility. There may be a case for including the ISSN in the COinS metadata, but not rendering the output in visible HTML; Citation bot ought to be able to add ISSNs to all citations pretty easily. Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 16:22, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I would mostly use them if they were in COinS, as the OpenURL resolvers I use benefit from them. I personally find the utility of the printed ISSNs to outweigh the ugliness. --Karnesky (talk) 17:03, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps an example would help illustrate my point? I do not have a subscription to: doi:10.1080/10245330600574300. The journal name for this is merely Hematology. My library is not sorted by DOI & my ILL request form has no DOI field. How am I to know whether to look in and/or how is my librarian going to know to borrow a volume from either ISSN 1024-5332 or ISSN 1520-4391 (e.g. two identically named, but distinct journals)? --Karnesky (talk) 16:21, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

To play devil's advocate, following the DOI link takes you to a page detailing the journal; one click from there and I found the information "ISSN: 1607-8454 (electronic) 1024-5332 (paper)". The fact that the ISSN is not present on the DOI landing page suggests that even publishers don't think that the ISSN is useful information. And when completing the ILL [inter-library loan] form, do you not have to enter the volume and year? This should allow the ILL service to discriminate between two journals of the same title in almost all cases. Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 16:26, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
If we were trying to generate minimalistic citations, I may agree with you. A similar case could be made to remove issue numbers for those publications where new issues don't restart the page count within a volume. But we're not making minimalist citations: we're making useful citations. This is why the documentation encourages the use of multiple identifiers and why some citations include both a DOI and a PMID. You could certainly get by with having a single identifier if you are willing for someone to do legwork. You could probably search for a particular doi and the word 'pmid' to find the pmid of an article, for example. But why make readers and/or their librarians do that legwork? We don't make them work to get article-specific identifiers (even if they are, arguably, used less (e.g. used in fewer fields of study & in fewer library databases)). And we don't do it with the "human readable"/"non-unique" identifiers (publication, volume, issue, pages). --Karnesky (talk) 17:03, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Why make editors do all that legwork? How many understand ISSN anyway? I don't - and if I see a page with 2 ISSNs, one online and on for print, I don't know what to do. PMID appears to be unique, but it's never given me an easy link to an article, so it's been no use to me. DOI almost always takes me to at least the abstract, so I can see whether an article is relevant, when it was written and by whom, etc. --Philcha (talk) 17:17, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I wouldn't want the documentation to read that both an ISSN and a DOI were "required." At minimum, I'd want the documentation to just allow both to be present (and for bots to not remove ISSNs that editors chose to include). I don't know whether the documentation should actively encourage editors to include this additional info or not and would be fine either way. If we wanted ISSNs for every article, Martin has already acknowledged that his bot could probably add them to articles. What additional work would there be for editors? --Karnesky (talk) 17:25, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
It would be worth establishing consensus here whether or not the bot should add ISSNs to every article. I agree that editors should not be forced to add the data manually, but if ISSNs are genuinely useful, then they should be made available wherever possible. I think that you have demonstrated that in some cases, ISSNs can be helpful. The only substantiated objection I've seen hinted at is clutter, and you make a compelling case against that objection. So I'm inclined to come down on the side of reinstating ISSNs. This decision would also affect Template:Citation - perhaps it should be advertised on that talk page? Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 17:51, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I've put a note on that talk page. I'd personally love for your bot to add ISSNs, but agree that much more comment would be needed on that topic. When we make changes to a majority of citations, aesthetics do become more important. Let's see how ugly/confusing people find them. If there is consensus against having them everywhere, perhaps your bot could at least add them to citations where the publication name matched an entry in a list of non-unique journal names? But I do hope that people agree with LeadSongDog's point, below. --Karnesky (talk) 18:19, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
(ec)Most libraries don't catalogue down to the article (the DOI), at best they will identify which issues they hold. The ISSN (or the nearly equivalent OCLC) are particularly useful for determining how many libraries subscribe and where they are. Given that electronic access via the DOI tends to be prohibitively expensive for many editors and that it introduces recentist bias, I'd say there are actually some grounds for preferring the ISSN to the DOI. Definitely not the reverse. Given WP:NOTPAPER, what's the dilema? To address Karnesky's 16:20 question, if you are ordering by ISSN or by OCLC you will additionally identify the volume and issue (or the issue date) and page. A decent librarian won't be thrown off by a change of publisher. LeadSongDog come howl 18:07, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

I find ISSN's mostly useless, and DOI's very useful, but I can see that reasonable people would disagree. Regardless, the usefulness of ISSNs, URLs, and DOIs is not so much as text to display to the viewer, but as something to be followed if one wants to track down the reference. That is why I was disappointed by changes in the citation template to always display DOIs visibly rather than to use them as a link on the title of a paper when one wants to track down the paper. Similarly, I would think it would be useful to have the ISSN as a parameter to the citation (and cite journal) template, and to use it to link to the name of a journal. If we have an actual Wikipedia article about the journal, that should be used instead, and the ISSN omitted. E.g.,

where I faked the ISSN to journal-link conversion by using | journal = [http://worldcat.org/issn/0003-0279 Journal of the American Oriental Society] in the {{citation}} template. I would be much happier to have the ISSN live but non-displayed like this, than to encourage them to be used and displayed. I would be even happier if this were changed to look like

David Eppstein (talk) 21:12, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

I like the idea, but think that obfuscating the in this way would reduce its immediacy and utility - people may not realise that the ISSN is present. Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 21:28, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Also in most WP articles a link on the journal leads to another WP article, e.g. Nature, The Economist. --Philcha (talk) 05:37, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
That was actually part of my point. If we have a link to another WP article about the journal, then we don't need the ISSN in the citation (except for print users, I guess) because the linked article should have it, so I was thinking of the ISSN link as a substitute for when we don't have an article on the journal. Just like I would like to use DOI as a substitute for links on the title. —David Eppstein (talk) 05:47, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
One reason for displaying DOI visibly is that for quite a lot of papers the DOI leads to a subscription-only copy, but there are often freely accessiblie copies around, e.g the author's own. In these cases I specify URL, which makes the title link to the free copy, and DOI as a back-up in case the free one goes off-line / is moved (although then I'd try my luck with Internet Archive). --Philcha (talk) 23:48, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
That assumes the linked WP article has the ISSN (Nature, The Economist and Integrative and Comparative Biology do, even though the latter is a stub) and that readers who are not editors think of looking for it there. --Philcha (talk) 07:09, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Gee, that suggests a new task for a bot: go through all the articles on journals and check that they have ISSN and OCLC parameters that agree with Worldcat. At least every instance of [1] should be easy to follow.LeadSongDog come howl 15:26, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
I'll do that too, as long as I'm reasonably sure that the free copy is from the author rather than being a copyvio. I'm only talking about linking the title to the DOI when there is no URL specified. The templates used to have logic for that, but it was taken out at some point. —David Eppstein (talk) 00:01, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Just to weigh in, I'd like to say I would like to see the ISSN displayed. Wikipedia gets printed and downloaded and burned to CD and otherwise used where the internet is not accessible but libraries are. In a library, the DOI is not much use, whereas the ISSN is useful. The presence of an ISSN also gives some indication that the journal is probably part of the academic peer review system; the DOI gives no such indication. The ISSN is more established than the DOI. The ISSN is easier to copy down by hand. I don't want to pay for the sites the DOI leads to.--Yannick (talk) 02:40, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

  • An ISSN gives no indication of peer-review. Virtually every rag has an ISSN.
  • Comparing a DOI to an ISSN is like comparing apples to oranges. A DOI is an identifier of an article, while an ISSN is an identifier of a series (serial publication: tabloid, newspaper, magazine, comic-book, blog,[1496-287X] whatever). ISSN and DOIs are not comparable. They have distinctly different purposes.
  • The earlier argument that an ISSN is as irrelevant as an author or title is -- as usual -- utterly oblivious to the purpose of a citation. For what must be the zillionth time,... the purpose of a citation is to efficiently identify the cited source. Anything that does not contribute to that end is not necessary, and indeed counterproductive. An ISSN is one such thing.
  • The hypothetical arguments about "libraries" and "interlibrary loan" suggest that the claimants have never used such a facility. Amazing but true, academics use libraries too, and if academics have not found a need for an ISSN field in a citation, then there isn't one. And, ILL won't often get anyone a copy of an issue, leave alone a whole series. What ILL will get is a copy of the desired article(s), and which will typically have to paid for.
  • An ISSN could however be useful to a bot, for example to expand abbreviated names to their canonical forms. That would in turn be useful to a human.
But this is all hypothetical of course. Its merely there to match the equally hypothetical notions expressed by people who haven't needed ISSNs so far, and don't actually need one now either, but would like to imagine that there must be some use for it on WP.
Wow. Not just feature creep, but feature creep for hypothetically "useful" features. This isn't about "minimalistic" versus "maximalistic". Its an argument for "because there is such a thing".
For heaven's sake stop treating citations as content! They are not fridge magnets for sticking your shopping list under. -- Fullstop (talk) 23:13, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for your impassioned response. As I note above, the value of an ISSN has not been hypothetical to me & presumably not to others. If there was zero real value in ISSNs, there'd be no catalog of them and publications wouldn't bother to obtain one. More to the point, extensions like LibX and muliple bookmarklets wouldn't be written to use them when they are found and we wouldn't have an ISSN template on Wikipedia. I routinely (multiple times a month) use ISSNs to locate copies of a serial. My libraries have occasionally used ISSNs to locate an article from non-electronic serials & do ask for them for ILL requests. Just because you have not personally used ISSNs does not mean that other academics do not! --Karnesky (talk) 18:35, 19 April 2009 (UTC)


Reasons for displaying the ISSN[edit]

  1. Some readers find them useful (even if they are a minority)
  2. They are most useful if they are prominently displayed
  3. Bots may find them useful (as Citation bot's operator, I would suggest that they have very limited value to bots)

Reasons against displaying them[edit]

  1. They're not essential
  2. Some people don't find them useful
  3. They add to clutter
  4. Printed journals don't display them


I think there's a relatively compelling argument given above that there is already lots of clutter in citations, and WP is not pressed for space like printed journals. This addresses anti-reasons 3 and 4.

Therefore the decision on whether to include them comes down to a decision of whether we should not include content that some readers find useful, just because not all editors find it useful. Nobody has yet provided an example of how the presence of ISSNs harms any editors or readers.


My opinion would be that adding ISSNs will benefit some users of WP, at no cost (except my changing the 'remove ISSN' function in Citation bot to 'add ISSN'). Even if the benefit is small, it would seem odd if we were not to implement it. Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 00:09, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

The first pro-reason says "some may find it useful", but doesn't say "useful" for what. The second pro-reason say "useful to display", which is not a reason. If there were any benefit whatsoever (not just small), then it would be fine to have. Indeed, we already have it as an option. But there isn't any reason to add it to every other citation. Like I said before, virtually every periodical has an ISSN. Presumably every periodical also has a phone number, and no doubt someone will also find that "useful" too, but it wouldn't contribute to a citation either.
Seriously, we've had citations for years, and no one found any use for it during that time. No one has found any use for it now either. The brouhaha (merely because someone stubbed his nose on documentation!) is pretty over-the-top. Wtf? Is there not enough drama on Wikipedia already? We don't need solutions for non-problems. -- Fullstop (talk) 10:17, 19 April 2009 (UTC) ps: is citation bot really removing data? It shouldn't ever remove anything.
The documentation reflects consensus, and as such directs the activity of bots. That's why it matter what it says. The use detailed above is in locating the journal; as citations are intended to identify and locate the printed article, I'd suggest that this falls within the remit of a citation. [NB pro-point 2 above should probably be labelled as '1b.'] Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 14:00, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
If you are against the citation bot removing ISSNs, what would the ideal solution be for you? If the bot stopped doing this & the documentation was changed to not discourage ISSNs, then the purpose of my original post would be met. Would you be happy with this? Or are you advocating for removing the ISSN field from the template, etc.? --Karnesky (talk) 18:35, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
WRT the doc,... I think I understand the rationale behind the sentence (i.e. that -- sans DOI -- an ISSN could still serve as some sort of substitute, but superfluous once a DOI is present), but ISSNs and DOI have different purposes.
WRT the bot,... No, I'm not advocating a removal of ISSNs. I wasn't even aware that a bot had taken it upon itself to remove them. A bot shouldn't ever remove anything that an editor has added, or in any other way try to second-guess an editor. Adding data (e.g. DOIs) is ok, but (re)moving data is not. -- Fullstop (talk) 08:43, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I guess I was mistaken about the ISSN's link to academic journals. That's the only place I've seen them used. It's true that I am not an academic, but I do not believe that this discussione is limited to academics. It should be open to users of citations, which includes me. And maybe the reason why I've found ISSN's useful is precisely because I am not fortunate enough to have easy access to an academic library. When I request an inter-library loan from my local public library for, say, an article from the "American Journal of Physics," there a good chance that they'll think the "Journal of Physical Studies" is a close enough match. The ISSN helps clear up the confusion.--Yannick (talk) 18:01, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
I have used ISSN for requesting inter-library loans and for searching in library catalogues. In contrast, I've never used a DOI; a URL to the publisher would work just as well. -- Jitse Niesen (talk) 14:55, 21 April 2009 (UTC)


Should there be an editor field? If this template is used for "academic" references, then there should be credit given to the editor of the academic journal. - ¢Spender1983 (talk) 14:05, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Credit isn't given to journal editors in citations. Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 15:53, 1 May 2009 (UTC)


Can someone enter a real URL and then the corresponding doi that would entered for citation. I have viewed same citations but cannot determine how the fileds were obtained from the url. In fact, 2 examples would be great.--Ccson (talk) 15:32, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

You can't usually determine the doi directly from the publisher's url. Instead, you need to find where the DOI is stated on the publisher's page somewhere, or look it up via crossref.org. If you have a doi (say, 10.0000/XXX), you can make a url from it by using dx.doi.org: http://dx.doi.org/10.0000/XXX. —David Eppstein (talk) 15:40, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
Is there an example of a doi being stated on a publisher's page?--Ccson (talk) 05:18, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Sure. See an article in Science; the page says: "DOI: 10.1126/science.314.5807.1848", so the DOI is "10.1126/science.313.5807.1848". Or another article; the page says: "doi: 10.1088/1751-8113/42/19/192001". However, the DOI is not always stated on the page. -- Jitse Niesen (talk) 11:43, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Just what is DOI? —MiguelMunoz (talk) 18:07, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
See DOI. —David Eppstein (talk) 18:31, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Access date[edit]

I am seeing various forms of the full date in different articles. Should the date be 2008-04-21 or 21 April, 2009, or some other format. Also, should the date be wikilinked. Can the standards (if any) be placed on the page which provides the syntax for all fields.--Ccson (talk) 13:52, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Use the same format as the body of the article, which should not be 2008-04-21. Newly introduced accessdates should not be wikilinked (since such a date would never be relevant to the content of thearticle), but dates that are already wikilinked should not be unlinked due to this injunction, or you will be banned. Do not believe the comforting words about "mass linking or delinking of dates"; users have been banned for delinking rather small numbers of dates. --Jc3s5h (talk) 14:07, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
thanks--Ccson (talk) 14:22, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
The date should not be linked in general and the injunction is about automated delinking. Removing the links from an article here and there is fine. I always thought 2008-04-21 was fine for these templates though. Has it changed, or am I mistaken? --Apoc2400 (talk) 18:34, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
See Wikipedia talk:Citation templates#Date formatting for a way to format without linking. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 21:10, 4 May 2009 (UTC)