rel=”source” – Making the source relationship in journalism explicit

The discussion on the reuse of content,  quoting ,  use of sources etc. is getting more attraction and attention from day to day. Following and being involved in that discussion quite heavily (disclosure, i was very much involved in dpa’s selection of Attributor) as well as the discussion on URL shorteners being evil a simple but very powerful idea sprung into my mind.

I’m very much interested to get feedback on this idea.

The idea is the following:

Use the rel=”source” attribute of the <link> and <a> tags to explicitly link to the sources you used writing an article.

It can be used in the link tags of a article detail page, similar to the alternate, bookmark, canonical, next, prev etc. links it wolud serve as the machine readable equivalent of the “with AP/Reuters/whatever” attribution that is normally used in texts to indicate that a writer  used material from other sources like newswire  or press releases.

It also can be used within the a tags to explicitly indicate that this link was a source to an article and is not only a generic link to a company homepage etc.

Furthermore it can be used in stand-alone applications as a means to identify and describe metadata about the (presumed) identified relationships between articles (maybe the extended to rel=”source presumed” etc.

Another further possible extension could be an indicator that the source is quoted verbatim. But i think that this is not necessary. this can be easily identified by tools like diff and alike.

What do you think?

Appendix: Details and example of enhanced a tags (view source )

The announcement that the AP plans to launch an industry campaign (AP, PaidContent ) to protect its news generated a heated discussion. For those wo didn’t follow, here are some relevant links from my shared items (page, feed).

PaidContent:

Buzzmachine:

NYT Bits:

Journalism.co.uk:

Rem: As usual PaidContent is reporting and Jeff Jarvis is ranting but has very valid points. Saul Hansell shows much more opinion than usual.

Simultaneously there  was discussion about AllThingsD, the tech (blog) spin-off of the Wall Stree Journal, reusing blog content in their voices section:

Anil Dash very nicely contrasts the two discussions in

Funnily enough the start of the discussion about URL shortener being evil was one of the voices that was reused by AllThingsD:

And the post(s) that finally triggered the idea about rel=”source”

6 thoughts on “rel=”source” – Making the source relationship in journalism explicit

  1. Interesting idea. If you do decide to go ahead with it though, please do so in a standards compliant fashion. It doesn’t exist in the HTML or Atom specs yet so you’ll need to allocate a URI – if you need a hand with the technical side of it let me know.

    Sam

  2. @samjohnston Thanks for the comment and offer. I’ll definitely wan’t to pursue the idea and be standards compliant. Hence i started to read the HTML4 and 5 specs (again) as well as ATOM. I’ll definitely have to work on the distinction and similarities to the cite attribute of blockquote and q.

    Stay tuned. I’ll post updates on this blog (and twitter)

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