Eran's blog

citeRel is the new citeVia

I started thinking about citeVia again after a conversation with Ashton the other day about tracking a conversation over many blogs (what some call ‘distributed conversation’). With citeVia, Ryan and I tried to expose the relation between two blog posts. We limited ourselves to just one type of relation but there are others: comments, replies and revisions are all possible types of related documents. We discussed this last night and we now want to expand citeVia.

Ideally we would use the rel attribute to signify the type of relation between the two documents but it seems that cite has no rel attribute under XHTML 1.0 (it does under 2.0). To stick to the rel idea we suggest renaming the microformat to citeRel and using the following class names:

A via (or hat-tip) link.
In reply to the linked document. Can be used for comments on the same blog or with a new post even on different blogs.
An update or revision of the linked document.

Use of citeRel
Under XHTML 1.0 use:
<cite class=�CLASS_NAME�><a href=�SOURCE_URI�>source</a></cite>

Under XHTML 2.0 we might be able to use a simpler structure (and drop the rel prefix from the class names):
<cite rel=�CLASS_NAME� cite=�SOURCE_URI�>source</cite>
Hopefully, this will be rendered in a similar manner to the previous example (with emphasis and a link).


  1. Via: <cite class=�relVia�>
    <a href=�http://example.com/blog/post=17�&gt; Mr. Example </a>
  2. In reply to <cite class=�relReplyTo�>
    <a href=�http://Example.com/your-blog-annoys-me/�&gt;
    this post</a>
    by <a href=�http://theRyanKing.com/�&gt; Ryan King </a>.
  3. This is an update to my
    <cite class=�relUpdate�><a href=�http://Example.com/blog/?post=17�>previous post</a></cite>
    on this topic where I claimed that:
    Cows can fly.
    Well, I now have proof!

We’re looking for more feedback on this issue so please, let us know what you think.


Filed under: MicroFormats

7 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. […]
    Eran has done some work to revive the stagnated conversation about citeVia. He says citeRel is the new citeVia: … With citeVia, Ryan and I tried to expose the relation between two blog p […]

  2. Peter J. says:

    All of the examples you provide have the pattern CITE A … /A /CITE; since you’re really talking about link types and A takes the REL attribute, why not just use it instead of adding the extra element? (According to Joe Clark, as I noted[1] discussing my pseudo-private cite-class microformat, CITE is basically for titles and terms, although the HTML 4.01 spec seems to have relaxed/redefined that somewhat.) The classes then become link types and don’t need the “rel” prefix, so they’re simply “Via”, “ReplyTo” and “Update”.

    Regarding XHTML 2.0, it seems it’s going to basically deprecate A and add the hypertext bits to CITE (and everything else) anyway, which is another reason to drop the redundant “rel” prefix.

    [1] http://peterjanes.ca/blog/archives/2005/06/21/microformat-microupdate

  3. Peter J. says:

    One other thing just came to mind: as link types, the relationships should probably be suitable for both REL and REV. The relationships defined by “replyto” and “update” are pretty clear when used in both contexts, but “via” might not be. REV=replyto says “this document is a reply to the linked document” and REL=replyto says “the linked document is a reply to this one”. REV=update says “this document is an update of the linked one” and REL=update says “the linked document is an update of this one”.

    As named, “via” is really only suitable for REL (“the linked document is the source for this one”). “Cite” might be more appropriate (“this document is cited by the linked one”, “the linked document is cited by this one”), and it has the advantage of being in the XHTML 2.0 spec already.

  4. limbo says:

    Hey Peter,

    I’ve been somewhat out of touch over the weekend. Thanks for your comments, they’re gonna make for great discussion at today’s microformats monday mini-meetup 🙂 expect a more thought out reply very soon.

  5. […] mments

    While I was away in the desert, Peter Janes dropped by and left a couple of comments: All of the examples you provide have the pattern CITE A … /A /CITE; since youâ […]

  6. […] ent of Zeitgeist

    citeRel at microformats.org

    CiteRel has finally found it’s way to the microformats.org wiki (thanks Ryan). We’re still at the br […]

  7. […] tors (like technorati or memeorandum) over multiple blogs. Using a simple microformat like cite-rel to solve the problem has the advantage of a very low cost of entry. Any user can employ […]

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