attributing sources

A few sites discussed the attribution of your sources when blogging and I wanted to share my two cents on the subject. The short answer: I concur. It’s like the bibliography teachers require on essays, where you reveal the source of your information. Matt refers to it as a hat tip or link thanks, but no matter what you call it, you’re simply giving credit where credit is due.

My rule of thumb is to always give credit when I get a link from a personal site, like a blog or homepage, and not give credit when I get a link from aggregators like or google news. I can’t say I have any good reasons for it, that’s just what I’ve done. If I link to the site in the blog entry I see no need to credit the site again at the end because I’ve already referenced the link.

On the digital web they claim they’re taking permalinks a step further. I thought they were going to discuss a new way of crediting but all they’re doing is linking to the permanent link of the source rather than the root of the site. In other words, if they find a link on a blog they will now use the blog entry’s permanent link instead of linking to the blog’s front page. That’s what I would have thought people would be doing all along because linking to the main page forces others to have to search the whole blog to find the link referenced in your post.

A new idea (at least to me) was suggested by the folks at vanderwal to name Permalinks the title of the entry instead of Permalink. That certainly makes sense, because as we’ve learned from Google bombing, the text you use when linking is what shows up in the search results. I haven’t changed my templates to start doing that yet, but I like the idea.

Update: I just realized that the entry titles are already permanent links in addition to having a permanent link. I don’t have to change my template after all.

(via matt via digital web)


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  1. I don’t often credit a source, but then I don’t often post stories found on personal blogs. Even when I do find it on a personal blog, it’s usually on a billion of them, so why pick one out in particular? I link directly to original content or interesting discussion on personal blogs, but if they’re just relaying some link, I don’t think it’s a big deal either way.

    I don’t consider most of my blog entries to be formal essays, and there’s absolutely no reason to throw a bibliography on informal writing. How much of what you read outside the web actually has some sort of bibliography or references? For me, not very much. People who religiously follow some ‘code of blogging ethics’ and get upset when everyone else doesn’t follow along are taking it way too seriously.

    Comment by Levi on September 30, 2004 @ 9:35 am

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