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Old 08-22-2010, 09:30 AM   #1
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Multiple references to the same footnote

Making Footnotes "HOT" in both directions (from reference to footnote and from footnote back to the reference) makes things simple for the reader, especially those who have no "BACK" selection.

Things get more complicated when a footnote is referenced from multiple points. A return must be provided for each reference.

How do you handle this little problem?

So far I have been ensuring that each reference is unique (e.g. [1A], [1B]. etc.) and providing a return for each in the footnote. However. this requires the reader to remember which reference he/she clicked.

Is there some method to highlight the desired return? Or is there a method that makes the footnote aware of what reference was used?

I'm looking for ideas and know that one of you gurus has a solution.

Charlie
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Old 08-22-2010, 09:55 AM   #2
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The only method I can suggest is to have a complete duplicate of the endnote (I assume we're talking about endnotes, not footnotes) for each reference to it. The size overhead of doing this will probably be minimal unless there is a large number of duplicates.
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Old 08-22-2010, 02:35 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
The only method I can suggest is to have a complete duplicate of the endnote (I assume we're talking about endnotes, not footnotes) for each reference to it. The size overhead of doing this will probably be minimal unless there is a large number of duplicates.
Harry,I think you have hit upon the answer. If the repeated ENDNOTE () appeared on the same page, it would still be confusing. However, if each endnote were in its own section, no confusion would exist until the end of the book where the reader would encounter the repeated endnote. Some overhead and effort but no confusion about the return.
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Old 08-22-2010, 02:56 PM   #4
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Why would it be confusing to have two endnotes with the identical information? Indeed, in a serious research paper we might have several such references.

(I think it would be much more confusing to have two citations lead to the same endnote!)
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Old 08-22-2010, 03:26 PM   #5
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How do you handle this little problem?
In my current project footnotes are referred to in the text only once, but some footnotes are referred to in other footnotes too. I've chosen to have a back link that says "Text" for all footnotes, and for those with references in other footnotes, I put additional back links with "Footnote 43" or whatever. So a footnote could look like this:

103: This footnote is very interesting.

Text, Footnote 43
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Old 08-22-2010, 04:07 PM   #6
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My concern was not letting the reader become confused as to from where in the text he entered the footnote with multiple references. if he/she returns to the wrong place in the text, he/she can always go back to the footnote and try a different return. This situation is common in some historical novels from PG.

It just seems inelegent.

Charlie
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Old 08-22-2010, 05:15 PM   #7
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In a physical book footnotes and endnotes can be referred to in multiple places in the text without problem as the reader will have a thumb jammed in the pages to be returned to.

Since e-books don't have this elegant bookmark system it might be best to abandon what works in the physical world and just duplicate the information in multiple endnotes each linking back to their own spot.

The other option is to not duplicate the endnote symbol in the text but assign unique identifiers and double those identifiers in the endnotes.

eg.

This is a test fedunster[1]. It is only a test fedunster[2]. If it was a real sprool[3] you would have been notified.

[1] [2] fedunster: a made up word that describes anything that looks like it might have a useful purpose but whose name is not known.

[3] sprool: a made up word that describes the sound a cassette tape shell makes unwinding as you hurl it down a hallway while holding onto a bit of the tape ribbon.

Last edited by shall1028; 08-22-2010 at 05:16 PM. Reason: I stuttered on the "a thumb"
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Old 08-23-2010, 12:19 AM   #8
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Short of a change to the way reading systems display footnotes, you should make individual notes for every unique footnote in the text body, even if that means duplicating the content. The bottleneck is the return link; if you don't want to force the reader to remember where he was in the text, you must offer her no choice and bring her back directly to her launch point.

Now, if you insist on using a single endnote for multiple locations, you might consider making the link back the phrase that they just read prior to clicking the link.

ie:

...when the cannon fired the final clown into the crowd, what the Germans call gelaughenhorrer [1] reached its peak...

..."Gelaughenhorrer [2] is one thing," she spat. "My goal is the belly laugh of ultimate fear!"...

...

Endnotes

[1] [2] Gelaughenhorrer: a feeling of vague amusement at the horrific demise of others.

<a href="#note1">what the Germans call gelaughenhorrer [1] reached its peak.</a>
<a href="#note2">"My goal is the belly laugh of ultimate fear!"</a>


This may cause spoilers, though.
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Old 08-23-2010, 05:33 AM   #9
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I find it unacceptable that ebook readers don't have a properly working "back" button, though. The Cybook has a back button, but it can get confused after a few links followed.
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