Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Click to Copy

With some uninterrupted days at home, I have been tinkering a bit with Citation Machine. I've been intrigued with the feature of many apps and browser extensions where you simply click a button and the desired text is automatically copied into your computer's clipboard, ready to be pasted where needed. URL shorteners have been especially benefitted by these features.

Figure 1

Figure 2

So I started researching the code that enables this, and found that what typically works with Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc. will not work with Internet Explorer (IE), and what works with IE is ignored by the other browsers. So I also had to research the code that enables Citation Machine to detect the type of browser that is being used, so that the proper code can be included for the click to copy function.

It seems to be working now and I have installed it on all of the MLA and APA formats.  There is some programming that I have not yet done for Turabian and Chicago that would be necessary to include C2C functions.  It works like this:

  1. You select your style (MLA) and the type of media you are citing (book).
  2. Enter the proper information, for the instance to the right, I'm entering the info for my latest book, "A Gardener's Approach to Learning."
  3. Click the [Submit] button to receive the return in figure 1.
  4. A yellow [Click to Copy] button appears in yellow. When you move the cursor over the button it turns to orange and then flashes red when you click it.
  5. You can then paste the contents of your clipboard into your word processor, text processor, blog editor, or what ever. What is left are the bibliographic citation (for bibliography or works cited section), instructions for what to italicize (since such formatting is not carried over in the clipboard, and the in-text parenthetical citation for inclusion in your actual paper or blog entry.

You have to continue to do some editing after you paste the citations, deleting out the titles and italicizing sections indicated by the instructions, but I suppose that you are in more of an edit mode of thought and action when you are in your editor or word processor than you are when using your web browser.

If you have comments or suggestions, place leave a comment on this blog entry.


Jamie said...

This is the best tool I have found for APA citations! I use it religiously. I think your update is a great thought but it is much more time consuming to use. Now instead of just copying the works cited piece and formatting it with the rest of my paper when I am complete I have to take the time to italicize and then delete the extra stuff I don't need. I'm working on a final now and it's taking me longer to complete with the new tool. Please, Please, Please put it back to the old way:)

mia said...

Thank you for the citation machine. I am having some new difficulties which I am not sure how to rectify. I cannot format once the reference is in my document. In the APA format I it of course needs to be 12 pt. Times New Roman and I can't make it happen. Please advise.


Dinabandhu said...
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David Warlick said...


I am not sure that I completely understand your question, but the sort of formatting that you describe is typically done with your word processor -- or other tool you are using to prepare your document.

David Warlick said...


I see your point, and obviously implied in the layout of the page that clicking to copy is the only way to use Citation Machine now. This is not the case. The click to copy feature is optional. I have laid out the page a little differently, to make the C2C less overbearing..

Hope that this helps...

mia said...

Hi David,

Thanks for getting back to me. I found the source of my formatting problems which I would like to report back to you. When I access Citation Machine on AOL and copy and paste into my document the formatting is messed up and cannot be corrected by word processing. For whatever reason it will not convert to 12 pt. Times New Roman. When I access through Internet Explorer the problem does not exist and everything turns out fine. Lesson learned :)

trithon said...
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Jamie said...


You are awesome! Thanks for responding! Much easier!!! Again, I love your tool!


I had the same problem at first but when you paste your reference (if you are using MS Word) you should see the little clipboard icon. Right click on it and choose 'Match Destination Formatting' and problem solved!

Thanks again!


Anonymous said...

Citing a government publication, even though I key in the agency name (Federal Trade Commission), it will not appear in the finished MLA citation! What am I doing wrong?