# Making Citations Accessible

Years ago I had to fight to preserve citation styles - especially fighting inline citation. Because I honestly believe Inline citation is ugly and throws off my reading experience.

Now, Citations in the style I used then were generated by Text<sup>Source p.##</sup> for
TextSource p.##

That could result in problematic rendering on screen readers. For example, some just strip supertext formatting and render it
TextSource p.##.

At times I fixed that by adding a space before the supertext. Better... but not nice sill: I was told other users have problems reading more than a few characters of supertext.

As a result, I have asked on Meta if the stack could offer us a method that makes formatting references easier.

In the meantime, I am working on manually formatting my citations using Supertext for just numerals and a list of sources in the end - which technically is where I had adapted my citation style from. The example would look like this:

Text 1

1. Source p.##

Are there problems with the new and improved citation style that botch accessibility?

After a test, using Wikipedia style [1] for the supertext can turn the source-number into a link, like seen with this: 1

(1) doesn't do this so might be the better adjustment if needed, unless a link is wanted

• Having a standard citation style is good enough that we should encourage it, but enough that it should be enforced. Fixing citation styles that are inaccessible however is a good idea. May 23, 2021 at 12:05
• Since we don't enforce a citation style, I am looking to make it accessible (possibly also closer to the actual style I want) May 23, 2021 at 12:09
• By “inline” to you mean “on the same baseline,” that is, as opposed to super- or sub- scripts? May 25, 2021 at 2:38
• @KRyan yes, Inline citation is (Smith, 2010). It's an Eyesore and either a long, long block that stops reading, or says nothing. May 25, 2021 at 9:12
• Is this a question or a rant? We have long established that there is no style guide for this Stack. May 25, 2021 at 21:35
• @KorvinStarmast it is a problem I am facing. I had been given a hard lecture in chat that my citation style would be inaccessible. May 25, 2021 at 21:38
• especially fighting inline citation. Because I honestly believe Inline citation is ugly and throws off my reading experience That's a matter of taste, and I've seen part of the extended conversation in chat. Think of your reader, not yourself. (Advice I got from a college professor ...) May 25, 2021 at 23:15
• FWIW I'll echo @KorvinStarmast. Anyone in any writing-heavy field -- heck, anyone who can read -- is bound to have a personal preference in citations. I'm certainly in a writing field, and I heavily prefer inline citations. Except insofar as it's an accessibility problem, it's all a matter of taste. May 26, 2021 at 1:50

Frankly, even if we had complete control of the page’s markup, we still probably couldn’t do a great job—the state of the art in this respect is fairly poor. HTML provides a <cite> tag which can be used to indicate that something is a citation, but doesn’t really provide anything to apply to the superscript number to say that it is an indicator that a given citation is relevant. But we would have that, and we could have links back and forth. So it would be better. But not great.