Citation Style Language

how to specify kindle location?

Any suggestions for best practices on citing a Kindle ebook?

In CSL 1 what kind of locators would you use? line, paragraph, sub verb?

Problem with ebooks is the don’t have fixed pagination (because users can
change fonts and line spacing). In that sense, they’re similar to web pages.

but Kindle books do have fixed locators (the loc. thing shown in the
corner) and most style manuals require you to cite them.
I’m not sure if CSL should handle this and if so how (how many different
such standards are there/are there going to be).

I have always been a proponent of an empty locator, but I think that got
vetoed at some point?

We do probably need a new one then. Maybe someone (Joseph) can explore a
bit, to see if other ebook formats have this?

I don’t think one has to worry about the variety of ebook standards or formats so much. The locators really serve to accommodate the styles and signal shared expectations between those who store bibliographic data and CSL authors. That is, users and CSL authors both know that Kindle books are, for example, typed as books, with the appropriate edition = Kindle (or PDF, ePub, etc.), and using sub verbo — or whatever is best.

But as a little background…


Many bibliographic styles say if there are no page numbers, use chapter or section number, but often the reader of an ebook doesn’t have this either, and counting manually sucks, especially when you have a locator.


Amazon Kindles natively uses “locators,” which I read correspond to 128 byte chunks of the file. Amazon has made efforts to map these to page numbers in a print edition (starting with version K8 of their format), but plenty of ebook never see a print edition and not all author/publishers provide this info.

In EPUB, locators can be whatever the author wants and are implemented by way of an html5:a element (fragment identifier).

Best practice?

Since so few styles sheets support any locators beyond page (with a handful maybe supporting line, paragraph, chapter) I suppose I’d want to use page?