Web Tips for Webzine Editors and Writers #4: Bibliography and Table of Contents

In web communication, it is important to recognize that internet surfers want quick and easy access to web content. For individuals in the literary field, that means the work they provide. Effective websites clearly indicate where to find that material.

Fortunately, there are two easy and effective methods for writers and publishers to provide this information: a bibliography or a table of contents.

Bibliography

In my opinion as a reader and as an editor, providing access to a writer’s bibliography should be the primary goal of a writer’s website. When I search for a writer’s page, I’m usually trying to find that writer’s contact information, or I’m trying to find samples of their work.

A bibliography doesn’t have to be the front page, but should certainly be easily found from there.

A discouraging fact that I often encounter is that many new authors, and even some established ones, do not have websites. In the current state of increasingly webcentric media, a writer’s website could be more influential than his cover letter, which should include a link to that website.

Within the group of writers that do have a web presence, a shockingly large percent of these individuals do not provide an easy manner of finding their work. I often attribute this fact to the use of blog engines to run these sites. Although the most popular blog engines include methods to create fixed pages, not many people use this feature.

What to include in a bibliography

Simply enough, a bibliography is a list of work. Each entry should provide the name of the work and where it was published. I personally suggest that at least the year of publication is also noted.
If a piece is under contract but not yet published, it is perfectly acceptable to include it, while indicating that it is
forthcomingBecause it is author specific, each entry does not need the writer’s name but should indicate if there was a coauthor for that work.

If the work is available online the entry should link to the website where it can be read or purchased. Although linking to the work obviously provides access to it, there are more reasons to do this. Many websites use applications such as Google Analytics to track site traffic, a process which I’ll be discussing in a later post. Search engines also use this data to determine the interconnectedness of websites. For instance, every time a link to portiris.com from a writer’s website is clicked, or vice versa, both pages become more likely to appear in a Google search.

Table of Contents

Similarly, websites for magazines and anthologies should refer to their contents in an easily accessible fashion. Even print only magazines will often provide their their table of contents on the publisher website. For online magazines, this fact seems like it should be obvious enough. However, I often come across many magazines that have no table of contents. Once again, the increasingly popular use of blog engines are largely responsible for this fact.

Similar rules to bibliographies apply for a table of contents. Each entry should include its title, author(s), and a link to it’s online location whenever possible.


If there is enough interest, I will even post a tutorial on how to create a TOC or a bibliography using HTML or WordPress. If interested, leave a comment and let me know.

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