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We've discussed adding link support for citations, so that someone could type, in a question or answer, some shorthand, and the server would expand it to a link to a specific page on mechon-mamre.org or e-daf.com or hebrewbooks.org or he.wikisource.org or wherever.

That discussion has not yielded any fruit. While it sounded great in theory, it sort of got bogged down in the details. For example, who would maintain a list of such sources, that the server could then check the list to see where to link to? and so on.

However, Isaac pointed out a site that maintains such a list already, though only for Tanach (and, l'havdil, the Christian bible). It is http://bibref.hebtools.com or http://bibref.joelnothman.com/bibref.php.

I propose therefore that SE copy bibref.joelnothman.com's (Jewish-oriented) lookup tables and script — the script is on the page linked to above, and the lookup tables are linked to therefrom (e.g.) — (or write its own script) to our own site and that the server turn markdown like [ref:rashi:Gen. 2.3] into a link of the form [Gen. 2.3](http://bibref.joelnothman.com/bibref.php?book=Gen.&verse=2.3&src=JPR) (try it). (Note that the script is marked "Free for distribution and derivation, but if you think it's that good, please cite the author!".)

Note that bibref.joelnothman.com's script is very loose, allowing 2.3 and 2:3 (and perhaps other things) and various spellings and abbreviations of the names of the books.

The benefit of this proposal over the old one is it's specific about what sources to link to (the Jewish ones listed on bibref.joelnothman.com, let's say specifically the ones to which that site assigns "src keys" TO ([ref:onk:gn 2.3]), HE ([ref:gen 2.3]), JPR ([ref:rashi:gen 2.3]), and ORT ([ref:kaplan:gen 2.3])) and that the lookup tables are pre-made.

  • Please suggest changes to this proposal, perhaps in answers. The more input, the better we can fine-tune the proposal. – msh210 Jul 8 '12 at 18:30
  • Christianity.SE would also welcome a similar feature. However, I will mention that in the early days of our site we had a couple of users take on the endeavor of creating userscripts to import BibleGateway references directly into posts: stackapps.com/questions/2992/… – wax eagle Feb 6 '13 at 2:53
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    The userscript linked to by @waxeagle (thanks!) is on the biblegateway.com site so not immediately adaptable to our purposes here; note also that the proposal in this question comes with already made, already licensed PHP. – msh210 Feb 6 '13 at 3:01
  • This would be amazingly useful. The script @wax eagle points to is neat, but since I don't use BibleGateway much I find I don't use the script either. Having a native mechanism accessible from Markdown would be wonderful. I'd like to have the option to insert the text itself as a blockquote, but the real pain of citing scripture is setting up the links; it's easy enough to copy and paste the text if need be. – Jon Ericson Feb 6 '13 at 17:21
  • Related: meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/q/1753 – msh210 Jun 3 '13 at 15:47
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There are some requests on other sites (mostly academic sites), all in a similar vein of handling and smoothing the process for citations. We're currently looking into methods for handling this on a much broader scale. As progress is made on that front, we'll be able to look into how we may be able to integrate the system you've found here, into whatever our final solution is.

For now, though, we will not be implementing a religious-site specific lookup syntax. The tool seems nice, though.

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Main post

I've written a userscript that accomplishes this locally (i.e., no server call). It allows you to use a markdown-like syntax to automatically create a link to anywhere in Tanach, Talmud Bavli, and Mishna Torah. The Tanach links go by default to Chabad.org, but you can make it go to Mechon Mamre if you so desire. Talmud Bavli goes to HebrewBooks.org, and MT goes to Mechon Mamre for Hebrew, and Chabad.org for English.

Some examples:

  • [t bereishis 4 7] -> http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8168#v7
  • [t shmuel1 3 1 r] -> http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/15832/showrashi/true#v1
  • [t job 1 l] ->
    [Iyov 1](http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16403)
  • [t div1 4 7 lm] ->
    [Divrei Hayamim I 4:7](http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt25a04.htm#7)
  • [g ber 5b] -> http://hebrewbooks.org/shas.aspx?mesechta=1&daf=5b
  • [g mk 7a l] -> [Moed Katan 7a](http://hebrewbooks.org/shas.aspx?mesechta=12&daf=7)

To trigger the replacement, type a reference and then click anywhere outside of the textbox.

It's available on my GitHub page here. Also on that page is a document on how to use it, i.e., syntax, flags, etc.

Instructions on how to install for Chrome and Firefox browsers. Have Internet Explorer? Maybe it's time to upgrade.

Found a bug? Got a question? Want to make a request? Just want to say thanks? Ping me in this chat room.

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Making a list of Shas, Rambam and a few other basics shouldn't be hard, in theory. Note that aliases (various spellings & abbr.) need to be maintained manually as well.

That said, a way to differentiate between two with a similar name (Parashat Shoftim vs Sefer Shoftim; even more - Brachos mishna vs Brachos talmud)

Another point - what resolution are we going to take care of? Book, chapter, verse. And how do we do this in books with different structures?

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    Genesis ch. 1 v. 1 can be Gen. 1:1. Mishnah Brachos ch. 1 mishnah 1 can be Brachos 1:1 (with some variations in spelling of "Brachos" like "Berachos," "Berachot," "Berakhoth," etc., and similarly in every masechta, unless some STANDARD form of transliteration is used, or maybe even Hebrew letters, but then we'd have a problem of malei vs. chaser). Talmud Brachos p. 2 side 1 can be either Talmud Brachos 2:1 or Brachos 2a (using letters avoids the problem of needing to specify that it's Talmud) – b a Nov 7 '12 at 6:42
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    JNF and @ba, I agree we can have more than I proposed above. The reason my proposal was limited to only certain books (and ways of referring to them) is simply that it's (AFAICT) easy to implement: the lookup tables and scripts exist already. – msh210 Nov 7 '12 at 6:56
  • @msh210, the code needs to be analyzed. If it was built with such things in mind, it shouldn't be hard to add lists. Adding functionality might prove more complicated. – JNF Nov 7 '12 at 7:51

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