A footnotes-insert system for free WordPress.com blogs

How to rig a simple footnotes-insert system for your free WordPress.com blog

Situation: A free WordPress.com blog does not provide the tools to footnote your blog posts. There appears to be no Web browser add-on or UserScript dedicated to this task.

Solution: This can be partly solved with two free add-on assistants for your Web browser, and some simple HTML page code.

This solution assumes you are writing your blog posts with HTML code visible and editable. It has not been tested with other types of blog editing. For free WordPress blogs this means using the unofficial Redirect to Classic Editor script. For self-hosted WordPress blogs on purchased webspace this means using the official Classic Editor plugin (but if you’re on a self-hosted blog then you already have a wealth of footnote plugins you can use).

All this is only a temporary lash-up for free users, and hopefully in future either i) the free blogs at WordPress.com will implement footnotes on the post editor, or ii) someone will code a nifty injecting UserScript that makes footnoting a seamless feature of the editor on free WordPress.com blogs.

1. Install Rich Copy URL or similar, to easily copy to the clipboard the current Web URL with title, inside a formatted HTML link.

2. Install Paste Email. This adds user defined snippets of text to your right-mouse click, when the user is typing into any form on a Web page. These text snippets don’t have to be just an email address, and the add-on can also cope with multi-line formatting.

Then, in the Paste Email addon settings, you set up the following HTML snippets…

For a short blog post with three or four simple footnotes, these two snippets can be easily invoked with a right-click and placed in the post, enabling you to quickly set up the post for footnoting with only very minimal editing of code (you change three numbers, basically).

When your reader clicks on any numbered footnote link, all such body links will jump the reader down to the top of the footnotes block. As this is only a blog post and there are only a few footnotes, this saves the writer time — we don’t need to fiddle with code that sends each footnote link precisely to its footnote number. We also expect the reader to reflexively know how to go “Back” to the point in the text from which they just departed, without needing a HTML-coded “Back” link placed at the top of the footnotes block.

Thus all that the writer needs to adjust in a post is: i) the sequential number on the footnote link placed into the body text; and ii) each link and title needs to be inserted into the footnote block (and the Rich Copy URL addon helps enormously with that, meaning that no manual coding of the the link needs to be done). The writer can of course hard link words in the text as normal.

You may need to tweak the Web URL link title, as many Web page titles add extraneous items to the title. For instance, this blog post form has a captured title of “Edit Post ‹ News from JURN — WordPress” and you might want to make it more understandable to the reader by changing it to “Edit Post form at ‘News from JURN'”.

Of course, you can also tweak the formatting of the above HTML snippets. For instance by making footnote numbers stand out more by forcing a red colour rather than bold styling. If you object to my old-school HTML code then it’s easily tweaked into some shiny modern format. I welcome any necessary cross-browser corrections in the comments on this post. I’d also welcome knowing how to form a plain HTML-coded ‘Back’ link that takes one to the last-clicked anchor within the page (rather than to the last page in the browser history, or to a specific named anchor).

The lines are not really needed with WordPress but they make the code more compatible with the free blogs at Blogger.

Demo insert:

… this text is footnoted [1]


1. [Insert linked title here]

2. [Insert linked title here]

3. [Insert linked title here]

4. [Insert linked title here]

How to bulk-import your YouTube subscriptions into your RSS feedreader

How to bulk-import your YouTube channel subscriptions to your desktop RSS feedreader:

1. Open your RSS reader (e.g. FeedDemon) and make a new folder to hold your YouTube subscription feeds.

2. Now go to a place on the Web you probably had no idea existed, the YouTube Subscription Manager page. This page appears to be impossible to find via links from the main Subscriptions – YouTube page.

3. Scroll down to the bottom of this Subscription Manager page, and there find the “Export Subscriptions” button. This will save out a single .XML file containing all your subscriptions.

4. Load your desktop RSS feedreader software, and Import. If you have no XML import option choose OPML…

On seeking the file, the software will likely let you switch to .XML format.

5. Import, and when asked what folder to save the feeds to, choose the new “My YouTube Subs 2019” folder or whatever you called it.

They will now act as if they were normal RSS feeds.

You don’t of course get visual previews of new subscribed YouTube video content, as seen at the regular Subscriptions – YouTube. But in these days of visual click-bait and very naff graphic design, you may consider that to be a good thing.

To send the new video over to your tablet as a live clickable URL + visual preview, without any hand coding or complex privacy-invading apps, just set up a private Trello board for your YouTube picks. Drag-and-drop the video URL from your desktop browser’s URL bar and Trello will automatically form a clickable link on the created card plus a preview. Open your tablet’s Web browser, and there are your picks with previews and live clickable links to YouTube. Just as long as your tablet has Web access, they’ll play. You can of course use the Trello board for any kind of media from any service, mixing and matching in a custom slate of “to watch/listen” stuff.

You might also have success with “Send to Trello” addons for your Web browser, but the ones I found all need full account access (eek!). This Trello solution was the best I found to the surprisingly difficult problem of “send a live clickable Web URL over to my tablet” without the assistance of some mega-corp which wants to suck up your entire bookmarks and browsing history.

Physical access to academic libraries

Access to academic libraries: an indicator of openness? (March 2019)…

academic library policies can place restrictions on public access to [such] libraries. […] This paper reports on a preliminary study [and finds that] physical entry and access to print and electronic resources in academic libraries is contracting. […] Most affected is the general, unaffiliated public.

initial sample for the study was fourteen medium to large research universities in Australia, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Mexico, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Search serendipity

An example of the strange ways in which search serendipity can (and often does) work…

Ahead of the release of Zbrush 2019, I was searching for “npr” 3d shader in: Google Search | ‘Last Month’.

On the second page of results, I discover the ‘moved and lost from JURN a year ago’ archive of the RAF’s Air Power journals.

A search for “npr” 3d shader has nothing to do with the British Royal Air Force. ‘NPR’ being non-photorealistic rendering with ‘3D’ computer models that have been fitted with ‘shader’ materials, to make them look like hand-drawn cartoons when they’re rendered into graphical form. The results were arising because the same keywords were shared.

Air Power et al will be back in JURN soon.