Foris - an information and knowledge management system
Foris contains a module for accommodating data on "references". A reference can be used in many, many contexts. The original reason for creating the reference database was to keep track of the sources from which we captured data. Reference records were linked to the data records in the system. This makes it possible to exactly demonstrate from were we got "a number". It is important for our credibility and increases transparency.
These references are often very "grey", or more formally, unpublished by normal means. They are rarely available in library catalogues. The references in this original interpretation are for the most part produced in a country, often in a limited number of copies, with only one intended end user; the commissioning agency. At times, data is grabbed from more official publications. As a result, also these found their way into the reference database. With an increasing number of references available, it become obvious, those references could be used for more than only tagging data with its source.
We also saw a need for streamlining the publishing of lists of references (bibliographies) on our web pages. Doing this in static HTML is laborious and cumbersome. The backbone in a bibliography is, obviously, references. Some of the initially requested references we already had at hand, in an existing database. The basic concept, "enter a reference once in the system, and use it everywhere", was therefore expanded. We made it possible to use a reference in one or many bibliographies.
A bibliography can contain almost anything: a web site, a report, or an article, a book, published by anyone, anywhere (or not properly published at all). There was no method available five years ago, and according to our knowledge, there is no method present today, to draw *everything* we need from a database.
There are many on-line tools available for finding references (check with the library). But, once found, we want to add the reference to a bibliography, and we may need to tag it with keywords, and, optionally, enter, translate, and publish a context unique annotation.
Why a reference database?
The reference issue is rather complex. A dedicated Web site has therefore been set uup covering the subject in full detail.