Self-referentiality is so meta.
January 21, 2008 9:34 PM   Subscribe

I'm writing a book that is heavily self-referential. How can I place markers in some other part of the document (ex: "For more information, refer to "Foo" on page "Bar") throughout the entire document and have that page Bar change as the information anchor moves around? I'm using Google Docs, but I'm willing to switch software if need be. Solution needs to be compatible with OSX.
posted by SpecialK to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
LaTeX will do this quite easily with the \label and \ref commands. You can get it for OS X for free. You might want to look here first.
posted by baho at 9:41 PM on January 21, 2008

It's really, really too bad that Adobe no longer makes FrameMaker for the Mac.
posted by nathan_teske at 9:43 PM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

LaTeX will do it, but you want to install MacTeX instead of i-installer. You could also do it with XML, XSLT, and FOP.

Alternatively, you might want to check out Scrivener. I haven't used it, but it's supposed to be good for writing.
posted by fleeba at 9:50 PM on January 21, 2008

MS Word will do it too. I don't have a copy on my mac here at home, but search the help menu for 'cross-reference'.

Unfortunately I can't figure out how to do it in Pages.
posted by ctmf at 9:52 PM on January 21, 2008

Hiya SpecialK!
Google docs obviously isn't developed enough to handle advanced features. If you switch to word, you can use the built in cross-reference feature which can be found under the insert menu. good luck.
posted by special-k at 12:11 AM on January 22, 2008

Oh and before anyone remarks "this will givewell", SpecialK and I are two different people.
posted by special-k at 12:16 AM on January 22, 2008

Yeah, Latex or Word. Pick your poison!
posted by pharm at 6:19 AM on January 22, 2008

... or OpenOffice or NeoOffice, if you like the free.
posted by scruss at 6:43 AM on January 22, 2008

And, for reference if you're looking to get this published in the future, when they (the publisher) import the files into their page layout program, all the page numbers will be wrong anyway. So unless you used XML with special tagging stuff (I don't know what it is or how to do it, I just know that's the thing we used to tell authors to do, and they never knew either) page numbers that are self-referential will get updated manually. Theoretially several people--including you at proofs--will double check to make sure "foo" actually is on "bar".

This is all moot if the publisher asks you for a camera-ready book, in which case you should use one of the options above.

I know this isn't exactly what you asked about, but I thought it might be helpful to know for the future.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:53 AM on January 22, 2008

Just about everything has support for this. Maybe not Google Docs, yet. Openoffice, MICROS~1 Word, LaTeX, Framemaker, Docbook.

"Hey, look, a [locationFoo]Foo!"


"For information about Foo, see [reference locationFoo]."

Incidentally, this is how indexes are made.
posted by cmiller at 8:10 AM on January 22, 2008

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