Linking footnotes to research?

For a nonfiction project, I’d like to factcheck my work by including, for small bits of text, two things: 1) a link to the document in my research where the information came from and 2) a brief note summarizing where in the document I found that information.

For instance: A sentence starts " On a January day in 2018." I’d like to highlight “day in 2018” and both link to the pdf of news article where this information came from (stored in my research folder) and indicate that the date in question is January 5, 2018 (the “Friday” mentioned in the January 8 news story).

After playing around with the different ways to comment / footnote, I’m stuck. It doesn’t seem like footnotes can include links to files. That’s strange – since the point of a footnote is often to reference a bit of reference material.

What I’m missing? Thanks!

I use inline annotations for this kind of thing, where it is possible to link to another item in the binder. The link itself can refer me to the page number in the PDF I should scroll to—or if what I’m linking to is an editable file, I’ll put a marker (again using inline annotations) at the target point, and then refer to that marker in the link. Date and time stamps work well for these, as they tend to be unique and convenient to insert. This is a very convenient approach since you can select the marker, hit ⌘E to store it in the search buffer, click the link and then follow up with ⌘G to find the marker.

It is odd that comments cannot hold links, but it’s not for any particular design reason, rather it is a coding limitation.

How do you keep inline annotations from feeling like they’re cluttering up the text? I often have several annotations per sentence (information-rich text), and it feels a little overwhelming to have so many annotations crammed in. Thanks!

I’ve been using them for over a decade, so I suppose my eye just goes over them. I don’t use them for everything though, I use a mix of comments and annotations, where it makes sense to. For longer notes and things that would benefit from having a “bookmark” to click on, comments make more sense. For short markers and links, annotations usually make more sense. The latter also work better for me if I think of something to do while writing. I’d rather keep it all in the flow of the editor rather than having to open inspector panes and jump the cursor around just to jot down something simple for the next editing pass.

Generally I prefer the annotation format. It doesn’t overlay the text and make it awkward to click on to position the cursor, and I can freely edit text without worrying about losing attached comments. Annotations can also go anywhere, such as in between paragraphs. They are also good for “commenting out” text, or soft deletions, since you can remove them from the output while leaving the text precisely as it was. If you later change your mind, restoring the text is a simple matter of toggling the annotation back off, rather than having to cut and paste and mark where it came from.

For me it has a lot to do with scope as well. If the information is better to have a global awareness of, the comments are superior. In this way, the target for a link might be better placed in a comment, since once you click on the link to arrive to that document, you can either use my ⌘G trick, or you can just click on the correct marker in the sidebar. But on the hand some notes are better hidden from the global context. You can also freely convert them back and forth with the Edit ▸ Transformations menu, so there isn’t a huge burden in getting it right the first time, and different phases of the editing process might see some utility batch conversions to move lower priority stuff out of the way, and keep high priority fixes in your face, as annotations.

In short, use the fact that it “clutters” the text to your advantage! Sometimes that can be just what you need.