Cite: A Lightweight Citation Service for Data Packages in the EDI Data Repository

February 12, 2020

Susanne Grossman-Clarke


The EDI technical team has released Cite, a lightweight web-service that generates citations for data packages archived in the EDI data repository. Cite is simple to use and requires only the EDI data package identifier appended to the end of the Cite URL: “”. For example, the URL “”, when entered into a web-browser query field, returns the following ESIP-stylized citation:

Armitage, A.R., C.A. Weaver, J.S. Kominoski, and S.C. Pennings. 2020. 
Hurricane Harvey: Coastal wetland plant responses and recovery in Texas: 2014-2019 ver 1. 
Environmental Data Initiative. 
<a href=""></a>.

Citations are generated from information found in the data package’s EML document, including the title and creator elements, and from resource information in the EDI data repository, namely the repository name, archive date, data package revision number, and digital object identifier (DOI). This information is then stylized (think “layout”) according to recommended best practices published by community organizations, such as ESIP. Citations are formatted (think “presentation”) based on the mime-type set into the HTTP request accept header field. In the above example, the citation is formatted with HTML attributes, as demonstrated by the anchor tags and HREF surrounding the DOI URL string, since the web-browser automatically requests that responses be returned as “text/html”. Cite also supports additional citation styles (Dryad, BibTex, and raw JSON) and output mime-type formats (text/plain and application/json). Design of the Cite service framework allows new styles and formats to be added with relative ease. The motivation for Cite is to provide a consistent and simple interface for generating citations from data packages found in the EDI data repository. Cite is now being used in the EDI Data Portal to display citations on the data package metadata summary pages (aka, “landing pages”). Details of the Cite web-service can be found at