cite (HTML attribute)

Spec
Depr. Version
No HTML 3.2
Browser support (more…)
IE8 FF2 SA4 OP10 CH2
None None None None None

Syntax

cite="uri"

Description

As well as the core and event attributes, which are used across all HTML elements, blockquote has the cite attribute, which is used to identify the online source of the quotation in the form of a URI (for example, "http://sourcewebsite.doc/document.html"); the value of the cite attribute is not rendered on the screen. As such, browser support for this attribute is marked as none, but because it has other potential uses (for example, in search engine indexing, retrieval of its content via DOM Scripting, and more), and since improved native support for the attribute is anticipated in future browser versions, you should use the cite attribute when you use blockquote.

Example

This example shows an attribution, created using the cite attribute:

<blockquote cite="http://www.brucelawson.co.uk/index.php/2005/
➥stupid-stock-photography/">
  <p>It's missing alt text, so it’s difficult to determine what it's
      supposed to mean. Presumably "oooh, there's been a global
      ecological catastrophe and we've got the last four leaves in the
      world and we've patented the DNA". Or they're rubbing ganja
      leaves together to extract the resin, but are too stupid to
      recognise Marijuana so are trying it with willow or silver
      birch.</p>
</blockquote>

Value

The value of cite is a URI: either the complete path to the source of the quotation (absolute) or a relative path from the quoting page.

Compatibility

Internet Explorer Firefox Safari Opera Chrome
5.5 6.0 7.0 8.0 1.0 1.5 2.0 1.3 2.0 3.1 4.0 9.2 9.5 10.0 2.0
None None None None None None None None None None None None None None None

cite is uniformly ignored by all browsers in a visual sense, although this potentially useful meta data could be extracted and written back into the web page through the magic of DOM Scripting. If DOM Scripting is not the way you want to approach things—perhaps because you have a CMS that’s able to reformulate the markup to your needs—a foolproof way to indicate the source of the quotation would be as follows, using a cite element rather than the blockquote’s cite attribute:

<blockquote>
  <p>It's missing alt text, so it’s difficult to determine what it's
      supposed to mean. Presumably "oooh, there's been a global
      ecological catastrophe and we've got the last four leaves in the
      world and we've patented the DNA". Or they're rubbing ganja
      leaves together to extract the resin, but are too stupid to
      recognise Marijuana so are trying it with willow or silver
      birch.</p>
  <p><cite><a href="http://www.brucelawson.co.uk/index.php/2005/
➥stupid-stock-photography/">Bruce Lawson</a></cite></p>
</blockquote>

Firefox does at least provide the information to users if they go hunting for it, but it would require them to open a context menu (or right-click on the quote) and select Properties in order to display what amounts to very little information, as Figure 1 shows.

Figure 1. The cite attribute’s content revealed in Firefox The cite attribute's content revealed in Firefox

User-contributed notes

Related Products