Not everyone has the mental capacity to read through and retain the information they’ve read and the longer an article or paper is, the harder it is to keep track of all the arguments presented and the ideas that counter it. The problem with reading online content isn’t just related to a person’s attention span, it also has to with the authenticity of what you’re reading. If what you’re reading doesn’t have a credible source to back it up, you are wasting time. Footnotify is a Firefox add-on that displays footnotes as a pop-over box without disrupting your flow of reading. For now, footnotes on major websites like Wikipedia, Daring Fireball and Brooks Review are enhanced with this extension. The add-on serves two purposes; it lets you continue reading without losing your place or interrupting your reading flow and at the same time it allows you to quickly check how authentic the references in an article are. For frequent readers of Wikipedia, scrolling down a lengthy article time and time over to check references at the bottom of the page, and keeping track of where you left off, can be very frustrating.
Once installed, clicking the footnote will result in a popup box detailing the reference, and you can also open the link in a new window if wish to do so. The popped-up footnote also features a visual effect, in that it dims the background as the pop-up is displayed. To continue reading, click anywhere outside the box and it will disappear. Although a little slow to show the reference, the add-on accomplishes its purpose. Ideally, it should work on almost all sites that have properly quoted a reference source.
Possible improvements to the add-on might be support for more websites and perhaps a way of saving important references or marking them so the add-on will remember them later. A much smaller improvement would be for it to open links in a reference in a new tab instead of in the same window since it means navigating away from the page you’re on. Although this result can be achieved by holding down the Ctrl key when you click, the feature would make it more convenient to use.
As stated above, the add-on similarly works for John Gruber’s Daring Fireball and Brooks Review. Footnotify makes the entire reading experience pleasant and faster, not to mention more authentic. Support for more websites may come in future, so keep an eye out if you’re an avid online reader and researcher.