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When I write a question or an answer, I often want to reference basic, textbook-level information. When I can, I prefer to cite this information, at least to the level of title, author and chapter. My answer to this question is an example of my typical style in this regard. Usually when I like to include a link to the book on Amazon so that I am clear to all potential readers what book I am referring to. So this brings me to my questions:

  1. Does the StackExchange community have a standard way to refer to textbooks? If so, am I close? If not, should we develop one?
  2. I vaguely recall seeing what I thought was an Amazon affiliate link on Physics.SE; does StackExchange do that? Do we care?
  3. When I do this, I manually look the book up on Amazon. I suppose at some point I should set up a list of books I like to reference. Would it be useful to have a publicly useable/editable list of references to textbooks for this purpose?
  4. Is Amazon even the best/most convenient seller? I'm only looking for an unambiguous reference, I know that it's easy for others to use them, and using them fits easily into my already-established workflow. But I'm not particularly wedded to Amazon if there is a better way to do this.
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    $\begingroup$ Stack Exchange automatically changes any Amazon links you paste into referral links, so you don't have to worry about that. Nothing prevents you from using another retailer you are comfortable with, but SE does get a percentage per click purchase. As far as what I can see, you've done all of the referencing as well as it needs to be. It might be nice to have a full citation for the book with page numbers (I'm assuming we'd use ACS Style but one of our academic members can school me on that) ... $\endgroup$ – jonsca Jul 3 '12 at 6:50
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    $\begingroup$ ... but pointing someone in the right direction is fine. In terms of a list of references, the best place would probably be in the tag wiki for an individual subject (click Tags on the main screen, and you'll see what I mean. Most of ours are not built up yet, but you can always start. So, you could keep a list of organic books under the organic-chemistry tag wiki (see here for where you can edit it yourself). Look on someplace like Stack Overflow for good examples. A centralized list is something we'd have to talk about. $\endgroup$ – jonsca Jul 3 '12 at 6:52
  • $\begingroup$ Aha! So that's how it works. I hadn't thought to check my own links. Thanks for explaining that. If I were ever to be more careful with my citations, I would probably use ACS style, as that is what I'm most familiar with. $\endgroup$ – Colin McFaul Jul 3 '12 at 18:07
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Does the StackExchange community have a standard way to refer to textbooks? If so, am I close? If not, should we develop one?

Nope. We really don't need one. I can't see any use for this--no need to add additional policy for it.

What would be nice is if the chapter name and/or page numbers are mentioned, but this is entirely optional.

I vaguely recall seeing what I thought was an Amazon affiliate link on Physics.SE; does StackExchange do that? Do we care?

As @jonsca mentioned, your Amazon links are hijacked by SE, turning them into affiliate links.

When I do this, I manually look the book up on Amazon. I suppose at some point I should set up a list of books I like to reference. Would it be useful to have a publicly useable/editable list of references to textbooks for this purpose?

Physics.SE maintains a list of all the book-recommendation questions.

We've also already discussed allowing books questions. The consensus was to keep a certain subset of such questions.

A post "Chemistry Books" would be disastrous, and would be closed as NC:

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or specific expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, see the FAQ for guidance.

(actually, we already had such a post, but it's deleted)

@jonsca has a good suggestion here: Use the tag wiki to keep books (but please don't use this to promote your own books)

Is Amazon even the best/most convenient seller? I'm only looking for an unambiguous reference, I know that it's easy for others to use them, and using them fits easily into my already-established workflow. But I'm not particularly wedded to Amazon if there is a better way to do this.

It doesn't really matter--we just want to reference the book. Even the name and author would really suffice for this. Amazon has the added benefit of being well known (and easy to buy from). Also, SE make some money off it :) .

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