Think about it like this.

The use of a copyright symbol in the footer of personal websites was one of the earliest signs of cyber tribal culture. What, in retrospect, we may term the Yesterweb Years (or: the Golden Years of the (world wide (but, really, super-personal)) Web, depending on how traditional you skew).

It was tribal in the truest sense of the word: evidence for a new, curious culture drawing from its aging, self-assured ancestors and inadvertently repurposing its symbols to capture new domains of expression, of overlap. It felt like a rite of passage, to be able to create a page and mark it with a tag, a sign that you were here: graffiti on the walls of virtual eternity.

All the more reason why its visible decline in popular (digital) culture felt like the final sightings of a rare bird. Its dimnishing use, the increasingly non-existent chance you might encounter one in the digital wild, seemed to reflect the lull that the 'personal-web' experienced up until the recent past. A new era had dawned on the web: that of walled gardens and corporate overlords.

Nonetheless, the commonfolk have revolted and ceased the means of production (albeit, subversively; its a lot to explain, just take my word for it /s), and the personal-web has conceived its renaissance—dressed in new robes, the 'indieweb' arose!

Hyperbole aside, the progressive gravity of this movement seems to have stirred those old traditions and practices from their slumber and charged them with life anew. Like the shy and cautious mushrooms of a particularly resilient mycelium re-emerging from the soil, the old ways find the sun again. So much for putting hyperbole aside, I guess.

With this renaissance comes the necessary integration of new rites. In the time between the decline and the re-emergence, the amount of content on the internet has exploded in scope and quantity. With it came new frontiers of media, particulary with regard to the proliferation of free software—of specific interest is its overlapping with, and catalytic effect on, the accessibility of self-publishing and setting oneself up on the (neo-)social-web for non-technical folk.

This leap-frogging of residence (over the traditional barriers of entry) for new explorers of the web (and of self-publishing upon it) has reinforced the culture of (accurate and effective) citation first established in the mainstream by the early proliferation of the Creative Commons licenses. With so many ways to enter the new-social-web, with so many open access points and tools specifically designed to be free and accessible by the (core, auxillary and inadvertent) proponents of the movement, all working together to provide the average individual the power to sieze the means of publishing their thoughts and of participating in an activeam community, there is a distinct responsibility on those who borrow from, wholly employ, or even derive some slight benefit from any of this plethora of tools to credit the makers.

It is to tie together these distinct strands of old and new interweb culture and reinforce this model of social networking (of citing within a context; as would seem almost intrinsic to the principles of design behind the idea of a hyperlink) that I suggest the Webcite Function.

The concept itself is very simply:

  1. Be an intentional member of the neo-social-web (or whatever branch of personal web-publishing you subscribe to, really).
  2. Feel the need to participate in the age old tradition of copytagging your personal website.
  3. Create a page titled "©.html" and place it somewhere in your website structure.
  4. Fill this page with all the attribution required by the specific licenses of the various resources you have used in the creation of the website. Even if the license doesn't mandate crediting the creator, feel free to add a mention and a link back to their website (or the page where you obtained the resource from; eg: github).
  5. Link to this page (©.html) from the copyright tag in your footer (or wherever you choose to put it).