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I'm looking for a word to describe the concept of referencing or the act of referencing.

I'm configuring an issue tracking system that allows linking issues. A link is a pair of issues. These links can be configured to be of different types. This is useful to describe the meaning of a particular link – a link alone is too vague. For example, there is a link type called "Causality", with inward and outward relations defined as "A caused B" and "B is caused by A". Another link type is "Relation" which is a symmetric relation defined as "A is related to B" and "B is related to A". I need a link type name for "A references B".

Typically the word reference refers (at least, in my experience based on a programming background) to a specific reference and not the concept of referencing. For example: "variable x is a reference to value v" or "x references v". When I hear the word reference I assume an implicit "a", like "walk" as a noun seems to mean "a walk" and not the act of walking itself.

Is the act of referencing best called "reference"? Referentiality? Referenceness? Is there anything better/more appropriate than these terms?

More about abstract nouns can be found in this answer and wikipedia.

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    Reference is itself an abstract noun. What context are you thinking about? What do you want to say? – John Lawler Apr 21 '17 at 16:58
  • I think both of your examples hearken more to "ability to be used as a reference." What aspect of referential integrity are you trying to harness? Is it the fitness for use as a reference? Is it the authority of the reference? – saritonin Apr 21 '17 at 17:00
  • Well, typically the word reference refers (heh) to a specific reference and not the concept of referencing (at least in programming background). For example: "variable x is a reference to value v" or "x references v". When I hear the word reference I assume an implicit "a", like "walk" as a noun seems to mean "a walk" and not the act of walking itself. So is the act of referencing best called "reference"? – tomosius Apr 21 '17 at 17:09
  • @saritonin - looking for a word to describe the concept of referencing or the act of referencing – tomosius Apr 21 '17 at 17:11
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    Perhaps these will get you unstuck (perhaps not...): "A references B" is a citation. Maybe these will help: citing, and even referencing. – aparente001 Apr 22 '17 at 3:42
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Based on the clarification provided, the link type described would be a referential link. When A references B, they are said to have a referential relationship.

  • Referential is an adjective, and the OP asks for a noun. I think you should add the corresponding noun to your answer. Would this be "referentiality"? – sumelic Apr 21 '17 at 18:03
  • @sumelic the two-word phrase is really the best way to describe the abstract concept, though I guess the noun form would be referentiality. – saritonin Nov 17 '17 at 21:56

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