It is a typical mark shown in written or printed text to direct the reader's attention to a particular point within the text.
How does Reference Mark Work?
When making a point in writing, writers include a reference mark or sign is to emphasize their point. It also helps the reader gain more information or insight on a particular topic. A writer will typically place the reference within the footer. This way, the reference acts as an immediate follow-up. If not in the footer, the reader can find the reference mark in the endnotes or somewhere else on the page (as is with advertisements). Generally, the reference mark uses an asterisk (*) or another symbol. In some documents, many symbols, letters, and numbers could be used to refer the reader to specific text. The traditional order of those symbols in English is *, †, ‡, §, ‖, ¶.
Example of Reference Mark
Marks like an asterisk (*) in writing shows that you added a footnote, reference, or comment to the original text. Mr. A is having financial issues due to the economic meltdown*. The economic meltdown* is marked with an asterisk to draw the attention of the readers. That is, it's a mark or sign directing a reader to another part of a work. The reader would then seek out this mark where they can find more details on the economic meltdown.
Bookmark vs. Reference Mark
A bookmark is a pointing tool, usually made of card, leather, or fabric, used to keep track of a reader's progress in a book. It permits the reader to simply return to where the previous reading session ended. Some texts may have one or more bookmarks made from woven ribbon sewn into the binding. Other bookmarks add a page-flap that allows them to clip on a page.
That is to say, a bookmark is a pointer placed between the pages of a book to indicate an area. It's also an electronic pointer created in a file to facilitate quick access to a particular part of the text. The reference mark refers to a typographic mark or word employed in writing to point out further information in a text. Typographical devices used like the asterisk or dagger point to footnotes.
History of Reference Mark
The word's first record appears sometime between 1855 to 1860. We can trace the reference mark's earliest use back to James Beattie (1735–1803), poet and philosopher. People used the symbol historically to call out a crucial sentence or idea, like a prologue or footnote. As an indicator of a point, the mark serves the same purpose as the asterisk in English.
Reference Mark vs. Komejirushi
Unlike in western countries, Japan, China, and Korea use a reference mark called a komejirushi. The komejirushi symbol "※" literally translates to rice symbol. The komejirushi serves the same exact purpose as the western reference mark—the placement is the only difference. In Japan, the reference mark's note's text follows immediately after the main statement.