Citation Style Language

Advice on legal citation style

I’m working on an implementation of the IBFD Standard Citations and References, a very important guideline in international tax law. It’s based on an obsolete U.S. legal style (ALWD Citation Manual (3rd ed., Aspen 2006), which I wasn’t able to get my hands on). Of course, juris-m should be the way to go but the request was for Zotero explicitly.

I’d be glad to get advice on some details — the style is located at

  • Translated titles or remarks about the translation are formatted upright in brackets after the title. In absence of a suitable field I chose the ‘version’ variable
  • The IBFD maintains a database where they sort any kind of reference in “collections”. I use collection title for that.
  • Laws show complicate handling of dates: the date entry is necessary for short citations but is omitted from full citations if the title or law number contains the date. What’s more, if published in a source, the publication date has to be added. I’m solving this by not printing the ‘date’ in full citations. When the date needs to be printed, I decided for an additional entry in ‘original-date’. For the source date, I wanted to use ‘container’ but that resulted in errors, so I went with ‘event-date’.
  • The model type from the IBFD Guidelines doesn’t fit with any other document type. Looking around, I found that the Zotero type ‘Document’ looks like a good option. Now, I read that the type ‘article’ is going to be deprecated.

What do you think?

It’s been many years since I’ve actively written or edited styles, so keep that in mind.

It sounds sensible.

So someone hired you to do this? Can you present it to them as a draft and encourage them to test and give feedback?

That’s the best way to ensure the details are right.

Or ask for some test data?

Thank you for your comment, @Bruce_D_Arcus1 – well, hired is not quite correct. As a librarian at my university I’m responsible for reference management software support and we offer style writing/editing as a service for our faculty if feasible in a reasonable amount of time.

For testing, I’m already in contact with the colleagues who requested the style. Here, I’d rather like to learn if my choice of variables and types is reasonable. Especially on the last point about the Zotero Document type which translates to CSL article type which seems about to become deprecated according to

Depreciation of article, entry, and post is not agreed on, and I am personally opposed to their removal. I would suggest not reading too much into any specific thread on GitHub right now, as everything is moving rapidly.

I‘m closely following the discussions here and there and I really would like to collaborate actively, just my time doesn’t allow it.

On github you recommend the use of brochure but I can’t find that type, neither in Zotero or Mendeley UI nor in the spec.

Sorry, I meant CSL pamphlet. There isn’t a dedicated item type for this in Zotero or Mendeley, but in both you can set the item to use this CSL type by enter this into Extra (Zotero) or Note (Mendeley):
type: pamphlet

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You might already know, but if you don’t plan to upload the style to the style repo, and it is intended only for Zotero (not pandoc), you can just use a custom type as a last resort.

you can just use a custom type as a last resort.

Interesting idea :slight_smile:. I can’t remember that option. But in this case, I definitely plan to get the style in the repo as it’s an international network for which it would be very useful.

It’s not exactly an option. It’s just that citeproc-js will pick up whatever you throw at it. All you need to do is add type: asdfjklö in Zotero’s Extra field. This works also for string variables (not for names or numeric variables—those are declared explicitly in citeproc-js).
But in you case that won’t be an option anyway.

And Zotero would complain when I install a style containing a custom type or variable, wouldn’t it?

Yes. It will say the style is not valid. But it will work nevertheless. Just as you can use a CSL-M style in vanilla Zotero.

Thank you all for your comments. I’ll go with pamphlet then.

One thing I forgot to ask: At somoe places, years should be formtatted with two digits if year < 2000 and with four digits otherwise. Am I right in assuming that that’s not possible? At least I haven’t found it in the documentation. It’s a requirement that I met in various (legal and non-legal) styles already, especially when dealing with EU sources.

No, currently not. But perhaps a good idea to add this. (Suggestion added at the evolution repo.)

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Except that’s not really necessary; is it?

Keep in mind, CSL is used in dozens of applications. So if you can avoid the last resort, @gduffner, and submit the style, better for everyone :wink:

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No worries, I won’t go that way. I’m definitely targeting the official repository.

In fact, after rereading and noticing that that’s a no go with pandoc, I’m going to forget it again. Styles that I write are either for broader audience or if for my personal use, should be compatible with pandoc.

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