Sure. But if you were concerned about this, why did you even bother
Endnote? Why not BibTeX, which has a long tradition of openness, and
tons of styles (particularly in the sciences and math)?
Have you seen a BST file? Implementing BibTeX support would involve
and there’s really no way to convert BSTs to CSL’s. EndNote’s style
format, once you get past the binary shell, is really not that far off
from CSL, with prefix and suffix parameters, various disambiguation
Second, I’m not so sure about the rights issues; INAL. Perhaps the
copyright issues would not apply to a web service where individual
uploaded the styles? Or perhaps they would? I have a feeling that an
extreme interpretation might say even converting the files at all is
some kind of legal violation.
We are still consulting a lawyer about this, but my feeling is that
converting the files, like ripping a CD, is not a rights violation.
Whether distributing converted styles presents a rights issue depends
on whether it is possible to construct multiple EndNote style files
that represent a given style, among other things, which is somewhat
unclear to me. In any case, conversion seems less likely to provoke a
Even more ugly: what happens if someone takes a converted style, and
modifies it? If we accept there might be copyright issues with
distributing the first, what about the second? Does this then risk a
pollution of open CSL styles by copyright-encumbered content?
Hmm … perhaps we need to talk to a lawyer
We are doing that. I think that the amount of modification required to
make a converted style look like a handwritten CSL would probably be
sufficient to eliminate any copyright issues. While I could neaten
them up, at the moment, the converter generates absolutely hideous CSL
because there’s no real reason for it not to as long as the styles
will be private. Besides, pulling the EndNote CSL out of the database
would involve some tricks.
Beyond that, my main concern is that I do not want to create two
of CSL styles: those that are buried in SQL and unavailable for wider
use, and those that are publicly available.
If it would make you more comfortable, I can store the EndNote file in
the DB and convert it at runtime, so it doesn’t really exist at all.
I might be wrong, but I have serious worry that this might be
like a zero-sum game; e.g. that doing what you’re doing will in fact
undermine the future growth of publicly available CSL styles.
My hunch is that those who are currently producing CSLs, inside and
outside of our project, will continue to do so. While our style
repository has expanded recently, thanks to the support of Julian and
a few others, it will be a long time before we reach EndNote’s level.
To get any kind of growth beyond this small group, as you know, we
need a nice graphical style editor, which presents some difficult UI
and programming issues.
If you want to propose potential UIs (which I’d be happy to discuss on
this list), or maybe even contribute some code, so that we can get a
style editor done faster, perhaps that could assuage these concerns? I
personally was thinking of something like Apple’s UI for setting the
date format on OS X, although certain issues like conditionals, groups
with delimiters, etc. are hard to model from a UI standpoint.
And, frankly, I’m again bothered by the tendency of your project to
implement features like this without any outside discussion. The only
reason you even raised the issue here is because you want a new
attribute. You haven’t even rolled out 1.02, with its very cool
one-click auto-installation of CSL files, and you’re already looking
implement something in a way which on face value (e.g. based on what I
can glean from what you’ve said) sounds like it will be in conflict
that approach and vision.
I am just as committed to CSL as you are, but I am also committed to
Zotero. The fact is, Zotero is much less useful if you can’t use it to
write your papers. I don’t see why you find interoperability with
EndNote styles to be in conflict with auto-installation of CSL files:
both are ways of expanding style support.
The discussion isn’t exactly private. There is a ticket on Trac (#704)
with a bit of discussion on it already. You are welcome to attach any
relevant comments there (you already have an account, IIRC), and we
will consider them. Ultimately, however, unnecessary bureaucracy is
detrimental to a project’s health.
I’m not really saying don’t do it (as if that would have any effect
anyway), but I am asking that you guys see if there’s a way to address
my concerns, and maybe open up a public discussion of this issue on
zotero-dev. E.g. what’s the plan that gets us to, say, 1000 openly
available CSL styles?
We don’t have the programmers to commit to that at the moment, which
is why we’re working on the EndNote converter. If this is your
concern, perhaps you could donate some styles yourself? It seems like
Julian’s been doing nearly all of the work on that front.