Have you heard back anything from CAS or CASSI about the legality of
compiling abbreviation lists in JSON for re-distribution?
I’ve been looking around for different styles that require abbreviations and
I’m not coming across that many different abbreviation lists. Most require
LTWA, some reference MEDLINE/Index Medicus, which is essentially LTWA with a
few changes. Both of those are not restricted AFAIK and CSL could easily
However, ACS journals refer to CASSI (I actually thought CAS was essentially
the same list), which, as Carles points out is copyrighted and their terms
of use pretty clearly state that you cannot compile the abbreviations into a
large list for distribution. It’s a bit odd that they would be this
restrictive, considering that access to CASSI is free. If we can’t compile
it into a JSON file, I figured that the reference managers could have users
click buttons to “automatically” retrieve abbreviations for the journals in
their libraries. That seems to be ok with their ToS.
http://www.library.illinois.edu/biotech/j-abbrev.html suggests that CASSI is
also based on LTWA, but obviously, like with MEDLINE, there may be some
corrections that need to be accounted for.
I also came across an abbreviation list used by Society for Biblical
Studies. It’s published in The SBL Handbook of Style (section 8.4.1) and is
obviously copyrighted. Their copyright notice
does not seem very restrictive and perhaps they would grant rights to
redistribute the list if inquired (I haven’t yet).
http://www.library.illinois.edu/biotech/j-abbrev.html also mentions BIOSIS
and a couple other lists (they all seem to be LTWA-based), but I have not
found any styles that reference these. Do you guys know if they are actually
used? There’s also the WoS list
http://images.webofknowledge.com/WOK46/help/WOS/A_abrvjt.html but again, I
haven’t seen a style that uses it.
Finally, I know that Bluebook has a bunch of abbreviation lists, but they
are copyrighted and, as Frank has discovered, Bluebook holds on to their
copyright very tightly. ALWD may also have abbreviations, but I don’t have
access to either of the manuals, so I can’t comment exactly.
So basically, my concern is that, with the exception of MEDLINE and LTWA,
all the other lists are copyrighted, which essentially puts a stop to CSL
I had started writing a formal specification for abbreviation lists
(https://gist.github.com/aurimasv/6878178). The gist of it is that managing
the lists and generating abbreviations would be left up to the reference
manager. CSL would have been the source of the actual lists, but considering
the above, perhaps it’s best to leave obtaining/generating the lists up to
the reference managers as well.
CSL would simply identify the list that needs to be used for a style (the
list identifiers would have to be agreed upon), the CSL processor would
request the reference manager to generate an abbreviation for a particular
field given an abbreviation list ID (falling back to unabbreviated form
otherwise), and the rest would be left up to the reference managers to
implement as they see fit.
I’d love to have this subject finalized as soon as possible, so that we can
properly implement abbreviation lists in Zotero.
Thanks for your input.
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