Rules when switching between citation styles

Since John (who has been working on better implementing note style
citations in Zotero) has been having problems posting to the list, I’ll
just cc my response for the record …

Now that putting citations in Zotero footnotes is imminent, a new
presents itself. The terminal punctuation of a citation in running
prose (as
often in footnotes) can be different from that of stand-alone
citations. In
author-date style, a footnote might read

The major sources are (Cohen 1964) and (Ansley 2000).

but a Chicago notes-without-bibliography style currently produces

The major sources are I.B. Cohen, “Newton, Hooke and Boyle’s Law;
by Power and Towneley,” Nature 204 (1964). and P.R. Ansley, Philosophy
Robert Boyle (London: Routledge, 2000).

That period after (1964) should be either a comma or a semicolon. But
CSL defines a period.

Hmm … so I guess we could say the CSL is correct, but only if there
is a single citation in the note, without any subsequent text.

I guess this is one of those funky details that come up with note
styles, and we’ll just have to come up with a rule. Since John’s
implementing it, I’ll defer to his opinion, though my hunch would be we
could just say:

In note style citations, the final punctuation (usually a period)
should only be applied in cases of automatically-generated notes. If a
citation is already in a note with surrounding commentary, the final
punctuation should be omitted.


It seems there is a semantic question on the table. Is the final
in a citation something that semantically belongs to the citation or
to its
position in a body of text?

I think the second. (Remember that what we are calling note style can
used in the main body of text. See Chicago 15, p. 637, for example.)
If I’m
right, then the CSL should not define final punctuation and should
leave it
to the author and his or her citation-processing software.

I really don’t have a strong opinion and could go either way. That
said, I do want my formatting software to take care of the punctuation
for me :wink:

The alternative is to give the processing software the task of
modifying CSL
formatting. This seems bad.

This I didn’t follow.

That said, I can think of one example where the processing should
modify the
format, the moving of a final period or comma to within final quotation
marks. But here the typographic consideration is clearly a semantic
violation (Strunk and White; Chicago 15, 242). So the word-processing
software is not second guessing the semantic-based formatting (as
would be
happening above), but intentionally overriding it, and some authors
and some
processing software might legitimately reject this violation.

Yeah, I think some of these details will just take some
trial-and-error. Another reason why I’d like to see if can get some
smart semantic markup in notes.

I think I can make Zotero work either way, either adding punctuation or
removing it. Given the CSL is out there, I’ll do the second for now.
But I
suspect this will have bad long-term implications if we leave it that

If you feel strongly about, maybe ask the Zotero guys to change the


You’re right, that is the goal.

It’s just that the Zotero guys have a few of their styles in their own
SVN repo. I’d prefer if in the short-run they move them to mine and
edit them there, but in the long run if we do things right (see
forthcoming message) I guess it shouldn’t matter where it is.