An issue has come up on the Zotero forums that we’ve traced back to a
possible misunderstanding of the operation of the title-short variable, and
need some guidance.
Here’s the forum thread (the text of my diagnostic note is in this mail,
Okay, here’s what’s happening.
The title-short variable is used in the subsequent reference. Currently,
title-short is set from the Short Title field, so if that field is empty,
you get nothing in the output. They style can be fixed by testing for
variable=“title-short”, and rendering “title” if it is not available.
This behaviour is arguably wrong on the CSL 1.0.1 specification, which
defines the term this way:
title-shortshort/abbreviated form of “title” (also accessible through the
“short” form of the “title” variable)
If the form is used, and no value is
set in the Short Title field, you get the Title field value instead, as a
fallback. Arguably, title-short should behave in the same way.
One of the reasons title-short was introduced in the first place was to
allow testing for the presence of a value in the Short Title field (which
isn’t possible unless there is a first-class CSL variable attached to it).
It’s clear that title-short should test false if Short Title is empty. I’m
not sure whether it should also fall back to the value of the Title field
when an attempt is made to render it; the specification does not say so
explicitly, and it’s a bit of a stretch to read the language above in that
I’ll write to the CSL dev list (xbiblio-devel) for guidance. Meanwhile, the
style can be fixed by testing for title-short, and explicitly calling the
title field when it shows false.
So … is it okay to just treat this variable as an ordinary field that
renders nothing if it is empty? Or should it fall back to title?