Zotero and Web Service

The Chicago-based style I use (for Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern
Studies) requires the following, which at the moment I have to keep
manually consistent:

  1. “‘Press’, ‘Publisher,’ and similar foreign expressions” should not
    be added to publishers names in extended footnotes and bibliographies,
    except when omitting it would be ambiguous or confusing. so:
    “Cambridge University Press” but “Random House.” This means that when
    an institution of organization has a publishing house, such a word
    gets added (to this style) to distinguish it from the institution
    itself, but in other cases, it is left off.

I need to come up with a name for these kinds of rules, which are
really only designed to make hand-authoring easier, and maybe to
save publication costs a bit.

The problem with supporting this kind of rule is it adds a lot of
complexity for really minimal pay-off.

  1. Capitalization is as we know it with English titles, but with
    foreign language titles, the rule is “Capitalize the first word in the
    title and subtitle and any word thereafter which would be capitalized
    in that language.” (This is only a problem if other styles have
    different requirements, but I woudn’t be surprised to find at least
    some variation on this point which would require complicated CSL
    trickery. Of course complexity is not impossibility. It’s only a
    problem if there are style variations which can’t easily be worked
    into CSL.

In other words, this goes back to the need for some kind of automation
that can handle proper case changes. This is a major PITA, though
admittedly something that would be good to solve…

  1. I also require a colon+space between the title and the subtitle no
    matter what the language (unless there is a question mark). German
    titles, for example, come separated by a period. This one is probably
    not too hard to mechanize.

Ugh, I’d never consider that there might be different title/subtitle
delimiters in different languages. Any scheme of this sort needs to
deal with some funky exceptions, though, like “Some Title as Question?
And a Subtitle”.

It seems like CSL would have to (and perhaps already does) handle
personal names with somewhat more sophistication than Zotero presently
does. Since you need to keep as much of an author’s name is
available, but then you have to be able to abbreviate them correctly
for styles that require abbreviation (ie, not abbreviating, say,
Chinese names, and abbreviating the correct part of Hungarian names.

The approach of CSL is essentially to recognize personal names is a
big, complex, problem, and so it does not make the mistake of
presuming the entire world uses American/Western European name forms.
In essence, CSL leaves it to the application to know how to represent
the name. But it certainly intended to be generic enough at least to
be able to handle the basic distinction between contexts where names
are sorted the way they are displayed (“Mao Zedong”) and those where
they are not (“Doe, Jane”).

But defining how to abbreviate Hungarian names is definitely out of scope :wink:

Some European styles used for humanities use the full list of cities
for the publisher (not just the first like we generally do in English

At the moment I’m glad that item metadata is fully under my control,
so I can keep things the way I need them for the style I most often
use. But that is of course a compromise driven by practicality. I
really do like the idea of getting metadata out of users’ hands. All
of this is probably an argument for rationalizing citation styles, as

We’re all stuck in an unfortunate transitional period: dealing with a
lot of weird baggage from centuries of tradition, and yet having all
the possibilities of automation and collaboration of the 21st century.
That we have literally thousands of different citation styles whose
only purpose is to help us find stuff is frankly stupid. That we have
to collect and edit our own metadata is tedious and unfortunate; I
really hate doing it.

I’ve always said that my goal is that at some point in the
not-too-distant future I never even have to think about citation
styles or metadata. But clearly it’ll be awhile …