[uf-discuss] Easy book citations

Bruce D'Arcus bdarcus.lists at gmail.com
Sun Jul 30 14:42:26 PDT 2006

On 7/30/06, Fred Stutzman <fred at metalab.unc.edu> wrote:

> Well, of course it isn't the overwhelmingly dominant bibliographic/citation
> format

It's not even close. If you ask 100 people in my field about BibTeX,
my guess is at least 90 of them of them won't even know what you're
talking about. Of course, a lot of them probbaly manually author their
bibliographies (!), but still RIS and Endnote are perhaps even more
widely supported formats for personal reference management. Both of
those formats are based on a more general three level model.

> Of course, we can dream up blue-sky scenarios on how to make a better
> citation format.  I'm sure we can do better.  But if we do, we miss the
> boat and lose the collective value of all the software that would natively
> support the format.

Regardless of the end result, you will need software to convert from
legacy formats into and out of hCite. There is no way around that.

I've done enough work on this stuff -- and worked with other
developers; people like Chris Putnam on his excellent bibutils
converion tools -- to tell you that it's pretty easy to design a a
good format that will be easy to use, extend, and process. Nothing
"blue sky" about it. And it won't be hard to convert into and out of
BibTeX either (except, of course, where BibTeX's limited data
structure gets in the way).

But if you follow the BibTeX way strictly (where all properties are
single values) you will end up with an hCite tha is liimited, and
akward to extend. Every time someone needs to represent a different
kind of resource, they'll have to go through some complicated
community consensus process just to get their new ttitle, etc.
propreties authorized.

There really is a better way.


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