[uf-discuss] Easy book citations

Fred Stutzman fred at metalab.unc.edu
Sun Jul 30 15:51:33 PDT 2006

On Sun, 30 Jul 2006, Bruce D'Arcus wrote:

> 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.

I think this misses the point.  At the consumer level, the citation format 
should be transaprent - they should not know what type of citaiton they are 
authoring (do most people understand the RefWorks citiation format? No).

The key is that many systems - web, desktop and machine-to-machine have 
adopted this format.  It will be much easier for CiteULike, CiteSeer, 
Connotea etc to implement with what they already have.

>> 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).

Indeed, it is easy to design a new standard.  It is not easy to get people 
to adopt that new standard.

> 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 is no requirement to follow bibtex strictly.  It seems very 
reasonable to start with an existing standard and iterate upon it.  There's 
no reason why we shouldn't be making it better.

> There really is a better way.
> Bruce
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Fred Stutzman
AIM: chimprawk

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