Ugly URL inserted in Chicago citations imported from JSTOR, etc.

I know that the Chicago Style is slated for some work in the next few days. And was wondering if the URL could be *removed* by default from the output of quick copy for the "Chicago Manual of Style, Note without bibliography style") for Books, Articles, and Book Sections? I import a lot of my references from EBSCO (currently via BibTeX, since the EBSCO translator is down) or JSTOR, and both translators add a URL to the item entry. This then gets inserted into my references when I SHIFT-CTRL-C them into my writing, which I never want.

Or, perhaps we *want* "any item with something in the URL field" to have the URL into the citation (after all some books will have URLs, I guess). That would also make sense, but then it doesn't make sense for the scraper to put something like:<491:AMFTLI>2.0.CO;2-Q

into the URL field of my imported item in the first place (it already gets added as an attached link).

  • Again on the topic of URLs in bibliographic info for print -based materials:

    (1) They are nice to have in your metatda, since you can use Zotero's view button to get quickly to whatever the URL points to: a database record (possibly with fulltext), an online version of the reference, whatever.

    (2) I don't want them in my citations, since most of what I'm doing is all old-school pages-and-binding citation.

    (3) I stick to my original impulse above. Could there somehow be an option to keep URLs *out* of citations of traditional print-based materials. How is it best to do this? (Create 2 versions of every CSL stylesheet? Include a checkbox in Zotero's preferences?)

    (4) At the risk of over-generalizing from my own case, I would suggest that for most non-web applications, citing print-based resources without the URL is still the desired behavior.
  • I think in Chicago the URL is technically not supposed to be included anyway, but I'll have to double-check. The old version of CSL didn't support this, but the new version does. Once we convert the Chicago style to the new format, this should be fixed. For other styles, I can, at the very least, implement a hidden preference to handle this.
  • Very good. Thanks.
  • Chicago style says that for "publications available in both print and electronic forms ... the potential for differences, intentional or otherwise, requires that authors cite the form consulted" (CMS 15th ed.: 17.8). This means that the relevant URL should be included by default.

    I suppose a checkbox-type option could be included if you want to make it optional. It does seem that this is more an issue of scholarly honesty than style per se; if you consult the online version of something, that's the version that should be cited.
  • "The relevant URL should be included by default."

    Yes, but only if that is the version consulted. I'm mainly talking about two use cases:

    1. The metadata is from an online database like EBSCO, and the URL for the database entry is imported into Zotero, but I consult the paper edition. In this case I have the URL but it should not be included.

    2. I have both the metadata and PDF from an online database (like JSTOR). The url to the JSTOR main page for an item (not the PDF itself) in imported. I consult the PDF. In this case perhaps the URL should technially be included but I don't want to do it. And I don't think it's necessary since the PDFs are nearly always scans of the hardcopy pages, or in the case of newer issues, they seem to be the camera ready copy produced for the printers (though they may in fact be proofs). I still want to use the 'old fashioned' way and cite them as if I had used the print edition, since I consider the differences to be negligible.
  • " 'The relevant URL should be included by default.' ... Yes, but only if that is the version consulted. I'm mainly talking about two use cases: "

    I agree that there should be the flexibility to include the URL or not; I was reacting mainly to the comment earlier that "the URL could be *removed* by default". If the URL exists in the record, there is the high possibility that it is relevant to the citation; while it may not be needed in some cases, I think the default should be the other direction, with the *option* to remove the URL. This would prevent leaving out necessary information by accident.
  • Scot: The issue with how URLs are handled is a bug with Zotero, not with the CSL style. It's important to keep in mind that types like book, article and chapter serve as generic fallbacks. So they need to include the URL by default. What Zotero needs to fix is how the translators work such that they by default add links for items in journal databases, rather than populate the URL field.
  • edited September 3, 2007
    Two points:

    1. There should be a preference allowing users to turn off adding link items when importing from online databases. For people who have 10,000+ items every extra item only slows down further an already pretty slow database. Right now I have to manually delete link items when downloading from JStor and Amazon--it would be great if this could be done globally with a checkbox.

    2. Several people on this forum have also asked for a user-defined URL field in the info tab, if the current URL field is set aside for GUID purposes in the future (for example, for a prof to add a url to an article scanned and posted online for students). It would be great if that was possible instead of adding extra link items.
  • edited September 5, 2007
    Bruce: ah, right. That's clear enough. Links to database records shouldn't go in the URL field at all. The field is actually for 'the URL to this item.' Does this mean that a link to a JSTOR pdf (which is, say, a scanned copy of a paper article) should also not go there, since when I cite that entry I mean (very traditionally) to cite the paper version (of which the PDF is a copy). This sounds like an obscure case, but it's actually what I do fairly frequently. I suppose in that case the PDF should only be added as a child link.

    Do I have this right then that (according to the CSL spec) no paper-and-binding items should have anything in the URL field at all, except in the case that (1) they also exist in a web-reachable format and (2) that is the version I want to cite? This of course makes Indi right.

    It is a shame that, as erzalogo says, adding child links slows things down. My database is only 1000 top-level items, but already it's getting painful on my 900MHz thinkpad laptop. (It expands to 1300 items) with children. I'll have to loose some of those less essential child elements eventually, I suppose.

    It sounds like the solution is:

    1. Modifiy the translators and scrapers so that they don't put anything but a URL to the item itself into the URL field. (no links to database entries).

    2. Add a pref to turn off adding child links for items added from databases (to keep database size down)

    3. Add erazlogo's user defined URL field on the Info pane.

    4. Possibly add a pref to turn off URLs in citations, as we discussed above, though it seems like if the CSL spec is followed, we won't need that as badly. (or, Bruce, what do you say?)

    5. Ideally, help us get the links to database entries out of our URL fields. (Global search and replace?, Global field editing?)

  • I just discovered zotero, and I'm interested in getting it to work for me as an endnote replacement. But in running some test citations in word, I've had the jstor url problem mentioned here.

    Has anyone solved this problem yet? This is a real deal-breaker for me.
  • The developers have said they intend to sort this out better, which I'm sure will happen. It's connected to a set of larger issues about how to keep URIs, and what should count as canonical URIs for an item, and how to get your citation style to fall back to intelligent ways of 'pointing' to an item, all while staying within (or nearly within) existing print-based citation styles.

    The solution in the short term is to keep those URLs out of the item's URL field (by manually erasing them, or, if you want to keep them, by putting them in a note). I usually do that as I quickly check the item's metadata just before citing it. That way I only have to do it to the things I actually use. JSTOR's metadata isn't of bad quality, but I've imported heaps from lots of sites, and I rarely have an item where I don't have to fix some little thing. This is just another one, for now.
  • Hmmm That's far too laborious for those of us who have imported large databases from bibtex that have URL fields.

    I just want to add a voice to the "please add some option to control inclusion of optional fields and especially URL in the bibliographic entry" vote. And perhaps revive interest in it.

    NB for many articles the DOI now serves the same purpose and is far more printable.
  • Go to Preferences > Export and uncheck "Include URLs of paper articles in references" - that will take care of JStor articles.
  • Test out the 'Include URL' pref on the Export tab of Zotero preferences, and see if it gives the behavior you want. It has been added since the above discussion.
  • As we used to say, "Jinx erazlogo. You owe me a coke."
  • edited May 13, 2008
    On DOI: APA uses DOI already in citations
  • Thanks for pointing out that option... my problem seems to be that the zotero plugin for word (which I am using here and all comment relates to the citation and bibliographic data inserted by this plugin) isn't honoring it. I'm sure I am up-to-date with the latest official release.

    1. I already had the "include URL" option unchecked in my preferences panel
    2. checking and then unchecking does not alter the behaviour
    3. The URL appears in both the word bibliography (generated by the plugin) and the bibliographic entry generated from the right-click menu in the main zotero interface (in firefox)
    4. The behaviour is not consistent. All entries in my database have a URL field however it is included in the bibliography only for some (unfortunately most).

    Looking more closely there may be some deliberate effort here to use the URL in cases where a publisher (or sufficient identifying information) is thought to be missing. Perhaps my problem comes back to bibtex import.

    Will keep posted. Thanks... sorry about the coke ;-)
  • Looking more closely there may be some deliberate effort here to use the URL in cases where a publisher (or sufficient identifying information) is thought to be missing
    Text below the preference:

    "When this option is disabled, Zotero includes URLs when citing journal, magazine, and newspaper articles only if the article does not have a page range specified."
  • Thanks for pointing that out! I feel blind now :-(

    This is definitely what is going on then as most of my bibtex entries do not contain page numbers. Unfortunately the also often include URL fields which are only relevant on my intranet. Not a typical zotero workflow. I'll have to find a fix somehow.

    On a general note it makes sense to me to have the bibliography style determine whether or not a URL is included and perhaps to have this as an option to the style.

    Can I somehow hack the bibliography style definitions?
  • I know this is an old thread, but I've noticed that this problem still continues for Chicago style -- even when unchecking the "export URLs" option my notes and bibliography still export URLs, even when page numbers are present. How can I fix this?
  • It shouldn't do that and I cannot replicate this. Which Chicago style?
    how does it look in the test panel?
    What item type?
  • a book can't have page numbers (only number of pages, which is different) - so if it has a URL it gets printed.
    If the URL isn't actually to the full text of the book that's a mistake of the translator - it should add a snapshot of the page in question rather than a URL
  • Thank you for clarifying -- much appreciated.
This discussion has been closed.