Japnaese name order

Zotero grabs the data from Amazon Japan without issue.

However the first and last name are not grabbed correctly due to the fact that they are in the opposite order and perhaps also that there is no space between them. Perhaps there is nothing to be done.
  • There is an annoying convention in Japanese metadata management to split names with a space regardless of the order of the elements, and Amazon Japan appears to have adopted this lazy practice. It "works" only because the names "look right" when the metadata is rendered literally, but as you have discovered it creates all kinds of problems for data exchange. Another shop that does this is CiNII -- in their RDF metadata!

    Setting that rant aside, this could be corrected in the translator, by sniffing the name string for non-roman (and non-Cyrillic, and non-Arabic, and non-punctuation) characters, and reversing the name order in that case. As a note to translator maintainers, there are regular expressions for that purpose in the citeproc-js source code, here.
  • Dear Fbennet

    Thank you. Perhaps one day someone will be so kind as to do what you suggest. In the meantime I am reversing them by hand.

  • The fix will probably go in fairly soon. If no one picks it up in the next week or so, I'll take a look.
  • That is very kind of you, thank you.
  • Having a translator take care of the name order for CiNII records would be very handy. However, CiNII sometimes has the names in the correct order. While most records have the name order problem and will be fixed upon import, there will still need to be some hand editing needed after the records are in Zotero. (That is, of course, much better than hand editing everything.)

    In CiNii, some of the records have author names with Latin characters, even with English language names. Could the trranslator properly handle those?

    This brings me back to an earlier question -- the possibility of an enhancement to allow a button to quickly toggle name order. It is one thing to hand edit name order when all the needed characters are available on my keyboard and quite another if the characters are not.
  • CiNii is a little inconsistent, but mostly the order is "Lastname Firstname" (where, for a bit of extra fun, Lastname might be something like "van Halen"). These can be handled automatically, pretty much. The good thing about CiNii is that they provide multilingual metadata (transliterations of names, translations of titles). MLZ was originally written to capture both forms in a single Zotero item, specifically from CiNii.

    I agree that keyboard shortcuts for switching first and last names, and for pushing characters back and forth between the first and last name fields, would be nice to have. It's on my own list of things to do for MLZ, so if no one beats me to it, I'll be doing something about that eventually.
  • Perhaps I should be using MLZ, seeing as how I am in Japan and use CiNii. Please may I hijack this thread to ask some questions about it.

    Is MLZ likely to be integrated into the main branch any time soon? (That would be ideal. Multilingualism is the future!)
    How long after Zotero releases do you generally update MLZ (I am waiting on 3.04 because it fixes a two byte character issue in file paths.)?
    How likely are you to keep providing this wonderful service in the future? (I used a great multi-language plugin for wordpress, called Gengo, but alas the author stopped upgrading it which meant I'd loose my translations or could not upgrade WP).

    Lately I spend all my time in Zotero since it is better than my operating system (windows) in its ability to associate things together, like research with course slides etc. If Zotero had multi-language functionality, e.g. to give things items two names, that would be another better-than-windows feature. ZDNET headline in 5 years, "Zotero overtakes Microsoft":-)
  • edited March 8, 2012
    The first thing to note with MLZ is that it is not an official Zotero release, and not supported by the core developers. The team are sympathetic to the project: it's just a matter of priorities, limited resources and time allocation.

    There haven't been any public undertakings, but I think it is likely that at least some of the features in MLZ will figure in a future Zotero release. Multilingual field storage has an impact on the data model, and requires significant and rather complex changes to the Zotero UI. While MLZ seems to be running reliably for the people who are using it, the code will need careful review (and probably some significant revision) before it can be integrated into official Zotero. When to commit to that work is a decision for the core team; but assuming no major problems emerge, I do think it will come eventually.

    I've been keeping the MLZ sources level with the Zotero 3.0 development version. Patching in the changes isn't a terrible burden, but I sometimes fall behind by a month or so when I'm busy with other things. The patch you mention hasn't been merged to MLZ yet, but will probably be pulled across in the next few days. Client updates are pushed out immediately, after some cursory testing to check that the client still runs.

    Concerning my own commitment, that's a prudent question to which I've given a bit of thought over the past year. I am (some might say was) a comparative lawyer, and there are two threads to MLZ development: multilingual support, and legal styles. The idea is to work up an environment that can be used by any group of researchers (including the big island that is the legal community) for collaborative research. It's a tall order, in which legal style support is actually the larger burden. It's pretty clear that the effort can't be sustained without establishing an income stream of some sort, with or without integration of the multilingual code into official Zotero.

    To that end, I'll be bringing out a book on the multilingual client and legal styles in August of this year. I'm also toying with the idea of setting up a tip-jar on the project site, and looking at the possibility of setting up a small non-profit here in Japan to hold contributions. It's also important that the tools and styles behind the work be accessible and inviting to other potential developers. Once the first cut of the style development work is out of the way, I'll be doing some cleanup and documentation for that purpose. In the end, we want this to be something that is "too good to fail". :)
  • Thank you very much for your full reply.

    I really need to use MLZ. I think that I will soon. At the moment I am porting mainly English stuff into MLZ but in the longer term I will be attempting to write in Japanese, and use CiNii. Also since I am looking forward to 3.0.4 with the two-byte folder bug zapped, prudence (?me?) suggests I should wait till then.

    In the longer term, as the world gets smaller and smaller, and the Asians become increasingly wealthy and academically creative and yet English is used as an International language, multi-language support is surely going to be essential. As noted elsewhere, it is an area in which Zotero wins against the competition.

    I wonder if I could get my university to contribute. I have had them contribute to another OS project but that was by commission a feature that we needed. I'd first need to get faculty hooked on Zotero. If you have any ideas my emails is on nihonbunka.com. But, alas, its cuts all round at the moment.

    I look forward to using MLZ.

    Thanks again.

  • The swap first and last name button would be real handy since all my Japanese names are backwards.
  • The problem with CiNii isn't that all names are reversed but that MOST are. Thus, this makes it impossible for a translator to work its magic and highlights the value of a way to toggle authors (button or right-click option).
  • Sorry, yes, I agree. Not all names are backwards.
  • Names from Amazon Japan are still all backwards alas.

    CiNii names are sometimes backwards so that swap button would still be a great help.
  • Name swapping has been implemented in MLZ.
  • Thank you Prof Bennett

    And Sorry. Despite being upbeat above, I never got around to moving to MLZ, the biggest reason being I have a database with 1355 items and I am a little scared to move, when especially your site says

    "but if you have an existing database that you use for important projects, it should be installed in a separate profile"

    I am not sure of the meaning of "profile" but I don't want two of anything. If I want just one database, should I uninstall SL Zotero first? Are there instructions anywhere for moving an existing database into MLZ, and how confident should I be that all will go well?!

  • By the way, I hope my post did not sound rude above. I abbreviated your salutation....It does not read well.

    I really do want to use MLZ but I am scared of:
    1) database issues at change over, and ignorance of the change-over process.
    2) less adaptation and compatibility to the ever on-ward march of Firefox.

    Somehow I seem to upgrade Firefox even without intending to do so and some of my add-ons take a while to become compatible. I can take that with my other add-ons but Zotero is essential.

    I really really wish that Zotero would take on you and MLZ as part of the main branch.

    I really need to bite the bullet but remain scared.
  • I'm pretty sure 1) isn't a concern, but will let Frank say - 2) certainly isn't. Frank's MLZ builds continuously pull the updates made to Zotero.
  • Alas Amazon.co.jp records (and very probably other Japanese sources) imported with the names reversed.

    Is there any chance of correcting this, or adding a name swapping button on Zotero?
  • There is now a (wonderful) name toggle with 4.06! Right click on the name either of the name fields.
  • Thank you! I had not noticed, durr.

    That is great.
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