Standardising (journal) names


For one article (, here's what Google Scholar (referencing NASA ADS) calls the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics:

"Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics"

Here's what ISI Web of Knowledge calls the same journal:


This difference won't do for a serious bibliography, so presently these different names need to be reconciled manually. Inconsistency is also a problem for author names, dates, and presumably various other fields.

It's a tricky problem and I'm not sure I can propose a solution to all these problems. But a feature like the following would go very far: Something like a standard Search+Replace feature, except: It doesn't search for the exact string you type; instead it searches for similar-looking strings in any (or one or more selected) field(s), and matches (and offers to replace (on a one-by-one, user-confirmed basis)) that entire field.

So I would type "Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics" in the Search for box; the Replace with box would default to this same text; I would press the Search button; and I would press the Replace button (or the Skip button) repeatedly.

Here's a different proposal: Allow the user to set up "Rules" so that whenever the string "JOURNAL OF COSMOLOGY AND ASTROPARTICLE PHYSICS" is found in the Journal field, it is automatically (or upon user confirmation) replaced with "Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics".


  • Yes, this is a tricky problem.

    A first step is for Zotero to be able to distinguish full and abbreviated titles.

    Beyond that, the best solution would probably be a simple web service lookup that ties issns, and short and long form titles. This service would be available for any project. I have a big file full of these from the OCLC which could be helpful.

    An alternative is to do the abbreviation algorithmically.
  • Ooh yes I think you're right about a web service; that might be the best solution. Many questions remain: Does the client need to be able to specify local modifications to the list of journal names and abbreviations, like adding a little-known or new journal or abbreviation? Should these be reflected automatically by the web service and offered to future clients?

    Perhaps a simple user interface for this behaviour would be to rename the old "Publication" field to something like "Publication (as cited)", and make a new "Publication" field which is a drop-down list, not a text entry field? Zotero can guess the correct value for this field based on the publication title that the translator scrapes from the source page.

    This tricky problem is important to solve because, as Zotero's item-adding interface becomes increasingly streamlined and its translators become many and polished, this sort of manual housekeeping will, for users like me, become the dominant component of time spent on in-principle automatable tasks.
  • A simpler partial solution to these issues might be to enhance the main list table and the Advanced Search result table so they could display more fields - currently the main list supports about 10 fields, and the search result table only shows Title and Creator.

    This would make it much easier to see (and sort by) any field, and find and correct inconsistencies (in publication, author, place, date, etc). Although for multiple value fields like author a separate list mechanism would be nice.

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