Multiple in-text citation patterns

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  • @bwiernik comments "3) Author (Year) formatting could be accomplished by Zotero without changes to CSL by having a function to insert two Zotero citations next to each other in text—one author-only and one suppress-author."

    I think this is a good solution in part because, assuming you can type in the space between fields, it makes it very easy to deal with the variations such as those mentioned by @djross3:

    "1. Separating the name from the date by some distance: "Author has argued that science is good (YYYY:1)."
    2. Adding possessive formatting: "Author's (YYYY) important argument that...."."

    You can just put the cursor between the two citation fields and type whatever else you need there, and the sentence would update correctly if you needed to change the spelling of the Author's name or something.

    This solution would thus allow for dealing with variations *without* having to manually enter two separate citations for what is really a reference to one item.
  • In absence of specifying an “out-of-parentheses” format for numeric styles, there could be a default author macro
    So this would have to be implemented in citeproc-js for name-only citations for numeric styles, right?

    @fbennett, does that sound reasonable to you?
  • Yes, that macro would need to be implemented for numeric styles. @adamsmith would note styles use that default macro or instead use the existing citation footnote format?
  • Dear developers and power volunteers,

    I wanted to add my voice to the discussion to highlight that there are a number of users that would benefit from an improvement in this area. I depend in most of my manuscripts on the tricky APA style. I hope progress can be made sooner rather than later. Thanks for your work!
  • I'm afraid we're waiting for @fbennett, the developer of the citation processor, to move forward here.

    Here's the ticket: https://github.com/zotero/zotero/issues/1580
  • Hi all, sorry for the long hiatus. I've picked up the issue, and done some initial work on test fixtures with an experimental fork of the processor. After some confused musing on my part, I posted some test fixtures that illustrate how the processor might handle citations like this using separate "citation" objects for the author-only and suppress-author parts of the reference. The examples are listed in the issue opened by @dstillman, starting here.
  • Thanks for working on it! I've looked over the discussion there, and I'm hesitant to jump into this again, but in case it is helpful here are some brief thoughts. I've been testing this approach for a while (with my own hacked together Word macro to accomplish something similar):

    1. All that is required for basic functionality is author-only cites.
    2. For convenience having a special Author (YYYY) variant, as a single cite, makes editing faster in longer documents, and makes later revisions to the cite much easier too. For that reason I added one to my macro as a secondary feature. You discuss in that thread how to link up two different fields (one author-only and one suppress-author), and that seems very complex (but great if you can do it). An alternative is to not try to link up separate fields, when they are separated. Instead, just also allow the special Author (YYYY) variant, which will actually be the most common form, though not without exceptions. I imagine this requires a little more work in the UI, but wouldn't require any additional back end changes, just concatenating the author-only and suppress-author forms. One cite is better than two if possible, just not flexible for formatting. Tradeoff is adding more to the UI.
    3. Regarding the question of multiple-item cites and which author names appear outside, I concur that it doesn't even make sense conceptually to try to get multiple names out of multiple citations. So just the first author works, and my macro just ignores any multiple-item cites. In the case of multiple works by the same author (or co-authored works, as mentioned there), I've just been separately citing the first work by the first author as author-only, regardless of whatever multiple items are contained in the following multiple-item cite with suppress-author (or not, for following items with co-authors). I haven't run into any conceptual limitations with this approach.
    4. Optional: finally, I added one extra feature to my macro for my own usage, because of the rare need to suppress parentheses (see earlier suggestions in this thread about that). It's of much less importance than the author-only option, but comes up once in a while. (To accomplish this, I just add extra parentheses to the prefix/suffix, and my macro looks for any doubled parentheses and removes them.) Obviously a UI checkbox would be helpful there. Since in the other thread you suggested addressing all issues now, this is a minor one to consider.

    I hope that's helpful, and otherwise good job looking into all of the complex issues like with ibid.
  • edited January 29, 2019
    Thanks for working on it!
    You're welcome! I'm pretty sure that I've resolved the back-reference issues that I flagged in the linked discussion, and the core team are looking into the details of the UI. There are some tricky problems at that end, so it might take some time, but we may see progress on this feature.
  • So after playing around with the Word Processors Zotero supports, having an author-only cite be a an active Field is a step that will inevitably lead to problems in support. When storing cites as Bookmarks in Word and LibreOffice you are unable to return back to the end of a cite (e.g. Smith) to edit it (e.g. Smith's) without changing the bookmark positions and thus corrupting/modifying the citation. When storing as Fields in Word, and in Google Docs this is not a problem, but ReferenceMarks in LibreOffice are also affected. So we cannot provide any good experience with author-only cites in LibreOffice or in Word and LibreOffice when using bookmarks. This is a limitation of Word processors, not Zotero, but the user support burden would eventually fall on us and so we are reluctant to allow author-only cites.

    We wanted to bounce some ideas with the community. We're currently thinking of supporting active citations in "Smith (2001)" format for non-note styles, or inserting author name as plaintext when an "author outside parentheses" citation is desired, or possibly both. The first variant leaves the note styles with no solution, but in-text style citations will get updates for the author name when/if it changes in Zotero, while the second variant supports note styles, but Zotero item author name change won't be reflected in the document.
  • edited January 29, 2019
    This is a limitation of Word processors, not Zotero, but the user support burden would eventually fall on us and so we are reluctant to allow author-only cites.
    Just to expand on this, it's not just the support burden — it's that would produce real bugs and/or unexpected behavior that would lead to significant frustration or confusion, such as broken documents, prompts about modified citations, and citations that don't update despite being fields (which is a big part of the reason for implementing this in the first place).
    We're currently thinking of supporting active citations in "Smith (2001)" format for non-note styles, or inserting author name as plaintext when an "author outside parentheses" citation is desired, or possibly both.
    I think offering an active "Smith (2001)" option without author-only would only be inviting people to modify citations in-doc, leading to the same prompts and non-updating we're trying to avoid. I also think it would be confusing to have authors outside of parentheses only sometimes be active, particularly since most people don't have field shading set to "always".

    So I think for environments where we can't do this properly, automatically inserted plain text outside of parentheses is the best option. While it doesn't address all of the concerns in this thread, it addresses what seems to be the most important one, which is the current, error-prone need to retype author names for these common citation formulations.

    If it's possible to get a better experience in Word fields mode — which is almost certainly our most popular environment — as well as Google Docs, it may be worth implementing the additional modes just for that, converting to plain text in situations where the other modes would cause probnlems (e.g., when switching to bookmarks). I'll defer to others on how feasible that would be.
  • edited January 29, 2019
    Ah, that's unfortunate.

    1. Why not disable these additional features in bookmarks mode? Why would users continue to choose to use that mode, when it is known to have bugs or sometimes become corrupted? If it's just backwards compatibility, I don't see why it would need to get these new features, but maybe I'm missing something.

    2. Automatically inserting a plain-text name doesn't seem worth it:
    So I think for environments where we can't do this properly, automatically inserted plain text outside of parentheses is the best option. While it doesn't address all of the concerns in this thread, it addresses what seems to be the most important one, which is the current, error-prone need to retype author names for these common citation formulations.
    I think I could copy and paste faster, or just type it out faster, if it's not going to be automatically updated anyway. I know some users do care about having it inserted automatically with the correct spelling (I'm among them) but that in itself doesn't seem like a large gain, compared to having it remain an active field that will be updated later too. That's why it's so important to me. Some of my names DO change when I realize there's a better way to cite a paper, or that there was a typo in my Zotero library to begin with.
    (By the way, as an aside:
    ...since most people don't have field shading set to "always".
    I think that's unfortunate, because I actually find fields highlighting to be very useful as a way to skim a document for cites. In fact, this is one reason that I want author-only cites added, so that I can see where my cited names are, in addition to cited years/pages. It helps me organize my writing, in addition to formatting the citations.)

    3. What about an infix solution then?
    I think offering an active "Smith (2001)" option without author-only would only be inviting people to modify citations in-doc,...
    The author-only workaround was always a bit awkward, but just working with what we had. So instead of that, why not allow "Smith [...] (2001)" where the [...] text can be inserted in Zotero as an infix? This is slightly harder to explain to users, but it would cover almost all possible use cases, and it would actually be better than author-only cites because each time you'd end up with just one cite.
  • I just stumbled onto this thread. I'm glad to see people are at work on this issue. I strongly agree that authors' names should be generated via the style module in Author (Date) style, but I also think that allowing for the suppression of the date could be useful. In author-date styles, you don't need to repeat the date if the paper has been cited in the same paragraph, but you might well want to use the authors' names. E.g. « Smith, Jones, and Kirk (1942) said...but when you compare Smith et al.'s statement to that of... », where all of « Smith, Jones, and Kirk (1942) » and « Smith et al. » are generated by the style module.

    Also, the issue of conversion from numbered to author-date is indeed thorny, but what would be wrong with having a tick mark for a citation that would tell the style module to insert the authors's names in numbered mode? This would convert “Smith, Jones, and Kirk (1942) said » into « Smith, Jones, and Kirk[23] said ». Or instead of a separate tick mark, just always do that in numbered modes when the authors are outside of the parentheses, including when the date is suppressed as described in the preceding paragraph (you'd also need to be able to suppress the number in that case).
  • Additional thoughts:

    1. Is there any way in Word to make fields un-editable? In principle, this would also solve the problem of users editing cites manually, and the annoying (but necessary) warning that pops up. If the cites could be automatically formatted in any way necessary, it would mean there's no need to allow that. Likewise, it would probably help to avoid the document-corruption risk mentioned above, right?

    2. Instead of creating two cites next to each other for Author (YYYY), here's another suggestion for how to approach this conceptually, which would still allow for anything needed:
    1) Add "suppress parentheses"
    2) Add "suppress author"
    3) Add "infix" option to go between author and year (which could include a 'moved' open parenthesis ()
    The downsides:
    1) That's less intuitive than what we've already discussed (but it does allow for all permutations)
    2) It might require reworking the whole approach to cites in CSL (to allow infixes, etc.), so maybe that's a non-starter

    Anyway, just mentioning these ideas. If there's a better way to continue, no need to try these.
  • @djross The details of this solution have been pretty much worked out by Frank and Adomas.
  • OK, thanks!
  • Grateful to see folks have already brought this up and are working on it! My clumsy work around has been to add an in-text citation at the end of my word doc and change the font color to white so that the citations pop up in my bibliography. Look forward to hearing about how this progresses in terms of a more elegant solution :o)
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