Punctuation between title and subtitle

I was wondering if there is a way to change the punctuation between the title and the subtitle. Or do we have to change that manually in the item metadata itself? But: In some cases I prefer a dot, in other cases I need to use a colon. So formatting should be Independent from item metadata.
  • no there isn't, sorry.
  • Thanks for your quick answer.
    That is disappointing, of course.
    Is there any chance that this important feature will be implemented in CSL?
    I think that the formatting should not depend on hacks, such as manipulating metadata.
    But I guess you have had that discussion already?
  • There has been some discussion.

    It's a bit tricky. One issue is that the data doesn't exist anywhere but in library catalogs, so it'd either involve a lot of automated guessing or manual entry, neither of which are good.

    It's partly also an issue of internationalization -- this is a non-issue in English, so CSL's main contributors have just not encountered it very much.
  • edited May 17, 2016
    This is an issue of great interest to me. Often, in the printed version, there is no punctuation between an article title and subtitle. However, some publishers add a punctuation mark between title and subtitle in their metadata. This can be a colon, semicolon, period, or some flavor of hyphen/dash. Sometimes the printed title has punctuation that is omitted in the metadata. Sometimes the title punctuation in the CrossRef metadata differs from the embedded metadata from the publisher's website. Too, I've noticed that within the same journal an article cited in the reference list of an article from a later issue will have title punctuation that differs from the origional.

    I've discussed this informally at conferences with cataloging experts and database curators. For awhile (several years ago) the near concensus was if the subtitle wasn't separated with punctuation in the printed version the two should be separated with a colon. The disagreements related to 1) whether or not there should be a space before and after the colon or only after; and 2) if punctuation should be added only when its absence rendered the title confusing. In more recent years, it has become clear that the addition of a colon is a North American convention and not necessarily universal.

    Further complicating the issue is the practice of several bibliographic databases to _change_ punctuation from that used in the printed version (and consonant embedded metadata) to something else. Could their changing a colon to a dash or vice-versa be a way of marking the record as their own. This strange editorial behavior is often accompanied by joining two words with a hyphen that were not so joined in the origional.
  • Concerning adamsmith's comment: "It's a bit tricky. One issue is that the data doesn't exist anywhere but in library catalogs, so it'd either involve a lot of automated guessing or manual entry, neither of which are good."

    Well, I don't know how Zotero gathers metadata from library catalogues, but at least the Library of Congress clearly uses separate fields or, more precisely, subfields for title and subtitle.


    I am not sure how things work with worldcat on the other hand.

    By the way, I don't think that manual entry (or manual correction of automated guessing) is actually so bad.

    I am also aware of the internationalization issue. Nevertheless, I think that this somehow contradicts csl's goal, as I understand it, that you should not manipulate metadata to achieve certain results, but that everything is done by style settings.
  • right -- you're misunderstanding the phrase "doesn't exist anywhere but", which roughly translates as "gibt es nirgends ausser in Bibliothekskatalogen". So yes, this does exist in LoC and every other library catalog using MARC, but e.g. not for journal articles, which make up the bulk of metadata.

    I'm not saying it wouldn't be nice. I'm just saying it's hard. E.g. it just can't happen unless reference managers have subtitle fields, which neither Zotero nor Mendeley do.
  • edited May 17, 2016
    Oh, my mistake. Must have skipped the "but".
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