New Zotero Fields: 'Shorthand' and 'Shorthand Intro', as supported in biblatex.

Biblatex and shorthand

Biblatex supports some very useful fields starting with short. Namely,


These are found in (biblatex) package documentation (pdf) page 23, under Section 2.2.1 Data types, available from .

Suggestion for Zotero

Of these Zotero natively supports shorttitle, as "Short Title" in the Zotero UI, at least in the Book item type.

I have a particular need for the shorthand field that might be common enough to warrant including in Zotero natively. If shorthand was to be supported natively in Zotero then the companion field shorthandintro, for notes-bibiolography styles, would also warrant support.

The other short fields I see no need for myself, so I make no suggestion to support those. That is, it might be worth waiting for someone else to make a case for the following, before supporting them ...


Example usage in biblatex

Shorthand citations are useful when you have several works from one author that your (specialist) readers are familiar with.

In an author-year style: it is handy to associate an abbreviation (the shorthand) with your citation to remind readers which title you are referring to.

In a notes-bibliography style: the shorthand facilitates avoiding having to give out the full title (or even short title) for every note (there are contexts in which shorttitle wouldn't be the right solution).

Take a biblatex entry like ...

location = {{Chicago}},
title = {Our {{Knowledge}} of the {{External World}}},
timestamp = {2016-05-26T15:30:41Z},
publisher = {{The Open Court Publishing Company}},
author = {Russell, Bertrand},
date = {1914},
shorthand = {KEW}

... with other entries from Russell that use shorthand.

... and using biblatex in your document .tex preamble like this ...


... we can produce an Abbreviations section (\printshorthands) in our document containing something like ...

KEW Bertrand Russell (1914a). Our Knowledge of the External World. Chicago:
The Open Court Publishing Company, 1914.
NACQ Bertrand Russell (1914b). “On the Nature of Acquaintance”. In: Monist
24 (1914-12-15), pp. 1–16, 161, 435–453.
RSDP Bertrand Russell (1914c). “The Relation of Sense-Data to Physics”.
In: Scientia 16 (1914-05-30), pp. 1–27.

... that Abbreviations section would be in additon the usual References section (\printbibliography).

We can therefore have a citation like ...
... ipsum (KEW, Lecture V, ”The Theory of Continuity”, p. 130).
or, (with the biblatex-chicago package, option cmsdate=on) ...
... ipsum (KEW 1914b, Lecture V, ”The Theory of Continuity”, p. 130).
... and our specialist readers would know this referenced Russell's Our Knowledge of the External World.

Zotero Better Bib(La)Tex

With the Zotero Add-in, Zotero Better Bib(La)Tex, custom fields can be created by leveraging Zotero's Extra field. Therefore fields that Biblatex supports but Zotero doesn't natively export to, such as origdate and shorthand, can be entered in the Zotero Extra field like this ...



However, my suggestion is to make the shorthand field, and the concomitant shorthandintro, native to Zotero.

Alternatively native Zotero support for custom fields would allow end users to enter shorthand and shorthandintro, or any other field, themselves. That is, without having to use a workaround like "Zotero Better Bib(La)Tex".
  • hmmm -- I see why you'd want them (in some cases -- some of the quite rare), but I don't think the BibLaTeX approach is a good fit for the Zotero data model in this case. Remember that Zotero has its own citation style language and its own data model -- just making Zotero conform to the BibLaTeX model isn't going to work.
  • Thanks Adam.

    Might that speak in favour of support for custom fields?

    In any case, without further changes to Zotero, I can get by with Zotero-Better-Bibtex for custom field support.
  • custom fields&types are generally planned, I believe. They're tricky from a usability and a metadata point of view though (how to create, how to exchange/sync, etc.), so I wouldn't expect this to happen super quickly, though Dan was more optimistic last time he chimed in on this.
  • Yeah, there'd be lots to think about when implementing custom fields.

    Good news that it's on the list.

    Thanks again!
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