Need to italicize part a title

Frequently in the humanities, the title of a book appears within the title of a journal article. The book title needs to be italicized in the citation or bibliography. E.g., if an article is titled, "Moral Obligation in Milton's Paradise Lost," the title "Paradise Lost" needs to appear in italics. If this is currently possible, or someone has a workaround to implement it, please comment. If not, then this is a feature request.
  • The same is true for all biological sciences where taxonomic species names must be italicized in titles of bibliographic references.

    In addition, subscript, superscript, and greek characters occur frequently within the title of references.
  • Subscript and superscript numbers and greek characters work fine in Zotero, as they're all unicode characters. Non-numeric (sub|super)script doesn't work, though.
  • I agree--I have a lot of titles with italics in them. It would be nice to apply the same rich-text or wiki-style markup that is being planned for use in notes to titles as well.
  • This is a tricky issue that has implications for a lot of things (import/export format, formatting. UI, notes, etc.). I'd say in general use unicode wherever possible (super/sub-scripts), but for the other stuff (species, titles-within-titles, etc.) it would indeed be nice to have a forward-looking and comprehensive approach.
  • There might be a danger of building too comprehensive a solution on this one. Just handling italics (since super/subscripting is already there with Unicode) would go a long way toward taking a good chunk of EndNote business. Maybe a phased approach would work here.
  • Here are some example records from my scientific discipline. While half of these records can be displayed correctly using Unicode characters, the other half can not (if I'm not mistaken).

    Using Unicode wherever possible is good (IMHO), for the other stuff (such as italics) I'd prefer a simple markup language (which could be also used for notes). Markdown comes to mind here, unfortunately Markdown does not support sub/super-script, which would be nice to have for sub/super-scripted letters. Another approach would be to use semantic markup, which bdarcus was probably referring to. I'd like that approach as well.
  • Matthias -- yes, I'm thinking primarily that a user ought to be able to say this piece of a text is a title, or a species name, rather than that just just allow any rich text anywhere.

    But that gets to questions of input/output. How does a user encode that information, and how is it preserved on export and so forth?

    On the latter, I see two options: some wiki-markup-like subset where the title or species name is still just string (a simple RDF property), or just encode it in XHTML as an XML literal in the property, where you just have spans with classes like "title" and "species-name" and so forth. My hunch is the second is better and more flexible.
  • Chicago Manual of Style 15 discusses these issues at 8.175, 8.184, 8.187, 8.191, 17.58, and 17.157.

    The issue comes up, as we've noted, with titles within titles and species/genus names, but also foreign words and the names of ships.

    Chicago makes it clear that how these are treated typographically depends on the context. For example, sometime a title within a title is italicized, but sometimes it should be left roman and placed inside quotation marks.

    So if a string had a tag such as "title", "shipname", "foreign" or "speciesgenus" it could get formatted appropriately when used in footnotes or bibliographies (and their various versions) and differently when being output to a database.

    I guess that means inputting can create an insurmountable problem. If a string in a title has quotation marks, we can't know whether the enclosed string is a title or something that should remain as a string with quotation marks (if in fact there can be such cases).
  • mccaskey: right, this is why it's better to use semantic coding (what the span of text means) rather than presentational (what it looks like).
  • Indeed. I was just trying to add to the argument that the "forward-looking and comprehensive approach" needs to involve semantic markup and just recognizing that this all will be, as said, "a tricky issue."

    In the short-term, I am putting and in my titles and have added the following lines to the ZoteroInsertFormattedText function in (right after tagIndex = -1).

    While InStr(text, "")
    backslashIndex = InStr(text, "")
    text = Left$(text, backslashIndex - 1) & "\i " & Mid$(text, backslashIndex + 3)
    While InStr(text, "
    backslashIndex = InStr(text, "
    text = Left$(text, backslashIndex - 1) & "\i0 " & Mid$(text, backslashIndex + 4)

    It's a hack, but it seems to get me out of a jam. I'm trying to use Word and Zotero to write an actual publication-ready article for a history-of-philosophy journal and seeing if I can push through any obstacles. If I couldn't find a workaround on this, I was going to be stuck back with EndNote.

    Thanks for Zotero and for listening to feedback from early users! Congratulations.
  • Oops. That didn't look right. I forgot to HTML-encode my angle brackets. Apologies.

    That should have said:

    In the short-term, I am putting <I> and </I> in my titles and have added the following lines to the ZoteroInsertFormattedText function in (right after tagIndex = -1).

    While InStr(text, "<I>")
    backslashIndex = InStr(text, "<I>")
    text = Left$(text, backslashIndex - 1) & "\i " & Mid$(text, backslashIndex + 3)
    While InStr(text, "</I>")
    backslashIndex = InStr(text, "</I>")
    text = Left$(text, backslashIndex - 1) & "\i0 " & Mid$(text, backslashIndex + 4)
  • Note: you might run into a problem with that approach if you export it to RDF/XML, since you'll end up with:

    <dc:title>A <i>title</i></dc:title>

    ... which won't be valid. Come to think of it, it would probably break validity for any XML export.

    If that might be an issue for you, it would be safer to use a non-XML solution like the wiki-markup _title_?

    Good luck.
  • Bruce: Special entities are escaped automatically in XML export. (We couldn't have export produce broken output any time anyone had an ampersand in a title...)

    For semantic markup, I think using span/class makes the most sense. Ideally, I'd like to solve this problem in a way that kept users from needing to enter the markup by hand (and instead, say, highlighting a block of text and using context menu options prepopulated with various semantic descriptors), but that would be considerably more involved to implement and, frankly, I've never seen WYSIWYG markup editing that actually really worked after the first edit. (At the very least, if we did do that, we would still need a manual mode.) It might be nice to have that as a goal, especially for notes, but to start, at least, this will probably just be by hand.

    Some questions:

    1) Is there a fixed set of semantic descriptors ('title', 'species-name', etc.), and/or is there a generic fallback style for unknown classes?

    2) Do we still support <i> and other presentational HTML tags in metadata fields?

    2.5) At least for notes, we probably do need to support WYSIWYG HTML. How is semantic markup handled in notes, and what special behaviors (linking to other items, etc.), if any, does it have? Bruce began to talk about this a little on another thread. This is a non-trivial problem and ultimately is probably related to the sorts of URI issues that Bruce brought up on the dev list.

    3) To what extent are the CSL style rules followed within Zotero itself? I don't think the items list even supports rich text (at least, granularly--I think you can just style a whole cell), so that's probably out. The metadata table could be made to work, but it might make sense to just default to italics for any <span>, since we probably don't want to run every field through the CSL engine, and, of course, the formatting would be style-specific.

    Semantic metadata fields and HTML in notes should be able to happen pretty soon once we resolve these issues. Truly semantic/relational markup in notes is a more difficult problem and is probably a bit further down the line.
  • edited April 8, 2007
    Dan: yup, it's one of those non-trivial-but-critical-fork-in-the-road kind of issues, encompassing GUI challenges, as well other issues like formatting, data storage, exchange.

    To answer your questions:

    1) The most common issues I'm aware of in titles are math markup (though David Carlisle once told me he thought MathML was not needed for titles, and that unicode could cover that; not so for abstracts), inline titles, phrases/quotes, latin species names.

    So I think it is possible to identify a small handful of semantic terms, and we already use informal markup to indicate quotes. But you could also imagine user-defined tag terms also.

    2) No. Or at least, I only think you should consider that as a last resort.

    2.5) To me what is most critical in notes is being able to distinguish my commentary from exerpted/quoted content (quotes/blockquote), and to be able to identify from where that content came from (page number, for example; though with tools like Zotero, you could imagine that becomes less relevant, and other ways of specifying location within a document will become more critical).

    To me, anything else (emphasis, lists, etc.) would be gravvy I could live without.

    3) While I've been thinking about this issue before and it's come up, to be honest, it's not supported in CSL. But obviously my thinking on this is tied to that in part. I'd rather have rules like "if the title within a title is an article, surround with parenthesis, else italicize" rather than to tie this to presentation (which would be really hard I think, and probably unreliable).

    This is tricky though. It's weakly supported in existing formats, or not at all. You can support inline (say XHTML) markup in RDF, but it requires changes (rdf:parseType="Literal" on the properties). You cannot support in it MODS, and would have to strip the markup.

    In any case, all of this is to say it's one of those big issues that bears further community discussion (maybe with the more technical discussion on the dev list, and user requirements more here).
  • 1) For titles, add:
    Foreign words. This is very common in some disciplines, such as mine, history.
    Ship names. I'd never have thought of it, but if Chicago says it, it must be so.
  • I suppose an easy approach is just to allow cite and em with optional classes. That would degrade well for display, but still include semantics. Imagine:

    <dc:title rdf:parseType="Literal">
    <x:div>Some <x:em class="species-name">foo</x:em> and <x:cite>title</x:cite></x:div>

    In that case, a web browser would typically display it correctly without any extra work, and there's enough there to reliably transform it into other output.

    Maybe not ideal, but something along those lines.
  • I don't understand much of this thread so I just wonder if there's a simple method to get italics in titles yet? That is crucial for me if I am to use zotero as pretty much everything I cite has a species namne in it.

  • edited March 13, 2008
    I've turned on AutoFormat of _italic_ in MS word 2008. However nothing happens in the bibliogrphy list unless I oush the AutoFormat now button. When I do this the words not only turns italic but the font changes to calibri (bold). In addition all line breaks in the documents are removed.

  • edited June 25, 2008
    As there seems to be some activity in Trac (, I would like to point out some of the peculiarities of people working in the life sciences. We frequently use super- and subscript text as well as smallcaps in titles, so it would be very helpful if Zotero would allow users to also format titles in this way.

    Some examples:


    Non-numeric subscript

    Non-numeric superscript
  • I'd like to second the need for italics within the title of an article. This is a real problem, since Autoformat does not seem to work in footnotes, so there's no work-around here. (If someone knows a way to get _italics_ to work in footnotes, please let me know!)
  • Any progress on this? I too have a lot of scientific names in the titles of my citations and it's going to mean a lot of manual work for me to fix them in my bibliography later on. I don't know if a rich-text editor is necessary in the short-term. I'd just like some kind of tag I could insert into the titles that would be recognized and converted into italics in the bibliography, such as <i></i>. Thanks.
  • @tasmonia

    The current citation engine in Zotero is being rewritten, and hopefully should be finished in a couple of months. It should come with rich text support for titles. If you don't have the time to wait (I hadn't), you can use HTML tags in the mean-time. It works fine for me. See:
  • Just to up...
    Is that function available?
    I need italics in many title...
  • @giby,

    Rich text formatting is working in a new CSL processor built for use in Zotero. It hasn't been deployed yet, but if you use the solution that Rintze links to above, your data will very likely carry over smoothly when the Z version with rich text support in the title field arrives.
  • Here's what I've managed to come up with, after hours of struggling (I figure it'd be a waste not to share).
    This is for OpenOffice Writer, but if you know about Wildcards (Microsoft Word) you can probably adapt it accordingly. Don't know enough about the equivalent for WordPerfect.

    I use the character "/" in the Zotero item to delimit parts of titles that need to be italicized. This may or may not work for you, depending on whether or not you will use the / character elsewhere just as part of your document. The trick here: find a keyboard character you NEVER WOULD HAVE USED OTHERWISE, like maybe "~".

    In OpenOffice Writer:

    1) Create a mock text, e.g.,

    /This is a test and/ this text is outside of the slashes.

    2) Tools-->Macros-->Record Macro (if "Record Macro isn't there, check out this page:

    3) Ctrl + F to open Find and Replace

    4) Click on the "More" button, and check the box next to "Regular expressions"

    5) In the "Search for" box, enter "/(.*)/" (without the quotes)

    6) Put your cursor in the "Replace with" box, then click "Format." On the "Font" tab, under "Typeface," select "Italic". Click "OK."

    7) Click inside the "Replace with" box again, and enter "$1" (without the quotes)

    8) Click "Replace All". A confirmation window opens, saying "Search key replaced # times," where # is the number of times the change was made. Click "Ok" to close this window.

    9) Uncheck the "Regular expressions" box, then click "Close."

    10) Click "Stop Recording" on the Recording Macro window.

    11) Give your macro a name you'll remember and click "Save." (I have it under "My Macros." I don't know if it'd be better to put it under " Macros" or not; I leave that question to someone more technically advanced than I.)

    12) Now, to assign the keyboard shortcut: Go to Tools-->Customize. Select the "Keyboard" tab. In the "Shortcut Keys" window, choose the keyboard shortcut you'd like to use (I use Alt+I), In the bottom half of the window ("Functions"), under "Category," scroll all the way down, and expand " Macros." Expand "user," then "Standard," and your macro should be there. Highlight it, and click "Ok>'

    13) You should now be good to go. Enter some more mock text, e.g. "/This is another test/ and this text is outside the slashes, hit your keyboard shortcut, and see if it changes the text to italics. If it does, it will also work without a problem with any footnotes or endnotes you've created with Zotero that use the /.../ to delimit the portion of the title that needs to be italicized.

    Of course, every time you "refresh" your citations, it'll change the italics back to /.../, and you'll need to hit your keyboard shortcut again. But this'll do the trick.

    Hope this helps someone!
  • Update:

    All right, in case anyone has tried my solution above (again, this is for OpenOffice Writer), here's an important caveat that I just discovered. Recording the above steps as a macro omits the step of selecting "Italics" in the "Replace" box. In other words, what seems to matter is not whether you select "Italics" for "Replace" while RECORDING the macro; what matters is whether, at the time you EXECUTE the macro, the "Italics" attribute is STILL active for the "Replace" box, were you to hit CTRL + F. If you record the macro, use it successfully several times, and at some point down the road do another find/replace where you remove the Italics attribute from the Replace box, the macro will no longer work (that is to say, it will run, removing your special characters around the text you want italicized, but the text will remain in normal font).

    I have tried everything I can think of to fix this (e.g., re-recorded the macro where I SELECTED the Italics attribute, and then DE-selected it with "No format" while still recording), but to no avail. I know very, very little about programming macros, working within the code. If someone who does know how to code macros knows of a solution to this, I for one would appreciate very much to hear it. As things are, I'm going to have to remember to do a mock find/replace, and set the replace box to Italics, before actually running the macro.
  • You should use the markup used in the post instead because then you will be more safe in the future
  • When I auto-import references directly from the publishers website, I often get italic-style-tags in the title like the following:

    A decision analysis of flow management experiments for Columbia River mountain whitefish (<i>Prosopium williamsoni</i>) management

    Atlantic salmon <i>Salmo salar</i> L., brown trout <i>Salmo trutta</i> L. and Arctic charr <i>Salvelinus alpinus</i> (L.): a review of aspects of their life histories

    Any chances that Zotero will be able to handle this correctly by using italic font for the words in between the tags? From the discussion above I am not sure what the answer is... Thank!.
  • As I understand the new CSL-version will. For now, you should use these htlm-tags and use the macro that can be found here
  • Is there any roadmap-date for resolving this issue?

    Because, honestly, I think it is ridiculous that this problem has not yet been solved.

    I love Zotero, and I'm using it actively every day, but this issue has been raised in the pre-beta days and we still depend on ugly workarounds. I know dozens of academics who have given Zotero a try and immediately stopped the moment they realized that there was no support for something as simple as a title within a title. It's extremely off-putting to anyone working in literature (e.g.), and the Zotero-developers seem to realize this.

    Honestly, with all the features of version 2, I was sure that this was coming as well - it seems much more important than most other features (e.g. sync) for which easy workarounds existed before. I hate complaining with free products, but I am concerned that this is still a problem.

    Just putting on some pressure. This really should have highest priority, and you really should be able to put a date on it. Let me just show you how this looks from a user's perspective:

    Apr 8th 2007: "Semantic metadata fields and HTML in notes should be able to happen pretty soon"
    Jun 26th 2009: "the weather report says "pretty far along"
    Jul 27th 2009: "The current citation engine in Zotero is being rewritten, and hopefully should be finished in a couple of months. It should come with rich text support for titles."
    Sep 6th 2009: "The main thing at the moment is to get the existing solution out there so we can get some feedback."
    Feb 10th 2010: "Rich text formatting is working in a new CSL processor built for use in Zotero. It hasn't been deployed yet."

    It's like a constant promise that isn't being fulfilled (and I know that I've simplified many of the above comments by taking them out of their context).

    Is anyone assigned to work on this? Can you give us a hunch of a date?
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