Proper way to use conference name and proceedings title

Hey everyone. I think this question is better explained with an example. I have a paper that was published in the "Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Learning Representations".

In my conference papers, what information should I put in the fields Conference Name and Proceedings Title? Is the conference name "International Conference on Learning Representations" or "Sixth International Conference on Learning Representations"?

And how about the proceedings title? "Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Learning Representations"? It feels like I am copy-pasting a lot of duplicated info in these fields.

I am mostly a BibTeX/BibLaTeX user, so my question may boil down to what contents are expected to be present in the corresponding fields in a bib file.
  • This is a good question, one I've had too.

    Zotero actually has two different entries for conference papers: (1) 'Presentation' should be used for the talk (or poster, etc.) itself, and then the conference name is important; and (2) 'Conference paper' should be used for a published paper in conference proceedings (but not just for a presentation). (This is confusing and I was informed about it on the forums recently: )

    So given that, I have no idea why the "Conference name" field exists in the 'Conference paper' type. ("Meeting name" is used instead for 'Presentation'.) I've just been ignoring it. As I said, your question is a good one. I wonder if there's some reason that field exists.
  • Like djross says, you should use Presentation for unpublished conference papers, and reserve Conference Paper for papers that are formally published as part of a conference proceedings book or website. Most styles will use the Proceedings Title field when citing a conference paper and that should contain “Proceedings of the annual conference of the Society for Research” or whatever. The Conference Field is used by a very small number of styles and should contain the name of the conference itself, even if it is fairly redundant with the Proceedings Title field.
  • Be aware, however, that some proceedings are treated as a serial with one issue per year. These "journals" have an issn. Some journal publishers like these cited as journal articles.
  • edited October 16, 2018
    Having conference proceedings as a special item seems somewhat bizarre to me. If they have ISSNs and repeat each year, cite like journals. Otherwise (or in general if you wish), cite like a chapter in an edited volume. Although that distinction might be nice to have available on a by-style basis (whether they want the first type treated like journals or not), it isn't clear to me how having the separate conference proceedings type helps with that. Now, there are also some informally published proceedings that don't quite seem to meet the rigor of being a "published book", so I'll catalog those as conference proceedings, but the choice really ends up being arbitrary, and the citation looks about the same (in many styles anyway).

    It's still unclear to me, though, why the "Conference name" field exists, since it doesn't address any of that. A clever workaround would be to check if there is an ISSN and in that case treat the "Conference name" variable as if it's a journal title and format the whole thing like an article, but there's no "ISSN" variable, just ISBN.

    And then for any citation style that does use both the "Conference name" and "Proceedings title" values in the same bibliographic entry, that would be repetitive. Or, if not, then you'd need to format your Zotero entries such that it would not be repetitive, thus breaking the styles that only use one of the fields (by not having full information).

    The only way this makes sense is if "Conference paper" is a single type of item that is in some styles treated separately from a book chapter, but never like a journal article. I don't know how many styles like that exist, but regardless it leaves the issues above open.

    Sorry for this somewhat off-topic ramble. But I've been confused by these categories for a long time, and it seems others are too.

    Returning to the original question, I'd also like to know, if I am to insert a "Conference title", whether it should be the name of the conference (like "Science Conference") or the specific event for that year (like "10th Meeting of the Science Conference 2018"). Especially with such opaque types, having a user guide to how to add items would be useful. Is there one that I'm not aware of that goes into these nuances?
  • This issue is one of the few times that you may need to select the Zotero item type based upon what the requirements of your target journal. One example : The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society has a conference each year that results in a multi-volume proceedings. This Proc. Human Factors Ergnom Soc has an ISSN so many journals want to receive manuscripts that treat it like a journal source. However, some journals want items from the proceedings cited as a paper from a conference proceedings book because the proceedings books also have ISBNs (some years each volume has its own ISBN but other years all volumes share a single ISBN). Each of the volumes can contain about 1000 pages. Some years the pagination is continuous throughout all volumes while other years pagination restarts with each volume. All papers have an alphanumeric label -- some journals require this identifier lable included while the requirements of other journals exclude it.
  • Indeed! Very complicated and confusing.

    But does it make sense to have a special "Conference proceedings" type in Zotero at all, especially if this type of item (understandably) violates the principle of not making entries specific to any particular style?
  • edited October 16, 2018
    [double post due to connection issue]
  • Yes, many styles have specific requirements that differ between journal articles, chapters, or conference papers. The solution to the confusion you mention would be to add serial-like fields to the Conference Paper item and for styles to be written more flexibly to accommodate both book-like and serial-like conference papers.
  • Maybe I can add a little information as to why my question came to be.

    I use a very infamous reference style from Brazil called ABNT. When we cite conference papers, they are to be formatted like this:

    RANDELL, D.; CUI, Zhan; COHN, A. G. A Spatial Logic Based on Regions and Connection. In: INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON PRINCIPLES OF KNOWLEDGE
    REPRESENTATION AND REASONING. Proceedings... Cambridge, MA: Morgan
    Kaufmann Publishers, 1992. (KR’92), p. 165–176.

    As you can see, the "Conference name" field is used in its totality in all caps, while the "Proceedings title" is abbreviated (Proceedings...), since it is just a repetition of the "Conference name" field, but with the word "Proceedings" at the beginning.

    Another example. In case we cite a conference in Spanish, the "Conference name" could be "Cuarta Conferencia galáctica de ciencia" while the "Proceedings title" could be "Memorias de la cuarta Conferencia galáctica de ciencia". In the references, "Proceedings title" would be abbreviated to "Memorias..." and so on.

    A problem I see is that conferences usually have their edition embedded in their name (like Sixth International Conference), but they also have a field for the date, or at least the year the conference took place, so it looks a little redundant to me that, for each new year a conference takes place, it has a new name. However, I understand that including the edition in the proceedings name is useful.
  • If you want to conform to that style, you would need to either (1) enter just "Proceedings…" in the Proceedings Title field or (2) enter "Proceedings…" into Extra like this:
    container-title-short: Proceedings…

    Then write the CSL citation style to use the form="short" version of container-title in the bibliography for paper-conference.

    I would generally recommend the second option to be most flexible across different styles.

    I wouldn't worry about redundancy in the conference name and date. Just enter the conference name/proceedings title using the official names (even if they include ordinal number of the conferences or years in them)—it's not a universal thing across fields for the number/year to be included in the title.
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