Series Abbreviation

With the bibliographic info on a journal article, Zotero offers the opportunity to enter the Journal Abbreviation.

Is there a similar thing for the abbreviations of Series in which a book is published?

If not, this would be a useful field to add to the bibliographic possibilities in that right hand column.

Thanks for this program!
  • The SBL Style (Society of Biblical Literature) requires that Series titles be abbreviated in footnotes.


  • I propose that a "Series Abbr" item field should be added to the Book and Book Section item types to deal with this, just as the Journal Article item type has "Journal Abbr."
  • Abbreviations vary depending on the journal or faculty to which the manuscript is being submitted. It would be better in the long run to have a solution that separates the abbreviations from the Zotero items themselves.
  • I agree, but some of us need a workable solution that can be implemented quickly. Have you had any response to that idea from developers?
  • Haven't, but I haven't pressed them. I reckon they have their hands full with the task of marshaling priorities for the next phase of development, and I'm sure this is in the mix, as it's a long-standing issue.

    For a short-term solution, you might consider building a find-and-replace helper macro to run in the word processor at the last stage of document preparation. That would separate the problem from Zotero, and would actually provide a more robust solution for you than an additional field; you wouldn't be caught out by variations in the abbreviations entered on individual items scattered through your database.
  • Has this been dealt with at all? I have Gerry-rigged my SBL csl to put the "extra" field in the proper location, but having something formal would make this easier to teach with.
  • fbennett has come up with a gadget for abbreviations that would solve this issue among others:
    I believe that currently you'd have to run the 3.0 trunk for that to work, which isn't really recommended. With the next update of the beta version this will work in the beta, which is quite stable - the gadget, as I understand, is still rather experimental, though.
  • edited January 7, 2012
    Some programmer is going to be my instant hero when (if?) the SBL series abbreviation gets implemented. I'm posting here so I can stay in the loop
  • Series abbreviations are simple in Endnote, which is one of the reasons I've stuck with it for so long. Commenting to keep in the know. I'm ready to be done with Endnote... I tried to give the above gadget a try, though it doesn't seem to work with the standalone version 3.
  • I should be able to do a trial with Linux standalone in the next few days. I think it may just be a version compatibility thing; the code should run fine in SA. Should have more news in a day or two.
  • Are there any news on this issue? Just running into the same situation.
  • Also (excuse my ignorance..) how exactly do I install fbennet’s gadget? Which is the install exactly? The link refers to a list of many.. Do I need MLZ for it? Is this easy to install / any pitfalls? I’m a bit nervous, one week away from phd deadline. Thanks!
  • Thanks for the reminder, I should be able to get to it this evening. The current version of the Abbreviation Filter may not run properly in official Zotero/SA - I'll have to check. If not, I'll touch it up so that it does run. I'm not sure what the steps are to install a plugin in SA, because I don't ordinarily use it, but I'll figure it out, and then I should be in a position to give advice.

    More soon!
  • Great - can’t wait!
  • I just gave it a try under Linux, and it seems to work okay. There is one anomaly: if you select and item and then open the CSL Editor menu in SA from Gear Menu -> Preferences -> Advanced -> CSL Editor, you'll find an "Abbrevs." button in the upper right-hand corner of the popup, but when you click on it, you'll find a weird thin button in the middle of the Abbrevs popup, with no content. That button should be a pulldown list of abbreviation categories; it's empty because the code hook it depends on is not available in official Zotero. When I get to it, I'll eliminate the button in official Zotero/SA, to avoid confusion.

    Apart from that, it seems to work. To install the plugin, I followed these steps:

    (1) Assured that Standalone was the only Zotero running on the machine (i.e. I closed my Firefox that also has Zotero installed).

    (2) Saved the Abbreviation Filter plugin file to my desktop.

    (3) Opened Standalone, and clicked on the "Tools" menu, the selected "Add-ons" to open the Add-ons Manager.

    (4) In the Add-ons Manager, I clicked on the wrench icon in the upper-right corner, and selected "Install Add-on from File".

    (5) In the filepicker that popped up, I navigated to the Abbreviation Filter file on my desktop, selected it, and accepted the selection in the filepicker.

    (6) Standalone offered to restart, so I accepted.

    (7) On restart, the Abbreviation Filter progress bar comes up. (It stalled the first time, but I think that may have been because I had a Firefox instance with Zotero running open, which would have confused things - it worked when I closed that, closed Standalone, and then restarted the latter).

    (8) Installing the abbreviation lists takes a couple of minutes. When the progress bar completes, it disappears, and you're ready to go.

    In the word processor, the plugin is accessible both from the normal Quick Format citation widget, and from the Classic View widget, via a button that says "Abbrevs." Abbreviations entered through the Abbrevs. popup take effect in citations.

    At which step do you find things don't work for you?
  • edited October 26, 2014
    Works so far, but how does it solve the series abbreviation problem exactly? Should I see a field somewhere where I can edit the series abbreviation manually? Or should it find it automatically?
  • Ah, right. The abbreviation lists only show items that have been called with form="short" in the style. For example:
    <text variable="collection-title" form="short"/>

    If you add form="short" in the collection-title macro of the style, you should get the abbreviation in the appropriate list. If you enter an abbreviation, it should render in the cite.

    (Adding the form="short" attribute to a text node will not invalidate the style.)
  • Sorry, you’ve lost me on that one I’m afraid. It sounds like I’d have to edit the SBL Style itself? As in the CSL file? I’ve never edited styles before I’m afraid. Also, your abbreviations plug-in looks like its purpose is generating abbreviation lists, is that correct? If so, that’s not my main problem right now. I’m just concerned with what jhamilton posted at the very beginning o this thread - SBL requiring that series be abbreviated in footnotes but not in the bibliography.

    Sorry again for my ignorance .. :/
  • It sounds like I’d have to edit the SBL Style itself? As in the CSL file?
    Yes, that's right, the style would need to be modified. I can do the edit for you, if that makes things easier.
    Also, your abbreviations plug-in looks like its purpose is generating abbreviation lists, is that correct?
    No, and sorry that I wasn't clear. The plugin maintains lists of abbreviations—it displays a list of values that it finds in items cited in your document, and you can edit the way that each is abbreviated.
    I’m just concerned with what jhamilton posted at the very beginning o this thread
    Yes, that's the problem that the Abbreviation Filter is meant to solve.

    To start, I can make the small change to the SBL style that is required, and submit it to the Zotero style repository. If it is accepted, you can reinstall the style, and we can take it from there.
  • That’d be great, thanks so much. How will I know it’s been updated?
  • We'll post back here. It might take a week or two to get things sorted out - we want to be sure that everything will work smoothly before rolling out a style that requires the external abbreviation plugin.
  • A version of the SBL style with short-form series titles is now ready for testing. To try it out:

    (1) Download the test version of the SBL style to your desktop.

    (2) Drag the file into Zotero to install it.

    (3) Install the Abbreviation Filter for Zotero plugin.

    (4) Insert a reference with a series title into a test document.

    (5) Open the reference (in the document, using Zotero) for editing. You should find an "Abbrevs." button.

    (6) Click on the the button to open the abbreviations popup.

    (7) Click on the list selector (the button that runs across the entire popup window), and select the list for series titles.

    (8) Enter the series title abbreviation.

    The plugin should remember the series title abbreviation whenever it occurs in a document using that style.

    Let us know how it goes. If this works for you, the change can be added to the official Zotero SBL style.
  • Thanks so much for this! It sort of works, I’ve had two successes (Word Biblical Commentary = WBC and Studien zum Neuen Testament = SNT) and one fail (Anthropological Papers = AP). Would it only work for certain publications but not others?
  • Just tried it on my main document and that threw a pretty big error, see screenshot:
  • If I disable the abbreviations plug-in the error is gone and all is normal again.
  • Excellent - thanks for this testing work.

    It will work with any publication; we can look into the failure with the "Anthropological Papers" item once we have the larger crash issue sorted out.

    On the crash you've experienced, I see the cause, and I'm able to reproduce it here - it has to do with a small difference in the way Zotero and MLZ generate internal keys for certain items. Hold on for a bit - I should have a fix ready soon.
  • edited November 1, 2014
    A fresh release is now up. If you update the plugin, you should get a better result.

    (Once we've confirmed that the crash issue is behind us, let's turn to the "Anthropological Papers" item.)

    (Edit: the bug that triggered the crash was not related to the format of internal keys, but was caused by the plugin attempting to run code that is not available in official Zotero - sorry for that oversight. More specifically, there is at least one item in your main document that no longer exists in your library, and the plugin was stumbling when attempting to handle it.)
  • Could that also be a document that was edited and does not longer sync? Do you think solving this will be a matter or hours / days / weeks? Would be valuable for me to know in order to decide what I might need to do manually for an upcoming deadline. Thanks again so much!
  • I'm not sure I understand. Have you updated the plugin, and checked that it runs without error against your main document?
  • Sorry I meant could that be a REFERENCE / item that was edited (manually) and does no longer sync with Zotero? Referring to your remark "there is at least one item in your main document that no longer exists in your library"
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