Book Reviews: Another item type?

  • I heartily agree with other posters here: Zotero is an excellent resource (thank you, development team!) but the inability to easily output book review citations in Chicago Style is a glaring hole. I'm dealing with about three dozen reviews in one chapter of my thesis. While it's not a major time investment to manually format all the review citations, this is something that could be easily done electronically.
  • I also add my support for a review type. It's essential. And by the way, I love Zotero. I've tried Endnote and am currently using Bookends. But Zotero has got it right. I even put a Zotero button on my web site. To the developers--great job.
  • So, does anyone one have an interim work around here for dealing with book reviews without creating a separate type -- has anyone solved that problem for themselves? As I import from Bookends, I'm seeing this developing as one of my big problems, along with difficulty importing linked files.
  • Why not add an item field for "Reviewed Book" or "Reviewed Title" to go with "Reviewed Author" in the Journal Article type. After all, book reviews are generally journal articles. Styles and translators would need to adjust, but it would add book review functionality with little effort, I would think.
  • I too, as who works within the humanities, am finding that I am frequently in need of a (Book) Review type. Is there anything in the works for this?
  • As far as I know, the proposed solution of adding a "reviewed title" field to articles has been neither accepted nor rejected.

    In the meantime, I've been just making Journal Articles and titling reviews as "Review of TITLE", using the Reviewed Author creator type, and making sure to add the reviewed book as a related item. Once rich-text formatting becomes possible within ordinary fields (some time after CSL 1.0 becomes part of Zotero), it'll be possible to at least italicize TITLE. This is decent enough for my purposes for now, and it should be fairly easy to convert to whatever form book reviews end up taking in Zotero.

    One limitation is book reviews that have their own title, as sometimes happens. They really do need a new field (not a new type) for reviewed title.
  • I also agree with Philgon's comment from February 2009 above .

    I have several book reviews to cite in my dissertation, and need a book review option. Journal Article forces a book review to appear with quotations around the title which is not the Turabian style.

    Here's what I need:

    Schreiner, Thomas R. Review of Women in the Church: A Biblical Theology of Women in Ministry, by Stanley J. Grenz with Denise Muir Kjesbo. Trinity Journal 17:1 (Spring 1996): 114–24.

    Review of Women in the Church: A Biblical Theology of Women in Ministry should be italicized just like a title for a book!

  • I am very dismayed to have found this discussion begun in 2006 with no resolution. I agree with the post of 10% of entries are reviews.

    Why the resistance to adding the type?

    Why not just say, "We hate book reviews and will never implement them?"

    Make a decision. I have too much invested in this tool to switch; but I will if I must.
  • I think that erazlogo's proposal should be workable:
    The easiest way to add book reviews is to add "reviewed title" field and "reviewed author"/"reviewed editor" author types to all article item types--this allows for correct bibliographic formatting for journal/magazine/newspaper books reviews.
    Changes to the data model can't happen very often, for technical reasons. We're currently working on a list of changes for Zotero 2.1 -- this had been overlooked, but I think it should be possible to add this for 2.1. See for the current discussion of changes.
  • edited January 3, 2011
    I disagree. This really needs to be done with broader model and UI changes.

    Reviews are published in many contexts: as articles in periodicals (newspapers, academic journals, magazines), as blog posts, as segments in (radio, TV, etc.) broadcasts, etc.

    Also, there are a wide range of reviewed content: books are only one, but there are also plays, musical recordings, films, etc.

    Wouldn't we all agree that any solution has to allow for that breadth?

    Edit: I think if the data/ui revisions I mention above are still (after many years) rather far on the horizon, it might make sense to just add a narrow (if common) "Book Review" type now, and amend later as needed.
  • Either way, we need something that will work for book reviews--and soon. Can't emphasize that enough. I've been following this and related threads hopefully almost since the discussion began. It's my #1 need.
  • Bruce -- Can you elaborate on why you think a Book Review type is a better solution than adding Reviewed Title and Reviewed Author to the relevant item types?
  • @ajlyon: Because those fields aren't really adequate for many (even book review) cases, where you might also need publisher information, etc., and because those fields are in turn irrelevant to most articles.

    It would be a different story if we had a more relational model and UI, where one could simply click some button to add a link to the reviewed item. But we don't.

    And note, I see this as a "better" short-to-mid-term solution; but hardly "good."
  • Could you propose a set of fields for a Review type and post them here or on the types whiteboard? I'm pushing this because if we do manage to make reasonable proposals in the near future, they _will_ make it into Zotero 2.1, making many people's lives easier.

    How does this look on the CSL front? Would a Review item type be enough to make these happen with CSL 1.0, or are revisions needed there as well?
  • It sounds to me like adding a Book Review type, mapping to "article" in CSL, will cover most uses. Would it be enough for book reviews published in newspapers? How about, as Bruce has notes, reviews in other media like radio?

    Obviously we can't cover the entire space of "Reviews, published in medium X, of creations of type Y" for all values of X and Y without a more complex item model in Zotero, but how far do we intend to stretch this at this point?
  • I'm basically saying the most important types of reviews for academics are book reviews published in academic journals, but that a "Book Review" type could also work for now for reviews published in other periodicals (like newspapers).

    I suspect it probably wouldn't be ideal for other types of reviews, or in other venues. To that right, I think we just need major UI and data layer changes.
  • I agree with bdarcus. You can't cover everything in software. Having this type would move a long way toward dealing with reviews. I don't see a huge problem with treating other types of reviews as one-offs that need manual intervention.
  • Can anyone comment whether book review item type will be added to the upcoming 3.0 Zotero?
  • not sure yet, we'll try to get as many as possible of the proposed changes into 3.0, but since this one also requires a csl change my bet would be on "no" for 3.0 - that's not an official statement in any way, it's just an informed judgment call.
  • edited August 23, 2011
    I think the "no" for 3.0 is pretty definite. Zotero 3.0 probably won't require a database upgrade, which has advantages for upgrading (and downgrading). It also allows for easy syncing between Zotero 2.1 and 3.0 users. Adding new item types (or fields to existing item types) would affect users and result in a lot of extra work for the developers, so these kind of changes have been pushed back a bit. See also
  • Noting that this discussion began in 2006, could you indicate how much longer will we have to wait? I probably won't switch to 3.0 in either Firefox or standalone until it's out of beta, but if I could add book reviews I'd upgrade this afternoon.
  • Zotero staff is small (and what they do partly determined by grant requirements), CSL is entirely volunteer driven and developed. Reliable estimates on what is going to be implemented when are just not going to happen, sorry.
    Item type changes are particularly tricky because to some extent they also involve coordination with the other ref management programs using csl.
  • I won't try to hide my disappointment, even if it should be directed to the folks at Mellon rather than Zotero. So I take it we were just being strung along here:
  • like I say above, few people, lots of stuff to do. No one is stringing anyone along. Ajlyon, who started that thread, has put in hundreds of unpaid hours, as have the main people behind csl, so I think disappointment is entirely misplaced. You're getting an amazing program for free.
    But with so few people what gets done when, and if it's ready for a particular release is just not as predictable as you may like it.
  • acramer: The recommendations that emerge from that thread will be introduced in the next version of Zotero after 3.0. We can't do it before then because it requires changes to how syncing works to avoid having to cut off all older versions of Zotero from syncing as soon as the new version is made available.
  • I'm currently looking into which fields would have to be added to the Citation Style Language to support book reviews and other types of reviews. What's clear is that we need a way to store the reviewed authors and the reviewed title.

    If you know of styles that require more information about the reviewed work, please provide some documentation in this thread, and you might see support for reviews in the next version of CSL.
  • Have there been any updates or further ideas as to the implementation of (book) reviews in the past year?
  • we have reviewed author available now in citation styles (though not implemented in any yet).
    reviewed-title is available in CSL and will almost certainly become available in Zotero with the next update of fields and items (which is taking a while because it requires adjustments to how syncing works, but the hope is still to roll this out with the next major update).
  • I am actually trying to write a CSL Style at the moment that will implement the reviewed-author, but at the moment am unable to get Zotero to play ball.

    The behaviour that I have currently got is that on the conditional of reviewed-author being there, the title (as per style guide) becomes 'Review of <i>Title<i>, by reviewed-author', only the < text variable="reviewed-author" /> does not output the authors name.

    Is this currently the behavior that is expected and will be fixed later, or is this a bug?

    For now, I have worked around it by telling the people using it to add something in the reviewed-author and contributor. It's a nasty workaround, and the style probably wont validate, but it works as well as it needs to for now...

    Thanks, and any help you may have would be appreciated. Also, if you see this as off-topic slightly, i apologize.
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