Separate fields for title and subtitle

Wouldn't it be better to have separate fields for title and subtitle instead of only one field? Because in different citation-styles the delimiter between title and subtitle changes (e.g. some styles have a period between them, others have a colon, and some have a dash). With only one field you have to change all titles manually when you want to change the citation-style (or if somebody wants you to use other delimiters).
  • Put the part before the colon or other delimiter in the Short Title field. If something's not working after that in a given citation style, report that separately.
  • We do have this as a CSL plan in general, but one of the big issues is that the metadata for this is almost non-existent. Basically the only places which have title/subtitle fields are library (book) catalogs -- so to make this work would require a massive amount of manual data curation by authors.
    Moreover, the number of citation styles that actually require different title/subtitle delimiters is vanishingly small, even in a place like Germany which more commonly delimiters title/subtitle by period, so the payoff for such significant undertaking is significant.
  • @dstillman:
    Thank you for the idea. But you have to admit, that this is only a workarouns.

    1. It is not very usable to have only the subtitle in the title-field and in the list of all titles.

    2. What if a book has a title and a subtitle and a different shorttitle? E.g. handbooks often have a title, a subtitle and a common shorttitle, that everybody in this sector uses.

    Of course, that is no simple switch, but a fundamental switch. But if you have a separate field for subtitles, people who want it all in one field, can still do so. And if you use both fields the became one in the document. But you still have the opportunity to change delimiters, etc. (E.g. our head of faculty wants subtitles in italics.)

    E.g. Citavi distinguishes between title and subtitle and it works perfectly.

    I believe that would be a great change for Zotero.
  • I totally support this idea. Because many library-databases distinguish beteween title and subtitle. And if you import them as one field, you loose this information.
  • I would like to support FelixHerauten's proposal. At the moment I am considering switching from citavi to another citation software. I thought zotero looked perfect for my use case, but the one field for titles and subtitles is currently preventing me from switching. It's important to me to be able to change the separators between title and subtitle, as these change in the citation of my dissertation and articles I write. I hope this change will come soon. That being said, zotero looks very promising to me. Thank you for all the work!
  • Are there any news, if this is implemented in Zotero 7?

    This is crucial for many users, because changing the separators for all titles in a publication by hand is not the purpose of a tool like Zotero.

    It would be great, if there are any plans to realize that.
  • Only one field for title and subtitle is one of the most annoying things in Zotero. For some people, who often have to use different separators between them, this is the reason for using another software.

    It's a very bad idea, to "hard-code" the separators between title and subtitle into that entry.
  • As for me, I'm in a similar situation like @tolkom, and I would also strongly appreciate the ability to make separate entries for title/subtitle like @FelixHerauten suggested.
  • While there is no implementation of this resource, I solved the problem by inserting the subtitle in the "extra" field and put the conditional for when there is information in "extra", to be inserted according to the chosen style.

    I know it's not ideal, but it's the temporary solution until the feature is implemented.

    Here is the link with the image of how I did it.
  • I totally agree that separate fields for title and subtitle would give much more flexibility to suit different needs.

    When you publish in different science-fields and/or different countries, you often have to use different separators between title and subtitle. Sometimes even in the same science-field in the same country, but in different publications.

    To change all separators by hand for every usecase is certainly not the thing, that users expect from a literature-database.

    There are (logical, bibliographic and practical) reasons, why title and subtitle have different names. If it would be the same (like Zotero handles it), they would have only one name.

    So, Zotero should really separate title and subtitle. Not only for theoretical reasons, but also to give users an easy-to-use way to change separators between title and subtitle, without all that pesky work of changing every title by hand for every publication.
  • edited yesterday at 7:36am

    Are you asking about publications that have title and subtitle with no punctuation separator and only a new-line?

    As @adamsmith pointed out above, Zotero's single field accommodates title and subtitle with a punctuation separator. Different conventions exist by publisher, nation, and discipline. Common separators include the colon, semicolon, period, and dash flavors. This is further complicated by the practice of some commercial databases to change the type of separator from what was used in the original publication. (I can only guess that this is done [along with article changes -- an/the/a] to help prove that a large number of records were copied to some other database in addition to their use of Mountweazels.)

    Are you suggesting that you yourself will sometimes want to change the separator from what was used in the original publication? If so, I think that is a bad practice.

  • Are you suggesting that you yourself will sometimes want to change the separator from what was used in the original publication? If so, I think that is a bad practice.
    No, it's not bad practice -- many works don't have clear subtitle delimiters (most books, e.g., don't put punctuation between main title and subtitle) -- and there are certainly citation requirements we have seen that call for other generic subtititle delimiter other than a colon (e.g., the more common period for citations in German).

    I can't speak for Zotero, but I don't think this is likely to be in CSL any time super soon.
  • edited yesterday at 2:41pm
    Understand that I'm arguing against changing a colon to a period and vice-versa. To me, that complicates the issue of addressing the rules concerning upper case / lower case after the colon. The issue of a title without a subtitle punctuation delimiter is a separate (but important) issue. Over the years, in cataloging world, there have been discussions about whether or not a colon should be inserted. I really don't know the current best-practice. A book or report title page can make clear the subtitle with a font/face line spacing change.

    I don't really care what the separator is (if I can find the cited document). But some professors (and TAs) at my university and referees of articles I've reviewed really do care a great deal. This is why I mentioned that some commercial databases make changes to the separator (for example, AgeLine and WoS). When I review, I check if the reference exists and if it supports the assertion. Particularly in nursing, some manuscript reviewers pay greater attention to the punctuation of citations than to the description of methods and results.
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