Universal locator type

Having to quote a theatre play, I found that current locators did not meet this requirement. (http://forums.zotero.org/discussion/14606/locator-for-plays-citer-une-piece-de-theatre)

Beyond this specific case, it is foreseeable that the development of Zotero will create new needs in locator's types. It probably won't be possible to satisfy them immediately.

That is why I think it would be particularly useful to have a universal locator type, without any associated label.

Users would have to enter the label (if necessary), as well as the locator, on each citation. This imperfect solution would at least allow managing correctly the ibid-with-locator and ibid functions.

Is this possible? If yes, how long would it take?

Thank you

Ayant à citer une pièce de théâtre, je me suis aperçue que les locators actuels ne répondaient pas à ce besoin.

Au-delà de ce cas particulier, il est prévisible que le développement de l’utilisation de Zotero ne peut que créer de nouveaux besoins en types de locators. Ceux-ci ne pourront probablement pas être satisfaits sur-le-champ.

C’est pourquoi il me paraitrait particulièrement utile de disposer d’un type de locator universel sans libellé associé, à charge aux utilisateurs de saisir eux-mêmes (si besoin) ce libellé lors de chaque citation. Cette solution imparfaite permettrait au moins de gérer correctement les ibid et ibid-with-locator.

Est-ce possible ? Si oui, à quelle échéance ?

  • edited October 12, 2010
    could you explain how a universal locator would differ from using suffix? You called that "cheating" in the other thread, but I don't quite get why.

    edit - ah OK - it's about the ibid.
  • it might be possible to code that in the style - i.e. make one locator without label.
    How exactly does ibid work? Does it compare only numbers, or strings, too?
    i.e. if I cite
    Act 3, S. 1
    twice in a row - will that show up as ibid. the seconde time?
  • edited October 13, 2010
    Hello adamsmith,

    Thanks to your precious explanations, I discovered the use of the citation panel, and adapted a 'bibliography with full notes' style (available at https://sites.google.com/site/llcommun/home).

    Apparently Ibid tests the whole string.

    If I use an existing locator, such as "page", and enter (without quotes)

    1. "Acte 1, Scène 2"
    2. "Acte 1, Scène 2"
    3. "Acte 1, Scène 3"

    I obtain :

    1. S. BREDELOUP, « Les entrepreneurs migrants chinois au Sénégal, La métaphore du jeu de go? ». In : Le Sénégal des migrations : Mobilités, identités et sociétés. Paris : Karthala, 2008, p. Acte 1, Scène 2.
    2. Ibid.
    3. Ibid., p. Acte 1, Scène 3.

    whereas, if I enter the same information in the a suffix, I obtain :

    1. S. BREDELOUP, « Les entrepreneurs migrants chinois au Sénégal, La métaphore du jeu de go? ». In : Le Sénégal des migrations : Mobilités, identités et sociétés. Paris : Karthala, 2008 Acte I, Scène 2.
    2. Ibid. Acte I, Scène 2.
    3. Ibid. Acte I, Scène 3.

    to obtain the same result as with Ibid, I would have to enter :

    1. ", Acte 1, Scène 2"
    3. ", Acte 1, Scène 3"

    that means that I would have to care about the rank of the quotation, and about the punctuation marks, which is much less convenient.

    That is why, if no better solution, I intend to remove the label of "sub verbo" in my style. But I would much prefer to use a standard locator (with no label), so as not to pervert the meaning of an existing locator.

    N.B. I just did a test, but "sub verbo" is not recognized (as I could read on another post, later on), so I should have to test all the other locators to remove the "sub verbo” label, as follows :

    <if locator="page book chapter column figure folio issue line note opus paragraph part section volume verse" match="none">...

    In case new locators were added, my style will ignore them, which is not a good thing

    As I said before, I am convinced that it would be useful to other users, with different needs in locators.
  • edited August 17, 2013
    [I comment l2lafitte's second proposal in this post.]

    The main argument against a universal locator type is portability I think.

    However, as it is done at the moment with item types and fields, it would be great to examine locator types and, also, the way zotero allows users to call them (one by citation, no multiple locators).

    A wiki would be a good starting point maybe.

    Is relevant to this the need of "tome" and "verset": see this topic (about French localization).
  • I was recently surprised to discover that we don't have an "article" label, which makes it rather awkward to cite constitutions, wherever you fall in the "article" versus "section" statutory turf wars.
  • My guess is that if we can make a concise list of changes that certainly need to be made, then we can push it through. This will mean both CSL and Zotero changes, but it's worth working on. Community consensus here means something.
  • 1/ As a matter of fact, the complete information to refer to a play would include:
    Acte, then Scene, then verse (if the play is in verse).

    That means 3 locators for one single citation

    2/ Since it's quite long, and the potential readers all know these references, we just cite :

    III, 2, v. 345

    That's why, in addition to more locator types and multiple locators, we would appreciate to have the possibility to associate to each locator a supplementary field "suppress locator-label" (default-value="no"), in the same way there is "suppress author".

    If we consider the readers of the document all know a reference, we would enter the reference with the option "suppress locator's label" for some locators.

    To obtain
    III, 2, v. 345

    we would enter:

    Acte (suppress locator' s label=yes)
    Scene (suppress locator's label= yes)
    Verse (suppress locator's label=no)

    but if we consider the readers don't, we would choose to display the locator's labels, we would want to display:

    Acte III, Scène 2, v. 345

    So we would enter:

    Acte (suppress locator' s label=no)
    Scene (suppress locator's label= no)
    Verse (suppress locator's label=no)

    3/ "universal locator" might not the right word.
    What I suggest is a locator which has an empty label.
    The label (if wanted) would be entered in the location itself by the user himself
    (that's what we do for the moment, using "sub verbo")

    So I don't see why such an universal locator would cause portability problem

    4/We don't use verset.

    As verse are concerned, we refer to them:
    alone, combined with page, or as above.
    There is no reason why they couldn't be combined with Tome, Volume, Livre, Chapter...

    5/ We also use "multiple locators" such as Livre + chapitre + page, as:

    liv. III, ch. IX, p. 177.

    This is not exhaustive, it just corresponds to precise examples already encountered. In the future, we certainly have other demands.
  • I can see the case for an empty label. I'm not so sure about multiple localized labels, though. Would it save labor in the long run?
  • It depends on the point of view:

    1/ Since Zotero has introduced the locator's types, it would be nice to have more locators and multiple locators that would match precise demands thoroughly.

    Users would only have to choose the right locator, and wouldn't have to bother about the labels.

    But it certainly implies great change

    2/ A locator with an empty label requires more attention from the users, who must know and remember what label corresponds to each zotero-not-defined locator (simple or combined).

    But just considering things from a practical point of view, a locator with empty label would allow to solve many situations.

    I suppose it would be much easier to realize
  • I was recently surprised to discover that we don't have an "article" label, which makes it rather awkward to cite constitutions, wherever you fall in the "article" versus "section" statutory turf wars.
    Is the term "article" broadly used outside the U.S. to describe a section or part of a constitution?
  • In Germany, France, and (at least most of) the Spanish speaking world yes.
  • Same for Dutch :).
  • OK. So it seems an "article" is just the constitution-specific name for what otherwise is called a "section" (though fbennett's comment has me a little unsure). If that's true, then we have the locator; just not a way to get the correct UI display and label output. It might be that adding an "article" locator is the best way to achieve that, but it's not the only way.
  • The US constitution has both articles and sections: http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html
  • so does the Argentine constitution and I assume many more. Also, sections probably don't just come up in legal code, but the correspondence section-article is probably just for legal texts.
  • "Part"?

    In any case, the strategic question is what criteria we use for adding new locators.
  • One thing to keep in mind is localizations. Using term names that reflect their usage (e.g. "article" for "article") will improve the chance people will translate them correctly.
  • edited June 7, 2011
    So long as we rely on a master list of terms for locator labels, it would need to include both "section" and "article", as well as "title" (for the US Code), and probably a bunch of other things. That's going to get annoying in the UI, with every user presented with a large and swelling list of items to choose from for every type of resource, most of which are irrelevant to most of us.

    We may be able to avoid that, though, if we consider that there are actually two separate types of locator label: (1) descriptive labels that require localization; and (2) instrumental labels that should be pegged to a fixed form appropriate to the cited source and the language of the document in which the citation appears.

    I'll go out on a limb here, and propose that the pinpoint locators for legal materials fall under (2), and should not be subject to style-level localization. [1]

    We'll see what the response to that suggestion is, but if it's correct, then l2lafitte's proposal of a "wildcard" label (however implemented in CSL and in Zotero) would actually be pretty satisfactory for legal writing. The critical things that the processor must know to render this category of locators correctly would be: (a) the locator string itself, including the label; and (b) the fact that a label is present (so that the comma-splice used in many styles when the "page" term is empty can be avoided). A "wildcard" item in the pulldown list of labels would be sufficient for that.

    If law-related issues are removed from the mix, we're left with "Act" and perhaps a few other descriptive labels, which would be feasible to add.

    I hope that description is clear, I'll follow up with clarification if it comes across as murky.

    [1] After writing this, it occurred to me that the main attraction of the descriptive locator terms in the pull-down is not switching between languages, but switching between the forms of the locator (long, short, symbol, etc). On this latter point, too, I would propose to suggest that legal resources call for a fixed form of locator labels, which holds across all styles for that resource.
  • edited October 7, 2011
    Hello everyone,

    I understand why we shouldn't add everything to the drop-down menu, but "Article" (abbreviated "art") is not just used for pinpoint references in certain constitutions, but also in every statute of many European legal systems. Most importantly, however, it is THE reference for ALL international law instruments. Given that there are more than 158000 treaties on file at the UN and a massive and increasing amount of international law literature, this would seem to make "article" obligatory.

    It seems somewhat ridiculous to me as an international and comparative lawyer that there's no space for "article" in the drop-down menu, yet space for "opus", "sub verbo" and "verse". Just to show this is not merely a personal bias, google searches of "article I" OR "article 1" come up with over 46 million hits, more than opus, sub verbo, verse and probably a couple of other Zotero pinpoints all put together.

    The absence of "article" in the locator/ pinpoint menu is clearly an anachronism which needs to be corrected as soon as possible.
  • Agreed that "art." is essential for legal writing.

    Lately I've been wondering whether the UI might restrict the list of locators to a subset for each item type, with some sort of "...more" facility to access the rest.

    Another possibility would be to recognize the leading part of the locator as a hint to the locator label -- typing shorthand labels directly into the field would be faster than dealing with the pulldown, and a list of short-form hints (like "art. ") would be easy to remember.

    (Re my proposal above to just treat the entire locator as a dumb string for the legal types, I've recently been disabused on that notion. The OSCOLA style requires that paragraph numbers be wrapped in brackets. Other styles will require "para. " or similar, so retaining localization is important.)
  • Has there been any movement on getting the locator "article" or a universal locator added?

    Now that I'm about to submit my first article (on international law) written using Zotero, I've realised that the absence of "article" or a blank/universal locator means I have to re-do all my footnotes manually anyway (and re-do them again after I add or edit any underlying references -- the ibid problem). Needless to say this removes a large part of the utility of Zotero and I almost regret going to the effort to set up a Zotero library to use Zotero for this article.

    It's a great shame that some stubborness over what seems like such a small thing as a locator can make Zotero much less usable for all lawyers who need to cite international, constitutional or non-Anglo-American legal instruments.
  • It's not stubbornness. The list of labels are shared between three separate parts of the system (Zotero proper, the word processor plugin, and the citation formatter). The need for coordination means that changes of this kind take place at large release cycles. This issue is definitely in the list, but it will take some more time for it to be addressed.
  • Hi, thanks for your reply. It's comforting that it's on the list at least.

    Can anyone help with a workaround in the meantime? The best way around it I've found so far is to enter them all as "section", so as to get the ibid and locator placement right, then doing a Word find and replace of "sec" for "art" at the end. I just hope it doesn't change them back to "sec" if I have to change the underyling source data or change the citation style for a particular publisher.

    I find the suffix workaround about clumsy because of the "ibid" problem and the placement of the locator in references and styles where you want to include, for example, a URL, but would be grateful for any other ideas for workaround techniques. Thanks.
  • @julianwyatt

    For the moment, since we don't use the "sub verbo" locator, we use it as a void locator, and we enter the real locator in the suffix field.
    (see http://forums.zotero.org/discussion/17742/locators-zotero-216/#Item_20)

    we just define it as :
    <term name="sub verbo" form="short">

    ibid works correctly

    Hoping it can help
  • Reading this thread, it seems reasonable to both add an empty locator term for rarer and multi-part locators (e.g., l2lafitte's "Acte III, Scène 2, v. 345"), as well as extend the set of locator types. Do we just need "article", or are there more candidates?
  • For law, lots will be needed -- too many to be practicable in a dropdown UI element. Can supply a list in a few days, with an outline of the solution I've come up with.
  • It's not stubbornness. The list of labels are shared between three separate parts of the system (Zotero proper, the word processor plugin, and the citation formatter).
    Not to mention somewhere between five and ten applications (Zotero, Mendeley, Papers, etc.).
  • It's obviously a lot more complicated to add "article / art" than thought, sorry to think it was mere stubbornness. However, the problem is still massively reducing the utility of Zotero for anyone citing international legal instruments, European legal instruments or constitutions -- this is not just lawyers!

    I tried the sub-verbo work-around, but the Ibid doesn't work in the citation style my publisher requires, so I have to alter all the footnotes manually (a frustrating job).

    Is it not possible to add an "other" identifier that would allow pinpoints not in the drop-down to be added without the ibid problem?
  • We'll likely have an empty locator - but why/in what way does the ibid not work with the sub-verbo workaround? It absolutely should & does for me.
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