In text citations with no parentheses or parentheses only around the publication year

Something along these lines have been suggested quite a number of times. I was able to find the following threads: (Thanks to Dan Stillman)

The feature exists in LATEX, where one can use \cite (standard format), \citep (parentheses around name and year of pub.), \citet (parentheses around year of pub. only), \citealt (no parentheses), \citeauthor (author name only), and \citeyear (year of pub. only).

Zotero currently only supports the equivalent of \citep and \citeyear. One can edit the citations to conform to whatever one needs but this breaks the automatic update of the fields, which is undesirable.

An alternative solution that sometimes works is using suppress author and then writing the author name manually. This does not prevent automatic updates of the year of pub., but it does prevent automatic updates of the author name in the text and does not prevent against misspellings.

The feature is fairly easy to implement in the GUI: Just add the above options below "Suppress author".

One could also add more text boxes for stuff that goes between author name and year of pub., e.g. "'s" for the genitive.

Code wise, this would mean that the various bibliography styles (e.g. APA, Vancouver) should probably supply their own list of alternative citation forms.
  • (You're going to want to include in that list.)
  • Dan,

    Updated the post.
  • edited August 19, 2015
    What I really mean is that that thread is more or less the definitive discussion of this issue, so you'd have to say how you've addressed the issues raised in that thread (and should probably do so in that thread to keep the discussion in context).
  • This thread highlights that the issue has come up many times. I did not find the other thread when searching for this lack of a feature. When an issue comes up many times independently, it is an indication that there is a problem to be solved. There are probably more threads about it.

    The solution is simple and easy to implement, so I don't know why it has not been done yet. Perhaps the developers are busy doing other stuff? I don't see a way to spot who is and isn't a developer on the forum. Is there some list of planned features somewhere? There is a list of commonly requested features, but these features are not on the list.

    The current lack of the features means that Z. is ill-suited for the common in-text citations, because of the reasons mentioned above and also in the thread. The pre/post and suppress author features show that the developers has in the past realized that there was something to be fixed. Now it just remains for the last features to be implemented.

    I see that Zotero is written in javascript. Lots of people know javascript, including me, so perhaps it would be possible to get some people to work on this. If the Zotero devs allow for pushes?
  • edited August 19, 2015

    Unfortunately, the three additional forms in your list would not be simple and easy to implement (some of the technical issues are mentioned in the threads linked above).

    The problem is (complex but somewhat) simpler to address in LaTeX because it is a batch-processing typesetter: citations are processed and knitted into the document in sequence as its pages are composed. The Zotero plugins must cope with live edits—insertion, deletion, and rearrangement of citations in arbitrary parts of the document. The moving parts needed to support that interactivity significantly increase the complexity of the underlying system.

    Everyone working on Zotero (I'm just a volunteer myself) does understand that this feature is frequently requested; it just hasn't risen to the top of the priorities list, and no one has stepped forward to sort out the design issues, fork Zotero and its word processor plugins (which anyone is free to do), and put in the work necessary to implement the additional forms that you mention.
  • My guess is that "suppress year" is as easy to implement as "suppress author" was. One could probably reuse the code and switch the author and year variables.

    The other features: 1) parentheses around year only, and 2) no parentheses, may require more work depending on how the code is structured.

    Do you know where the code is for the insertion feature? I am using the LibreOffice plugin.
  • Implementing "suppress year" would affect the citation processor (because inserting author names in-text is a non-citation, and the processor would need code to support that); the Zotero integration layer (for UI support and to control the processor API); and each of the word-processor plugins for Mac, Win, and LibreOffice (to get data into and out of the document).

    As others have said, it's not an easy task. :-/
  • I think we still haven't concluded that this makes sense conceptually, particularly with switching between author-date and numeric styles. If you want Zotero to assist you in typing out the author's name, that could be an entirely different feature on its own that would simply insert the name without creating a reference.
  • edited August 19, 2015
    You would still probably want to run the entry through a disambiguation engine to get the right form and number of authors, though.
  • The major benefit would be to conform to different journals' in-text author formatting styles automatically. For example, standard APA requires using "and" with lists of authors and et al. after 7 and 3 authors for first and subsequent citations. Annual Reviews requires et al. after 3 authors for all citations. Some journals require et al. to be italicized. With the current system, all of these formatting issues need to be managed by hand.

    I'm not discounting the work (even CSL would need to be updated to be able to accommodate some in-text formatting requirements), just arguing that there really is a lot of formatting that should be automated that can't presently be.
  • IIRC, the in-text citation vs plain text formatting is not always the same (I think adamsmith points this out in one of the threads). We could ignore this discrepancy, of course; Otherwise CSL needs additional mechanism to specify plain text formatting where this differs
  • yes -- the problem here is really mostly APA. That's true both because they have the alternating et al rules and because the format of the citation does indeed change in text (using "and" rather than &).

    If we're going to address this (and I've come to believe we probably should), I agree it needs to be in CSL and we'll need to do what Endnote does and allow for a separate citation format for out-of-parentheses "citations" (FWIW, conceptually I still think APA is wrong and Chicago Manual is right and the names aren't part of the citation and thus shouldn't be governed by citation style rules). That would also allow us to deal with the switch to numeric citations, including the authors in the text where the respective form was selected if that's what the style wants (Some use the numbers as nouns as in "according to [1-3]".)
  • "If we're going to address this (and I've come to believe we probably should)"

    This is really fantastic news and I look forward to being able to dump EndNote once and for all. I'm hopeless with programming but I would be delighted to help out with user-testing if that would be helpful in any way.
Sign In or Register to comment.