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Subject: DOCBOOK-APPS: Re: DOCBOOK: Announce: BibTex for Docbook


for people interested in a comparison between JReferences and RefDB
I'd suggest to go back in the list archives about 1 year. We had a
funny discussion back then.

I haven't tested any recent releases of JReferences, but from what
I've gathered from the current discussion I see the following main
issues that set RefDB apart from JReferences:

- RefDB works with DocBook XML and SGML documents, TEI XML documents,
  and LaTeX documents (with somewhat limited capabilities). Other
  SGML/XML document types can be added without modification of RefDB
  itself (just some stylesheet hacking).

- RefDB does *not* require any changes in the DTDs. Documents remain
  valid against the stock DTDs, so using RefDB does not create an
  interchange issue.

- RefDB does not modify the SGML/XML source document. The bibliography
  is created as an external entity. The citations (which are actually
  xref elements) are rendered by pulling in the appropriate
  information from the bibliography element and are hyperlinked (in
  HTML and PDF output) to the corresponding references in the
  bibliography. The advantage of not modifying the source document is
  that reformatting the document for a different bibliography style is
  a snap.

- RefDB uses a bibliography style database to render citations and
  bibliographies according to a specific style of a publisher or of a
  publication. This includes aspects like the sequence of the elements
  (authors, year, title, journal, volume, issue, pages...), the
  rendering of the author names (FM Last, F.M. Last, F. M. Last,
  Last,F.M. and all other permutations), as well as the rendering in
  the output formats (volume bold or italics, journal names regular or
  italics etc). Both author/year and numeric citation styles are
  supported. The styles are defined as XML documents. 

- In addition to the document-based bibliography output, RefDB can
  generate raw bibliographies in DocBook SGML/XML, TEI XML, RIS,
  BibTeX and a few other formats.

- RefDB is a multi-user system. Users can share a common reference
  database and still maintain their personal info (notes, reprint status,
  availability etc).

- RefDB uses a SQL database to store the references. The current
  stable branch uses MySQL, the development branch in CVS uses MySQL
  or PostgreSQL. Support for an embedded SQL library is in preparation.

- RefDB uses scriptable command-line clients as well as a web
  interface. This offers both a convenient graphical interface and the
  power of unix plumbing. 

- RefDB can store far more information per reference than actually is
  used to display the reference. Additional information includes
  an unlimited number of keywords, an URL to an electronic offprint,
  personal notes, availability information (where is that paper
  copy?), abstracts etc. This greatly simplifies retrieving the proper
  references and maintaining a large collection of paper or electronic

- RefDB can directly import RIS (the lingua franca of Windows
  reference databases), BibTeX and DocBook (with a little stylesheet
  tweaking) references. TEI import is in preparation.

Therefore I wouldn't support the notion that RefDB and JReferences are
"similar" but the decision is left to those who actually use and
compare both apps.

To see the RefDB bibliography capabilities at work, I suggest to visit:


You'll find links to a DocBook SGML document transformed to HTML for
two different biomedical journals, as well as a link to a TEI XML
document transformed to PDF.

best regards,

Michael Smith writes:
 > [moving this to docbook-apps]
 > "E.L. Willighagen" <egonw@sci.kun.nl> writes:
 > > Hi all,
 > > 
 > > for some time now I've been working on a BibTex like system for DocBook XML.
 > > I've written an article about it in LinuxFocus:
 > > 
 > > http://www.linuxfocus.org/English/September2002/article257.shtml
 > > 
 > > Like BibTex the software uses a file database backend with references and
 > > refers to IDs to those references. The actual bibliography is autogenerated 
 > > and citations in the article are autonumbered.
 > > 
 > > The software, JReferences, can be found at 
 > > http://sf.net/projects/jreferences/.
 > > 
 > > Comments on the article and the software are welcomed.
 > The application looks interesting and the article is a nice concise
 > intro. But one thing it doesn't discuss is how JReference is similar to
 > or different from Markus Hoenicka's RefDB:
 >   http://refdb.sourceforge.net/
 > They seem like similar applications. Are they?
 >   --Mike

Markus Hoenicka <hoenicka_markus@compuserve.com>

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