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

E.L. Willighagen writes:
 > JReferences does change the doc, but that is easy to change... Might be an 
 > advantage too sometimes...

The problem with the simple string replacement approach of JReferences
is that you throw away information by replacing markup with character
data. Hyperlinking from the citations to the corresponding entries in
the bibliography is impossible this way. If the citations are to be
rendered properly during the transformation step, the processing
application needs to know that a citation is a citation and not just
some characters. Keep in mind that numerical citations can be rendered
in boldface, underlined, italics or whatever the citation style
requires only in the transformation step. BTW not all numerical
citation styles use square brackets or superscript (the latter should
be done during transformation anyway).

Another issue are multiple citations containing consecutive reference
numbers. Some styles just list them, others convert them to ranges,
i.e. (1,2,3) vs. (1-3). I couldn't find any support in JReferences for

Many journals use some sort of author/year citation styles with all
its intricacies. This includes the same author name formatting issues
as in the reference styles, plus the fact that in citations the number
of cited authors usually is limited and that the first and
subsequent citations of the same reference may be formatted differently

Another helpful thing are in-text citations, like Jones et al. wrote
recently (2001). Again, I don't see JReferences support this.

 > > - 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.
 > A tie?

I wouldn't say so. One important difference is that JReferences uses
Java classes to implement bibliography styles (it apparently does not
know citation styles at all), whereas RefDB uses XML documents that
define both the citation and bibliography style of a particular
journal or publisher for up to 26 publication types (article, book,
chapter, unpublished, thesis etc). I can expect anyone writing DocBook
documents to be able to create an XML style specification without
knowing how the RefDB C code works, but I wouldn't bet that all
DocBook authors know enough Java to create a new JReferences style.

The main weakness of JReferences appears to be the missing support for
document transformations. As far as I can interpret the JReferences
sources (some sort of documentation would be helpful!), the modified
documents are rendered by the default stylesheets. This is clearly
insufficient for all styles that require parts of the citations or of
the references to be rendered e.g. in boldface or in italics. This
can't be (and should not be) encoded in the SGML document. RefDB
creates matching driver files (DSSSL or XSL for DocBook, XSL for TEI)
based on the citation and reference style which helps to render the
document properly in any of the available output formats. This is
essential if e.g. your publisher accepts only formatted Word
documents, which is quite common in the life sciences these days.

All this doesn't mean that JReferences is bad software, but you should
be aware that a large number of the bibliography styles used in life
sciences is currently beyond the scope of that software, whereas RefDB
handles them gracefully.


Markus Hoenicka <hoenicka_markus@compuserve.com>

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