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Subject: Docbook XSL, Bibliographies, and Citations

Dear All,
     I am a Humanities scholar with a computer programming background
who is looking into alternatives to MS Word for Humanities scholars.
I have already successfully used LaTeX to create my thesis but LaTeX
is starting to show its age and I was wondering if Docbook might be a
good replacement.  I have already successfully formatted parts of my
thesis in Docbook v5 and obtained a sufficiently acceptable PDF with
     Looking down the road, I have two problems with some serious
constraints that you might be able to assist me with.  First, citation
styling.  I have read around the mail list and on the web that the
most common way to style citations and bibliography with Docbook is to
use RefDB.  This is the first constraint: I cannot use RefDB.  On my
own machine, I am running Ubuntu 8.10 amd64 and RefDB refuses to
install from source (it cannot find libreadline during configure and I
cannot figure out how to force it to look in /lib to find it).  For
other scholars, they will invariably use Windows and for the ones that
I am directly in contact with, getting new software deployed would be
a massive hassle and attempting to guide them through it at home would
also be very difficult.  So, from what I am able to discover, I would
have to write (or rewrite) the bibliography XSL so that the
bibliography and the bibliorefs in citation tags would be correctly
done in XSL:FO for processing with FOP.  Is this correct and do you
have any pointers on how to do it?  I am vaguely familiar with XSL
from about eight years ago.  The format that I must be able to use is
the MHRA standard.  Also, I would be willing to release the resulting
XSL for others to use.
     The second problem, which you will probably not be able to help
me much, has to do with the fact that my thesis has a critical edition
of an middle Irish poem.  In LaTeX, I was able to use the ednotes
package to correctly format the textual notes at the bottom of the
page.  I am thinking that I would have to use something like TEI and
then write my own XSL stylesheet to translate that into XSL:FO for
processing with FOP.  Does this sound reasonable?
     I would very much appreciate any help or thoughts that you might
have.  Thank you very much for your time.

Chris Yocum

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