[sword-devel] Bibtex for modules

Greg Hellings greg.hellings at gmail.com
Tue Jan 11 14:44:28 MST 2011

On Tue, Jan 11, 2011 at 3:26 PM, Trevor Jenkins
<trevor.jenkins at suneidesis.com> wrote:
> But I still am confused about what it is that consistutes the source. The
> module? The module content and therefore the original publisher (and
> possible copyright holder)?

If someone is quoting out of the SWORD module, then clearly the module
is the source.  Perhaps the module differs from the other published
versions - in which case it is important for the citation to reference
the module, so that someone checking the reference can ascertain that
the quoter was not being intentionally misleading nor misquoting.

>> This came home to me when I was preparing a paper for my
>> application to the PhD program I am now in, and I had to find the
>> bibliographic information for Aquinas' Summa. ...
> Which makes me think it is the content you're after. That it occurs in an
> Sword module is irrelevant and therefore the original suggestion is
> speciious.

The fact that it occurs in a SWORD module is the entire point.  If I
garner a quote from my printed version of the Communist Manifesto but
that is different from the print copy my reader has - it is important
for my reader to know the publisher and printing of my copy so that
s/he can compare.  Then, if the versions differ, there is reason to
research why that is.  If the two are identical but I have misquoted,
then I need the correction.

The suggestion is neither irrelevant nor specious.  Citation of a
digital work, especially one which lacks pagination, is an extra layer
of complication on an already difficult subject of source attribution.
 People will, do and have cited SWORD modules.  It is important for
them to cite it properly so that a different person can check their
work.  Bibtex has been the only suggestion I have heard for a format
prior to now.  It certainly could also be possible to support
additional formats if someone is willing to either provide the entry
or provide code to generate the entry.

> Now if the source atribution is recorded in the .conf file fine, but for
> those of us who want it in some other format such as Zotero's Open
> Citation Style, refer, MedLine, or even RFC 1807 formats insisting it is
> held in BibTeX (sadly a minority format these days) is unusable.

Which leaves those of you using non-Bibtex no different than you are
now, but those using Bibtex better off then they are now.  It is not a
0-sum situation.

>> ... It took a bit of effort, but BibTeX data would have saved me the
>> time and headache. It is yet another enticement to users to start using
> While I'd have no quibble with bibliographic data being recorded in .conf
> files it should be there in a neutral form and specific functions written
> to produce it in the users required/requested format.

Alternatively every desired format could be stored in the .conf file.
There are many possibilities.  Even a plaintext entry in the .conf
file, which users of one of these systems could then process into
their desired markup so that it is output according to their rules.  A
sample Chicago/Turabian formatted citation in the work or something
with similarly standard rules go a long way beyond where we currently


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