[Numpy-discussion] coding style: citations

Alan G Isaac aisaac@american....
Sun Jan 11 16:05:10 CST 2009

On 1/11/2009 4:13 PM Stéfan van der Walt apparently wrote:
> Thank you for your feedback.  Yes, this is a problem.  In a way,
> RestructuredText is partially to blame for not providing  numerical
> citation markup.

I do not agree.

I cannot think of any bibliography tool that uses
numerical citation reference keys. Naturally there
are many that *substitute* numerical citation references
for the cite key used by the author.  This is a *style*
question that should be automated (i.e., not be a
responsibility of the author).  E.g., LaTeX provides
a variety of styles for cite key substitution.

> If we can come up with a good way of generating the
> reference keys, we can still change the current format.

This would really involve the following.
Create a searchable database of citations
and an interface for adding to it.
Unique keys would be generated by your
algorithm of choice when an entry is added.
Authors would be asked to use only references
in the database.

Desirable for a book.  Desirable for documentation?

> Maybe the library you mention below can automatically generate such
> keys?  I'd like to take that responsibility away from documentation
> writers, since it is not always obvious how to generate consistent
> keys.

Numerical keys will clearly *not* be consistent.
The same key will refer to different citations
on different pages, and key width will not be
uniform. In additional, numerical keys are
not informative when encountered by the reader.
I would prefer [last1.last2-2009-sja]_ where
sja is "standard journal abbreviation" and
last names are ASCII (e.g., ø -> o).
All lower case. This is very informative
and easy for all users. It also means the
key is valid for both HTML and XML uses
(e.g., as a name or id).

But to answer your question, bibstuff includes
biblabel.py, which can produce keys for a bibtex
database (styled as you like).  The problem of
setting up the data base remains.

Alan Isaac

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