Tuesday, 28-OCT-1997 12:11:03.56
From: HELBIG "Phillip Helbig" 27-OCT-1997 19:45:05.36
Subj: journal macros (not front matter)
Discussion has died down a bit on the topic of standard journal macros.
Hopefully we're all doing our homework:)
Discussion has concentrated on front matter, but let's not forget other
things which require an author to CHANGE HIS INPUT according to which
journal is to be used, even if the content is the same. These are at
least spelling, whether to italicise foreign words, use of punctuation
in abbreviations and the placement of \caption in figures and tables.
All of these can be handled relatively easily (compared to front matter)
There has also been little discussion of bibliography and citations,
perhaps because so much work has already been done in this area. I'm
not sure yet, but my impression is that Patrick Daly's natbib and merlin
can probably handle this. Since the current versions are based on 2e, I
have been hesitant about delving more deeply into them as long as I am
forced to continue to think in 2.09. (Though there is some support for
2.09, I really want to start thinking LaTeX is LaTeX (meaning 2e) and
not worry about things I shouldn't be using (just like Fortran is
Fortran (meaning Fortran95:)).)
Although I guess there is no reason to REQUIRE a journal to support
bibliographies generated by BibTeX, it seems a sensible thing to do,
since in practice hand-coded \bibitems will not be perfect. Of course,
it is more convenient for the author to use some automatic reference
list generator, and BibTeX seems up to the job. In order for the text
itself not to be journal dependent, some sort of extended citing scheme,
covering all the possibilities, should be at least allowed if not
required. BibTeX seems to cover enough ground, and the formats, fields
and so on are already broad enough to be flexible enough to cover about
everything. Ideally, a journal should distribute it's own .bst file to
format references the way they are required, but SHOULD DEFINITELY NOT
cause the author to change any coding, which will not be necessary if a
flexible enough \cite-like command is chosen.
This list seems to be the best (only) way to finally get some changes
made in this area so people can get back to thinking about content and
not presentation:| What are the ideas about the time scales for goals?
The final goal being able to write to all journals and say `here are the
commands, write a 2e .cls, .bst etc to format them as you wish', but
before that we must agree on what information is needed, how it is to be
grouped, what the syntax should be and develop a sample (or real) .cls,
.bst etc which shows that the scheme can actually fulfill its purpose.
Has anyone thought about a scheme similar to BibTeX for front matter?
Phillip Helbig Email ... [log in to unmask]
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