[OS X TeX] plea for help with TeX bibliographic databases: the humanities, and unicode

Rick and Karla Gross gross at pldtdsl.net
Tue Apr 12 23:09:04 EDT 2005


For a non-latex option you might want to try Bookends.


It is Unicode savvy and IMHO an excellent bibliographic program.  I 
find it to be stable in word processing environments (Word, and 
Mellel).  It is a bit pricey though----especially when compared to 


>After reading all of the very helpful and detailed responses so 
>generously offered in the thread,
>Re: [OS X TeX] Beginner: bibliography strategy?
>I decided that I should revisit the problem, which I had two months 
>ago given up on in complete frustration, of working with 
>bibliographic databases in LaTeX, for publications in the humanities 
>(following the Chicago Manual of Style), with unicode.
>First I should note that I am in no way an expert in computers, 
>programming, LaTeX, or TeX, but I have spent a considerable amount 
>of time trying to resolve these issues to get something working.
>In general, most of the tools I work with now handle unicode fairly 
>well -- both the extended European characters (probably of most 
>interest to others on this list) and CJK (Chinese, Japanese and 
>TeXShop works perfectly, as far as I can tell, including complex 
>regex expressions, and is a really excellent program,
>most LaTeX packages work without incident,
>other utilities like Terminal and Perl work fine, and finally,
>XeTeX of course is an extremely exciting development.
>But bibliographic databases and utilities seem to me to still have 
>considerable limitations. My sense is that they probably work well 
>for the sciences and medicine in English, but not as well for the 
>humanities, which have more complex (or admittedly, arcane, if you 
>prefer) citations and bibliographies, and almost always include 
>several languages.
>EndNote, as some have noted, crashes often, more than even beta 
>software should, yet costs $100 per upgrade. While EndNote 8 *is* a 
>significant upgrade -- it now handles unicode -- it does not import 
>CJK properly so you have to type it in by hand. Import and export 
>filters, and connection files are very good. But find/replace 
>capabilities are very poor: for example, it is impossible to 
>generate LaTeX keys from the author and year fields to be placed in 
>the label field (that is, except by hand, one-by-one). For reasons I 
>don't understand, exporting all the records as text does not work 
>reliably, making it impossible to export the text, clean it up 
>through perl scripts, and import it again. But EndNote is the only 
>program that comes close to having the capabilities to handle 
>humanities citations.
>BibTex with LaTeX packages, such as natbib, etc., don't seem to me 
>to have even the number of fields needed to be potentially capable 
>of formatting a bibliography for the humanities.
>BibDesk still seems to me not to handle unicode well. I turned off 
>character conversions, set open and save to UTF-8, but I can't even 
>get it to properly import European characters in a file, or by 
>pasting an entire record. Only cutting and pasting field by field, 
>or typing into each field, seems to work. BibDesk otherwise looks 
>very promising, with excellent integration with TeXShop, so I hope 
>this will be fixed soon (assuming I'm not missing something here).
>Sente seems very nice for downloading files, but the choice of 
>filters seems very odd, for example not including OCLC WorldCat, the 
>most complete database for research university libraries.
>So after having spent a couple more days looking in to all of this, 
>I have again concluded that the most efficient strategy for 
>formatting a humanities bibliography is to import from WorldCat into 
>EndNote, export a formatted \bibitem ... entry, paste into my 
>bibliography, and clean it up by hand.
>This is not the approach I would prefer to take, and this is really 
>another plea for help: I would, of course, be extremely grateful for 
>any suggestions, or corrections to these very preliminary 
>Roger Hart
>Assistant Professor, Departments of History and Asian Studies
>University of Texas at Austin
>office: Room 405, Garrison Hall
>office phone: 512-475-7258
>department fax: 512-475-7222
>email: rhart at mail.utexas.edu
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