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

Mohinish shukla at sissa.it
Wed Apr 13 05:36:14 EDT 2005

I am really not an expert, but recently something like this came up wrt 

One possibility with Bookends is as follows:

Bookends allows for importing from utf-8 and storing in utf-8. Then, if 
you export with the BiBTeX filters turned on, it tries to TeX some 
things (like \textit{text} replacing italicized text), and leaves the 
rest alone. Now this .bib file looks funny, but if you use it, having 
loaded the ucs package like:

then it SHOULD print the bibliography with all the characters correctly 

I tried it with apacite; I suppose natbib should work as well..


On 13 Apr 2005, at 4:44 AM, Roger Hart wrote:

> 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 
> Korean):
> 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 impressions.
> Best,
> Roger
> ********************************
> 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
> http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rhart
> *********************************
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