[OS X TeX] Semi-OT

Maarten Sneep maarten.sneep at xs4all.nl
Sat Jan 22 11:14:31 EST 2005

On 22 jan 2005, at 17:01, Will Robertson wrote:

> On 23 Jan 2005, at 2:21 AM, Bruno Voisin wrote:
>> There are a number of typographical rules in the LaTeX manual that I 
>> disagree with, like the recommendation to use numbered references 
>> instead of author-date ones. Try to read a paper of each type: with 
>> numbered references, even when having some prior knowledge of the 
>> literature referred to, you are all the time interrupting your 
>> reading of the paper to move to the list of references so as to 
>> identify which publication is referred to; with author-date 
>> references, and provided you have some familiarity with the 
>> literature, then reading the author and date is sufficient to know 
>> which publication is referred to, without having to move to the list 
>> of references.
> Oh god yes. What's worse is when you read sentences like "and it was 
> claimed in [45] that such-and-such" or "[3] claimed something else". 
> Yeah, I don't understand people's opposition towards author-date bib 
> styles. They seem to make heaps more sense to me...

On the other hand, when you cite references [2-14], the author-year 
makes me forget what the whole sentence was about in the first place, 
because you'd have to read past half a page of authors and years. Since 
most physics articles use numbered references, I've never published 
with an author year system. What I tend to do to prevent the above 
mess, is to cite like: "... and it was claimed by Robertson et al. [45] 
that such-and-such ...", especially when I have a counter argument, or 
measurements that contradict their findings. When a reference is a 
review article describing a measurement technique, it commonly occurs 
in a series of two or three articles, and then I simply indicate that 
"... a detailed description of the measurement can be found in 
literature [2-4]." Especially if a technique is fairly common, one can 
assume that most readers will already know the technique, and don't 
need to actually look up any of those references.

So either method can create a mess, and either method has means to 
write readable prose. It is also a matter of getting used to a 
particular style.


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