[OS X TeX] Crossrefs in BibDesk?
stephen.anderson at yale.edu
Sat May 21 20:28:03 EDT 2005
As the one who initiated this discussion, I should have taken a more
active part in it, but since I read this list as a digest, I tend to
be a bit behind the curve.
To repeat, I for one would certainly use the crossref feature if it
were available. My bibliography file typically has many, many
entries that use it, since a single edited collection or proceedings
volume will show up as the source of several referenced articles.
Crossrefs not only make it easier to enter this data, but also to
correct mistakes just once for the whole volume. Related to this is
the fact that I often know about a volume and its contents, and want
to refer to the articles in it, well before it actually appears and
publication data are available. With crossrefs, I can put the papers
in the bibliography, stub in the book details, and fledge them out
when the work actually appears.
I do appreciate the macro capacity in BibDesk, and I make use of that
too. As others have noted, it "just works" as far as I can tell, so
I never mentioned it explicitly -- though of course, I haven't tested
it very much, since the bibliographies I mostly use aren't much good
in BibDesk without crossrefs.
As far as the way an implementation ought to work: an entry A with a
crossref to another entry B should show up (and be sorted) as if any
field for which A does not have content had the content entry B
assigns to it. Circularity is prevented by definition, though
perhaps it needs to be flagged if it occurs in an ill-formed .bib
file. The indirectly addressed fields shouldn't be directly editable
(under entry A), but should have an icon or something indicating
their status. That implements the semantics of bibtex crossrefs, and
anything more (like dragging entries onto each other to create
crossrefs) is candy. I hope I will be excused (and not considered
too much of an ingrate) if I say that a GUI interface to bibtex
databases that doesn't implement this property of the language is
lacking in a more fundamental way than simple failure to provide some
Thanks very much to the developers of BibDesk for their work, which I
hope very much to be able to take advantage of.
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