[openbiblio-dev] Multilingual matters in BibJSON

Christian Wittern cwittern at gmail.com
Thu Apr 5 03:27:34 UTC 2012

Dear list members,

My interest in multilingual bibliographies and Google led me to your 
discussion about how to handle multilingual entries in bibliographies a few 
weeks ago.  This is an extremely important topic on which I would like to 
encourage you to think a bit more.  I subscribed to your mailing list in 
order to be able to engage in a discussion about this.

As a way of opening this, let me just mention that I am a frustrated user of 
the otherwise excellent Zotero package, frustrated because even after years 
of prodding, the addition of a feature to allow bibliographic entries be 
represented in more than one language has been put off again and again, 
because it would require a redesign of so many parts of the software (it is 
always scheduled for the next version, currently 3.5).  However this *will* 
eventually be necessary, since we live in a multilingual world and most 
people on this planet deal with several languages daily.

Additionally, the ability to specify language to a text string is necessary 
not just for multilingual purposes, but also for many tasks that involve 
automatic processing of the data, such as spell-checking, tokenizing (this 
is needed for full-text search) and so on even if only one language is 
involved.  The approach to simply default to English is severely limiting 
your possible reach!

Although it might look like a nuisance now, it will be much easier to take 
the necessary steps for this at an early stage, rather than having to 
redesign a successful system later on.

So please, reconsider allowing multilingual objects as suggested in the 
JSON-LD specification!

I had to give these two yen, since I have seen this mistake made so often 
and really don't want to see it again, but of course you are completely free 
to ignore this peace of advice:-)


Christian Wittern, Kyoto

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