[openbiblio-dev] a bibtex oddity

Jim Pitman pitman at stat.Berkeley.EDU
Sun Feb 5 22:50:47 UTC 2012

> On Sun, Feb 5, 2012 at 9:12 PM, Mark MacGillivray <
> mark.macgillivray at okfn.org> wrote:
> > Recently we saw an example of an import from a bibtex file where the
> > records were separated by commas. We had not seen this before, and are
> > unsure if we can achieve parsing of that along with the other bits and
> > pieces we have to watch out for.

Interesting, I've not seen this. Please can you provide the file?
> > We are wondering if it is worth the effort to fix - 
Depends how big and interesting the source data is. A on-off ad hoc cleaning may be
the best option
>> is it common to do this? 
No.  I have never seen it.

Responding to Peter's <warning>Strongly held views</warning>

I strongly agree. It was only after despairing of fixing BibTeX to become a decent standard
for serious biblio work that I put in the effort for the first BibJSON spec. Its purpose 
was precisely to start with a clean slate compatible with contemporary web standards, REST APIs and the
like, in which the best of BibTeX could be embedded and extended the grot forgotten, to make a 
machine-readable format for serious biblio data processing. Just agreeing to do everything in JSON is the
biggest advance.  As long as we have valid JSON, most source-dependent idiosyncracies can be compensated 
for without great effort.

> So what do we do?
> ...
> *** convince the NIH to emit BibJSON!!
Yes!  We need to get good at making compelling arguments for this. Providing great  apps and services which consume,
enhance and re-emit BibJSON should go a long way towards that goal, at least for truly open sources. Proprietary
sources unfortunately will see a commercial advantage in emitting only human-readable but not easily machine-readable
legacy formats. 

> Because there IS a BibJSON specification. and we CAN validate it. And if
> the community want to extend its power they have a forum and a community to react and proceed in a responsible way

My strong support for that.
It is not yet clear what is technical or the political structure by which should publish and maintain the
BibJSON spec. I would like to see more discussion of that.

Operationally, it has been Mark and myself finding something that works both for Mark's implementation of BibServer
and my preprocessing of datasets to ingest to Bibserver or similar display. We seem to have a stable solution for those purposes
I continue to think it would be a good idea to have an explicit forum for proposal and approval of BibJSON changes. 
Peter, can you advise on best practice to create and manage that?


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