'month' field

2008-10-16
2013-05-28
  • Hi all,

    I'm wondering whether including a 'month' field would be of interest to the refbase community. I haven't found any previous topic on this question.

    Right now, I feel a little bit frustrated not to be able to include the information about the month of the publication in the automatic refbase citation lists. It would also be great to be able to sort the publications by month in such exported lists.

    Is there workaround which I missed?

    Regards,
    Tom Vercauteren

     
    • Hi Tom,

      > I'm wondering whether including a 'month' field would be of interest to the
      > refbase community. I haven't found any previous topic on this question.

      This topic (whether to include month & day information for the publication date) was discussed years ago among developers. And I think I've got at least one user request for it -- this was from a person who was cataloging newspaper articles (which typically don't have "volumes" but year, month, and day of publication).

      Back then, we agreed on opening up the 'year' field to allow for month and day info (which would need to be entered in a structured way, though), then use some text parsing to extract the individual bits. The successfully parsed date elements could be saved to a new SQL field of type 'DATE' (named e.g. 'publication_date'), and this field could be then used for sorting under the hood.

      This setup would be similar to what we currently do with the 'volume' and 'volume_numeric' fields, and it would give flexibility while avoiding to clutter the interface further more. I.e., the current 'year' field would be changed to type 'TEXT', so that it could accept strings like these:

      2008
      2008-10
      2008-10-16

      but ideally also other (free-form) strings such as

      2008, Oct
      2008 (October)
      16. October 2008

      etc. While the recommended date format would be YYYY-MM-DD, the date parsing routine should try to parse other formats as well.

      > Right now, I feel a little bit frustrated not to be able to
      > include the information about the month of the publication in the
      > automatic refbase citation lists.

      Could you give us a usage example? And why would this be useful for you?

      Also, do you need the month info just for a particular record type (if so, which one?), or would you like it to display for any type?

      > It would also be great to be able to sort the publications by month
      > in such exported lists.

      Do you want to sort your citation list first by year, then by month -- or do you just want to sort by month (i.e. ignoring the year)?

      > Is there workaround which I missed?

      It depends. If your record doesn't have a dedicated volume and/or issue number, then there may be a workaround: In that case, you could store the month in the 'volume' field, and the day in the 'issue' field. Actually, for newspaper articles (and partially other types), this is currently assumed by some citation styles (such as APA & Harvard).

      Btw, Bibutils seems to support the W3C profile[1] of the ISO 8601 format[2] (YYYY-MM-DD) in the MODS 'dateIssued' and 'date' tags, and will parse it into appropriate BibTeX fields. For example, a MODS record with '<dateIssued>2007-07-13</dateIssued>' will be converted to a BibTeX record with these fields:

      year="2007",
      month="Jul",
      day="13",

      So, export of month and day info to BibTeX via Bibutils should be easily possible.

      Matthias

      [1]: http://www.w3.org/TR/NOTE-datetime

      [2]: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/iso-time.html
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_860

       
      • Thanks Matthias!

        I just realized I forgot to monitor the forum...

        Havin a 'year' field that would accept YYYY-MM-DD entries would indeed be great.

        The reason months would be interesting for me is, as you mentioned, that I could sort a citation list first by year, then by month. Also it would make things more consistent with the way bibtex works. Some citation styles such as the IEEE one "requires" the month to be used.

        You mentioned that:
        "Btw, Bibutils seems to support the W3C profile[1] of the ISO 8601 format[2] (YYYY-MM-DD) in the MODS 'dateIssued' and 'date' tags, and will parse it into appropriate BibTeX fields. For example, a MODS record with '<dateIssued>2007-07-13</dateIssued>' will be converted to a BibTeX record with these fields:"

        Does this means that there is a workaround to have refbase export months in bibtex? Or does this means that it should be to hard to implement such a feature if the 'year' field uses  YYYY-MM-DD?

        Regards,
        Tom

         
    • Hi Tom,

      > Does this means that there is a workaround to have refbase export
      > months in bibtex?

      No, unfortunately not -- at least not without hacking deeply into refbase. OTOH, if you can put the month and day info into the 'volume' and 'issue' fields, then it would just need a change to 'includes/modsxml.inc.php'. But, if I understand you correctly, you need the month info in addition to the volume & issue information. If this is the case, then it would be better to allow YYYY-MM-DD in the 'year' field (as described in my last message). Changing the logic of the 'year' field will require quite a bit more work though.

      A hacky interim workaround would be if you could use another (unused) field to store the month info (e.g. the 'expedition' field?), then sort by this field, and modify 'modsxml.inc.php' to generate <dateIssued>YYYY-MM</dateIssued>'.

      > Or does this means that it should be to hard to implement such a
      > feature if the 'year' field uses  YYYY-MM-DD?

      I assume you meant "...should not be too hard to implement...". If so, yes, this is what I was trying to say. We "just" need to change refbase, since Bibutils has already support for it.

      I've added your request on my TODO list. But I cannot promise you any time schedule for implementing this. It may take a bit until I get to it.

      Thanks in advance for your patience,

      Matthias

       
      • > I assume you meant "...should not be too hard to implement...". If so, yes,
        > this is what I was trying to say. We "just" need to change refbase, since Bibutils
        > has already support for it.

        You're reading my mind ;)

        > I've added your request on my TODO list. But I cannot promise you any time schedule
        > for implementing this. It may take a bit until I get to it.

        Great, thanks!