[OS X TeX] Crossrefs in BibDesk?

Stephen Anderson stephen.anderson at yale.edu
Sun May 22 02:28:03 CEST 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  
convenience feature.

Thanks very much to the developers of BibDesk for their work, which I  
hope very much to be able to take advantage of.

Steve Anderson

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