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Re: Long file names in Dired

From: Marcin Borkowski
Subject: Re: Long file names in Dired
Date: Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:37:27 +0200

On 2015-04-24, at 11:12, Rasmus <address@hidden> wrote:

> Hi,
> Marcin Borkowski <address@hidden> writes:
>>> This idea is even better - use BibTeX. In a .bib file,
>> [...]
> I find the format OK.  I can't imagine a vastly superior format for
> metadata...

1. Multiple authors are separated with the five-character string
" and ". Can you imagine a more stupid idea?  What if you want to quote
an anonymous report whose author field should say "National Aeronautics
and Space Administration"?  Yes, you /can/ quote the " and ", but this
shouldn't be even needed.

2. BibTeX separates the author name into (at most) four components,
called "first", "last", "von" and "jr".  No support for: Chinese names
(not fitting into this format) and names in some other languages (I'm
forgetting now which ones).

3. What about alphabetic sorting in various languages?

4. Since BibTeX is aimed (after all) at a typesetting system, what about
diferent hyphenation patterns?  Imagine an article written in Polish,
citing a paper by a German (so the name should be hyphenated differently
than the rest of the document), the paper being in English, and
published by an Italian university.  Where's support for that (i.e.,
language field for the author, title etc.)?  (Not to mention several
authors from various langauge backgrounds.)

5. What about all these funny characters not found in English, and in
particular sorting using them?  (See the docs for the xindy indexing
tool for examples of nontrivial problems regarding locale-aware

6. What about custom citation styles?  Have you seen the syntax of the
bst files?  If yes, you know the pain, and if not, you'd better not look
at them, for your own good...

7. BibTeX is not really "case-sensitive" or "case-insensitive", it's
"case-destroying".  IOW, /you have to quote capital letters in titles/
so that BibTeX doesn't convert them to lowercase.

BTW, BibLaTeX addresses (AFAIK) problems 3, 5, 6 and 7.  The amsrefs
package addresses problems 1, 2, 4, 6 and 7.

> I organize articles like
>   ~/documents/literature/FirstAuthorYear[UniqueSuffixAsNecessary]
> E.g. 
>   ~/documents/literature/smith88/smith88.bib
>   ~/documents/literature/smith88/smith88.pdf
>   ~/documents/literature/smith88/
>   ~/documents/literature/smith88/
> I then create
>   ~/documents/literature/lit.bib
> which is is a concatenation of all *.bib files in subfolders as well as a
> special file, various.bib, which holds entries I don't want to maintain.
> In addition, I generate lit.{org,html} which summarizes of all metadata
> and notes with links to pdfs.

Again: nice, and thanks for the tips.  But still, BibTeX is a wrong tool
for that.  (As you might guess, IMHO BibTeX is a wrong tool for

Note that no BibTeX based solution helps /if I want to be able to move
files between directories/.  (Though I might arrange my system so that
I don't have to do that - it's part of my current workflow, but not an
indispensable one.)

> Cheers,
> Rasmus


Marcin Borkowski
Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science
Adam Mickiewicz University

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