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Re: citations: org-cite vs org-ref 3.0

From: John Kitchin
Subject: Re: citations: org-cite vs org-ref 3.0
Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2022 13:00:11 -0400
User-agent: mu4e 1.6.10; emacs 28.0.90

"Bruce D'Arcus" <bdarcus@gmail.com> writes:

> On Mon, Mar 21, 2022 at 10:41 AM Max Nikulin <manikulin@gmail.com> wrote:
> ...
>> A bit of routine work will alleviate some user issues:
>> - add missed styles
> The initial list of style-command mappings was pretty comprehensive,
> but we left out some of the more obscure biblatex commands because
> unsure if they were needed, or how best to add them (conceptually
> there's a mix of different kinds of commands in biblatex, which are
> hard to fit into a more general style system, for example).
> Since then:
> - people have occasionally asked to add new mappings, and Nicolas has added 
> them
> - he's also added the styles defcustoms for biblatex, so users can do
> this themselves
> In short, I think we're good on this actually.
>> - improve documentation, e.g. to make backend choice more conscious.
> This is the bigger user-facing issue that could use attention.
>> Another point is more serious. Besides citations there are internal
>> cross-references. Org supports them but only in a rudimentary form.
> Indeed, the question of how to better support cross-references in org
> is an important one.
> I don't really use them much, and so am still unsure if this could be
> addressed with incremental improvements in existing org link support,
> or if it would require more significant enhancements.

No incremental improvement is required IMO, regular links are
sufficient. org-ref has handled these with regular links from the
beginning. It even has an org-ref-refproc now for non-LaTeX exports that
has some support for things like sorting, grouping and cleveref. You can
find an example org file at
and see it in action at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRR-5NSpKyE the
video has some rough spots, but you can get the idea.

You can support all kinds of things in these links (for example, I now
support pre/post note text in the cite link paths), really anything you
want to parse out of the path. 

> Perhaps we need the community to itemize what the gaps and limitations
> are there?
> Bruce
>> Actually cross-references are similar to citations in the sense that
>> they can have style, prefixes and suffixes, and their appearance depends
>> on target properties. Another feature is grouping. However
>> cross-references should not be handled by citation backends, they
>> require different handlers. Unfortunately there is no way to define
>> custom "citation" type e.g. "[ref:...]" in addition to "[cite:...]".
>> I can not judge if uniform UI issues are really severe and if it would
>> be convenient if depending on prefix argument either org-cite or org-ref
>> command would be called for a citation or for a reference.
>> Actually "[cite:...]" construct is a kind of link with additional
>> flexibility missed for regular links. Anything besides target and
>> description requires some workarounds. Usual approach is proliferation
>> of link types. E.g. inline source blocks allows almost arbitrary extra
>> parameters. Citation syntax is rather domain specific, it allows more
>> than regular links, but for convenience the set of properties is fixed:
>> style, prefixes, locators, suffixes. It is impossible to add extra one.
>> To assign additional properties, info "(org) Links in HTML export"
>> https://orgmode.org/manual/Links-in-HTML-export.html recommends usage of
>> "#+ATTR_HTML", but such technique has several issues:
>> - attributes becomes specific to the export backend
>> - the same attributes are added to the enclosing paragraph
>>    https://linevi.ch/en/org-link-extra-attrs.html
>> - a paragraph may have more than one link.
>> It is possible to use link target similar to form values encoded into
>> URI, but it hardly can be considered as convenient for editing.
>> Custom citation types may alleviate the issue with cross-references. It
>> would be great to have more flexible links with arbitrary properties
>> (and it would allow to consider citations and cross-references as
>> special cases of links), but it does not fit into the Org syntax.
>> P.S. John has a valid complain but it hardly relates to the "cite vs.
>> cross-reference" topic. When some package is not loaded and link type is
>> undefined then the link becomes a fuzzy one leading to user confusion.

Professor John Kitchin
Doherty Hall A207F
Department of Chemical Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Pronouns: he/him/his

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