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

From: Nicolas Goaziou
Subject: Re: citations: org-cite vs org-ref 3.0
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2022 22:06:31 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/27.2 (gnu/linux)


John Kitchin <jkitchin@andrew.cmu.edu> writes:

> I do not think it is productive for the community to say or consider it
> is a sad situation. Many good things have emerged from these
> discussions, even if it is not yet consensus on a solution. It is a
> complex problem, with many years of effort by many people on each side.
> That is an indication of how ambitious this project is and that there
> may be more than one solution that is needed.


> There are more than 8 years of legacy org-ref documents. I have written
> 40+ scientific papers with it, and countless technical documents with
> more than 8000 cite links among them. org-ref has exceeded 190K
> downloads from MELPA, so I feel obligated to maintain org-ref for
> myself, and those users. org-ref may be heavyweight in bundling a lot of
> capability together that could be separated into individual packages,
> but it is also convenient for people who need it, and a GitHUB issue or
> pull request away from new features. I remain committed to supporting
> this, and I do it in a way I can manage, hence the monolithic package
> design.

I think there's a misunderstanding here. Org Cite was never meant as
a replacement for Org Ref. It was designed from the beginning as
a framework other libraries could rely on and extend in their own way.
Org Ref could have been one of them.

It looks like a social problem to me. I remember well asking for
feedback when implementing the various prototypes, i.e., ways to make
Org Cite more useful to other libraries. I don't think I got much of it,
barring the cross-references topic, which is not solved. Maybe I was not
explicit enough about what I was expecting. For example, this is—please
correct me if I'm wrong—the first time I read about the "BibLaTeX is not
fully implemented in Org Cite" and "Org Cite is adding an extra
abstraction layer on top of BibLaTeX commands" issues, which are both
trivial to solve, either on the Org Cite or the Org Ref side. But then
again, it is perfectly fine if Org Cite doesn't provide that, as some
libraries can extend it if needed.

On the other hand, there have been much activity on GitHub repositories,
i.e., out of this mailing list. It seems to me Org Ref project has been
trying to work around possible blockers in Org Cite project the whole
time without the latter knowing about them, and having an opportunity to
lift them.

> Both projects have benefited from this discussion a lot. org has
> org-cite now, and org-ref now handles pre/post notes like org-cite does,
> it supports CSL much better, and is even a little more modular, lighter
> weight, and more easily integrated with other completion backends than
> ivy or helm. That should broadly be viewed as a win-win situation.

But it is not. There are now two, more or less official, citations
syntax. Interoperability is the big loss. Features do not count; it is
perfectly fine to have different packages targeting different needs, as
long as they share the same syntax.

Hopefully, at some point, we'll be able to build a list of blockers that
prevent Org Ref being built on top of Org Cite, and proceed.

Nicolas Goaziou

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