What is the CSL project?

In the last entry I talked about Mendeley contributions to the CSL project and I’d like now to explain briefly what the CSL project is.

A CSL style is an XML file that follows the specification and it instructs a citation styles engine (e.g. citeproc-js) how to format certain metadata into inline citations and bibliography.

I usually like to say that it’s like a small programming language: it has conditionals and macros… and that’s the reason that the CSL Visual Editor is not trivial to use: there are some underlying concepts that we tried to hide, but we can’t make them disappear.

Different contributors submit changes and usually Sebastian Karcher and Rintze M. Zelle curates the styles. Hats off to them, they do a huge job! And also many other people indeed.

I think that this is a very interesting project and that helps lot of researchers. There are literally thousands of users who use CSL… and when everything is fine they don’t even know that they are using it.

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