Archiv für März 2006

Deconstructing RIS (part I)

März 12, 2006 - Markus Hoenicka
Whether you like it or not - RIS is one of the most widely used formats for bibliographic data on Windows and Mac boxes. The fact that the company that developed this format bought all relevant vendors of bibliographic programs on the market certainly helped to establish this leadership. Some say the format is easy to use. I agree as long as we look at simple cases like a journal article or a book. Some say the format is crappy, illogical, badly designed from the ground up. I agree as a developer of bibliographic software. But for reasons of compatibility and to encourage data migration, we still have to support this format somehow.

Lets first analyze why the data format is so illogical. Look at the following brief examples. The first two encode the same book, and the third and fourth encode the same chapter (all variants are valid according to the RefMan manual):

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