MLZ style for Japanese tech writing: SIST-02

Japan Science and Technology Agency, Standards for Information Science and Technology

Before the arrival of Multilingual Zotero, reference managers uniformly assumed that a single citation style should be applied to all references. This assumption breaks down when the items to be cited are in multiple languages that differ significantly in their typographic conventions. Mixed-language citation is common in most non-English jurisdictions, and mixed-format citation support should be considered a threshold requirement for tools intended for use in Asian (and Middle-Eastern) publishing.

Multilingual Zotero is designed to accommodate language-dependent citation formats in a single style, through its extended CSL-m version of the Citation Style Language. Until today, this capability had been exercised only by a few intrepid users, and in the processor test suite: I hadn’t gotten to the point of drafting such a style myself. That’s changed now, and it gives me great pleasure to present the MLZ SIST-02 style, an implementation of the SIST-02 citation style maintained by the quasi-non-governmental Japan Information Science and Technology Agency (Kagaku gijutsu shinkō kikō: 科学技術振興機構).

Minami-Sanriku Disaster Prevention Headquarters

As if to remind me of the importance of getting out more, I learned of the SIST-02 style at the first full meeting of Code4Lib Japan held August 31 to September 1 of this year in Minami-Sanriku, Miyagi Prefecture (宮城県南三陸 — an area still struggling to recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011). The meeting was memorable and inspiring in a variety of ways, not least of which was the decision by the organisers to hold the event at this location. C4Ljp is an active community, and core members have been closely involved in helping local libraries restore services following the disaster. Their dedication, and the perseverance of local staff, are a model to us all. I was also fortunate to meet Dan Chudnov, Director of Scholarly Technology at George Washington University, who was guest of honour at the event. The SIST-02 style presented here is based on work by Kyushu University librarian Eriko Amano, which came to light during an excursion to local library facilities following the meeting. The short lesson from this experience can be summarised as follows:

Means of Communication Score
Internet Borg-knowledge 0
Face-to-face conversation 1

The original version by Amano-san was cast in official CSL, and covered a subset of the SIST-02 style for Japanese references. I have taken the liberty of recasting the code in CSL-m for use with Multilingual Zotero, testing revisions against the copious examples provided in the SIST-02 style guide. The result is available for reference as a set of MLZ SIST-02 sample references, with links to the relevant section of the style guide (to confirm operation of the style) and corresponding Zotero library entries (to illustrate correct input conventions) for each tested reference.

The new style is available from the CitationStylist site, for use with the latest versions of Multilingual Zotero and the Abbreviation Filter (the latter is needed for correct formatting of patent references). It does not currently have general support for legal referencing, but as our first fully tested multilingual style implementation, it will provide a sound foundation for further style development in the Japanese jurisdiction.

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