The Abbreviation Filter (AFZ) is an essential companion to Multilingual Zotero (MLZ), particularly for legal writing. In addition to precise, style-specific control over journal abbreviations, the AFZ plugin supplies the human-readable form for a variety of jurisdiction codes, and applies the abbreviations specified in the so-called “Bluebook” to individual words and phrases within case names. The AFZ plugin must be installed alongside MLZ in order to generate accurate legal citations.
While the Abbreviation Filter provides powerful facilities for fine-tuning citation output, previous versions of the plugin were not particularly user-friendly. The abbreviations popup was accessible only via the Classic View of the Zotero word processor integration plugin. One of the most common demands—suppressing one or more particular jurisdiction names across all citations—could only be met via obscure computery incantations in the abbreviation fields. Finally, abbreviation lists were shipped separately from the plugin itself, could only be installed via the word processor plugin, and via an interface that was clunky and difficult to control. All in all, it is understandable that many MLZ users have missed out on the “convenience” of this extension.
Many of the plugin’s infelicities have been addressed in the latest release, and I highly recommend giving the tool a spin, if you haven’t done so already. Here is a run-down of the changes:
- Embedded abbreviation lists
- Abbreviation lists for the MLZ family of citation styles are included in the plugin, and import automatically when it is installed or upgraded. The import process takes a few minutes to complete; wait for the progress bar to finish, and you will be ready to go.
- Jurisdiction suppression
- When writing about a particular jurisdiction (such as the United States), cites to primary legal sources of that jurisdiction (statutes, regulations, law cases) should be omitted. This can now be controlled on a per-style basis from within the abbreviation popup.
- Improved import interface
- To import an abbreviation list in previous versions, we had to select the import mode before selecting the file, which was inconvenient and confusing. In the new version, we select the file, then choose the mode, then run the import, as in a normal computer program.
- The button is now accessible from the “csledit” pane (opened via the advanced pane of MLZ preferences); from the Quick Format word processor integration popup (i.e. the popup that is the default insertion method in Zotero); and the Classic View (the default insertion method in MLZ).
As a teaser, here is a view of the new popup.
Give it a try!