MLZ and the Abbreviation Filter: updates

As I wrote in the last post, a typo in the code of the last Abbreviation Filter release prevented the lists from being recognized against the MLZ styles. This has now been fixed, and with the latest release of MLZ and the Abbreviation Filter, we introduce some further improvements. Here is a brief run-down of the changes:

Document compatibility with Zotero and Mendeley
Sebastian Karcher recently pointed out that documents drafted with MLZ would likely break when run against official Zotero (he was absolutely right—this was an issue that I had missed). Given that one of the core aims of the MLZ project is to provide a smooth path for collaboration between scholars in different disciplines, this was a serious shortcoming. It has now been remedied: documents written in MLZ should be editable in both Zotero and (I believe) Mendeley. When the document is returned to MLZ, the multilingual data embedded it contains should be intact, and extract correctly to the database if the item has gone missing in the interim. The compatibility code is new, so document sharing among the three platforms should be approached with caution; but in my initial testing it seems to work quite well.
Bundled abbreviation lists
The lists bundled with the Abbreviation Filter (AFZ) have been broken out into rough categories, which can now be selected for import (or reimport) via the AFZ popup. The available lists include empties for abbreviations and abbreviation word-and-phrase hints, which can be used to disable abbreviations for the currently selected style. We also offer a list of abbreviations for scientific journals, which was supplied to the project months ago by Alberto Battistel. To import an external list, click on the label next to the selector to toggle the old-style file picker.
Missing items
MLZ inherits the ability to edit document containing unavailable references from official Zotero. I recently discovered that the Abbreviation Filter plugin broke this functionality, and threw up a large and cryptic error message when missing items were encountered. Although the error could be avoided by disabling AFZ, it certainly looked intimidating, and may have led users to assume that the document itself was broken. This bug has been fixed in the latest release: documents with missing items should work normally with AFZ installed and enabled.

Assuming things remain quiet on the bug front, I’m quite happy with the latest round of changes. The Abbreviation Filter is now a much more flexible and a friendlier tool, and document compatibility opens up possibilities that hadn’t even crossed our attention a couple of years ago. Small but important steps to enable research communities to achieve a higher level of discourse, on their own terms.

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