Refer format information

Refer format is extremely simple - each part of the information that comprises a bibliographic record is typed in separately on a different line with a label to identify what sort of thing it is (so %A labels author names, %P page numbers and so on). Records are separate by a blank line. This really is simple and easy to do by comparison with trying to make a word processor consistently add the formatting correctly! A refer file has no formatting - we make the program put it in afterwards!

So, sending a reference for a simple book such as

%A David Zeitlyn
%D 1994
%T Sua in Somie.  Mambila Traditional Religion
%B Collectanea Instituti Anthropos
%I Academia Verlag
%C Sankt Augustin
%K mambila
and perhaps a journal article

%A David Zeitlyn
%D 1993
%T Spiders in and out of Court or łthe long legs of the law.˛ Styles of spider d
ivination in their sociological contexts.
%J Africa
%V 63
%N 2
%P 219-240
allows the programs to undertake the formating automatically (as well as searching easily) to produce:

Zeitlyn, D. 1993. Spiders in and out of Court or "the long legs of the law." Styles of spider divination in their sociological contexts. Africa 63(2), 219-240.
Zeitlyn, D. 1994. Sua in Somie. Mambila Traditional Religion (Collectanea Instituti Anthropos 41). Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag.

That is the basic summary. There follows more detailed explanation.
A still more technical account is available from

List of all possible Fields (non-alphabetical)

%A   Author's name (repeat for mulitple authors)
%Q   Corporate or Foreign Author (which is not
     to be reversed when printed, e.g. 'Eurotra Essex Group')
%T   Title of article or book 
%D   Date of publication (just the year)
%J   Name of Journal containing article [gets italic]
%V   Volume number of Journal or of a book in a series
     [gets printed after 'vol.']
%N   Number within volume [gets printed after 'no.']
%P   Page number(s) [gets printed after 'pp.']
%I   Issuer (publisher, or awarding institution
     for thesis, etc.)
%C   City (place of publication)
%E   Editor of book containing article referenced
     [gets preceded by 'ed.']
%B   Name of Book containing article [gets italic face]
%S   Series title
%R   Use for Report number, 'unpublished
     MSc Thesis' or 'Ms'
%O   Other commentary [printed after final full
     stop at end of reference]: e.g. 'Cited in Chomsky
     1957', 'Also appears as Report CC983', full date
     (day and month, etc.)
%K   Keywords: words which are not part of the title, etc.
     to use in locating reference [not printed]
%X   Abstract - this is printed by roffbib,
     (unless -x option) ignored by refer.

Examples etc.

The list in square brackets indicates the default order the fields print in. If a field is empty, nothing appears in the output.

1. Books: use author (A, or Q), title (T), publisher (I), date (D), city (C). Possibly also (S)eries, (V)olume and (O)ther fields. [QATSVPICDO]

  %A Noam Chomsky
   %T Topics in the Theory of Generative Grammar
   %C The Hague
   %I Mouton
   %D 1966
   %S Janua Linguarum
   %V 56
   %O (Text of four lectures delivered at the
   1964 LSA, Indiana University)

1a. If the book is a collection of articles (i.e. the 'author' is just the editor), treat it as a book, but put ', ed.', or ', eds.' after the last editor:

   %A Margret King, ed.
   %T Machine Translation Today
   %S Edinburgh Information Technology Series
   %V 2
   %I Edinburgh University Press
   %C Edinburgh

2. Journal articles. Use the (A)uthor (or Q), (T)itle, (D)ate, (J)ournal, (V)olume, (N)umber, (P)age, and possi- bly (O)ther fields. The I, and C fields are also possi- ble. [QATJVNPICDO]

   %A Jose Borges Neto
   %T Syncategorematic Words Again
   %J Linguistic Inquiry
   %V 16
   %N 1
   %P 151-2
   %D 1985

2a. Articles in conference proceedings. Treat as though it were a journal article, with the full name of the conference as the journal name (%J), and full location in the (C)ity field. [QATJVNPICDO]

   %T Semantic Cooccurrence Networks
   %A Dan W. Higinbotham
   %D 1990
   %J Third International Conference on
   Theoretical and Methodological Issues in
   Machine Translation 11-13 June 1990
   %C Linguistics Research Center, Austin, Texas
   %O (Page numbers not integrated)

3. Article in book. Author of article in A field, title of article in (T)itle field, name of book in (B)ook field, and editor(s) of book in (E) field(s) (nb. no 'ed(s)' or anything), (P)age numbers, (S)eries and (V)olume also possible. [QATBESVPICDO]

   %A M. King
   %A S. Pershke
   %B Machine Translation Today
   %E Margaret King
   %I Edinburgh University Press
   %S Edinburgh Information Technology Series
   %V 2

4. PhD Theses: treat as books, with 'unpublished PhD Thesis' and the awarding institution in the (I)ssuer field:

   %A Louisa Sadler
   %T Welsh Syntax
   %I Unpublished PhD Thesis, Department of
   Language and Linguistics, University of Essex

5. Technical Reports: use (R)eport for report number, and (I)ssuer for the institution. [QATRGPICDO]

   %A Dan Rougold-Plonker
   %T Something Fishy about Semantic Nets
   %R Eurotra Internal Memorandum ET-IM 000
   %I Department of Language and
   Linguistics, University of Essex

   6. MSc/MA Theses and Manuscripts: treat as Reports,  with
   'unpublished  MSc  Thesis'  or  'Ms' in with the (R)eport
   field, (I)ssuer is the awarding institution, or  author's
   home institution.
   %A Dan Rougold-Plonker
   %T How not to do a PhD Thesis
   %R Ms.
   %D no date
   %I Dept. of Language and
   Linguistics, University of Essex

   %A Dan Rougold-Plonker
   %T The Truth about Syntax
   %R unpublished MA Thesis
   %I Deptartment of Language
   and Linguistics, University of Essex

If the printing programs cannot make something fit one of the above categories (e.g. because they lack an Issuer field) the entry will get printed with the (T)itle in italic, and fields in the order [QATSVPCDO].

Other examples

Here %Q is used for the author, because we want it to appear as is (rather than reversed). The blank %R field is also significant, because it tells the printing com- mands that this is a report, rather than a book, so the title is put in "'s, rather than in italics.
   %Q Essex Eurotra Group
   %T Plan of Campaign for 1990-92
   %D no date
   %I Department of Language and
   Linguistics, University of Essex

This next example shows how to do the abstract: It also shows exten- sive use of the %O (Other) field.

   %A Steven Krauwer
   %A Bente Maegaard
   %A Sergei Pershke
   %A Jeanette Pugh
   %T Proposal for an overall plan concerning
   the content of the Transition Programme ('the programme
   concerning the preparation of the development of
   an operational EUROTRA system')
   %O (Reference cgc-12/244/90, 13 Jun 1990;
   Also appeared as: 'Revision of 1991-92 paper
   Kom 223332 (part1) Kom223938 (part2)')
   %D 1990
   %K KMPP 30%
   %X This is the best overview of 1990-92:
   describes content of 30%, 40% and other areas
   of activity; sets out the details of the various
   areas in which proposals are to be invited.
       It is an update of several earlier papers
   by the same authors.

There are a number of other fields possible, but I suggest we should not typically bother with them:

%L   Label field used by -k option of refer: you could use this
     in case you always wanted a special label
%G   Government order number (gets put in brackets if it
     appears with some other kinds of field)
%Z   ignored by refer
%W   Where the item can be found (e.g. project library
     or university library classmark)
%Y   (ignored by refer)
%H   Header commentary, printed before reference
     (could be used instead of a 'label')
%M   Bell Labs Memorandum (undefined: do not use)
%F   Footnote number or label (supplied by refer: do not use)