Authors of scientific publications have to add a list of bibliographic references to their manuscripts. The format of this list is described in the "Instructions for authors" issued by the editorial boards of scientific journals. So far a great variability existed for these bibliographic styles, so that manual compilation of these lists is extremely time consuming and prone to errors.
Moreover, different sorting orders exist for these lists, among these:
To make things even more complex, in-text citations of the items in the list of references may
This complex situation for the author will persist for some time despite efforts of groups as the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors who proposed a standardized citation style (the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals) for publications in medicine and biology, which is being adopted by an increasing number of biomedical journals.
The problems related to production of manuscripts with correctly formatted lists of references and citatations can be solved by use of personal bibliographic management software (or reference management software). A concise description of the essential features of bibliographic software has been written by A. Faichney. The OpenOffice.org project includes plans to support writers with bibliographic software tools in the context of the Bibliographic Project with an instructive webpage. Basic terms often usedin the context of bibliographic software are discussed in the introducing section ("Scientific pulications and bibliographic software -- General conventions") of the References manual.
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