Currently my main task for university is writing a long paper about some description logic in context middle-ware stuff. Before I begun I had to make a decision: which flavour of word-processing-software do I want to use? Out of OpenOffice, MS Office 2003, LaTeX und MS Office 2007 I picked the latter, mainly because of evaluation purposes (and some curiosity I must admit).
And soon I stumbled into problems with the new built-in changable style of citations, which is for sure a feature scientists have long been waiten for. But if the about a dozen built-in styles aren’t satisfying you, it becomes critical.
One have to praise Microsoft for finally utilizing open standards (XSLT in this case) to realize things, since you can find all styles in the
folder which contains a .xsl file for each. Actually one can imagine the whole Word-kernel is just a transformation engine working with XSL. But this time it was a flop regarding the usability of citations. Why? Even a very skilled expert would need months to decrypt those multi-thousand-lines monsters. Well, I believe making the styles editable with some kind of GUI or just with simple XML-files (should be possible) instead of using an open standard in a non-open way would have surely satisfied more people. Since everybody knows, coding experts usually don’t work with MS Word.
It was my luck, that some clever people on the web achieved it to identify enough code-lines to modify the built-in styles a bit. This is nevertheless a source of misconduct behaviour of the whole citation feature, but it works good enough to make use of it.
I won’t publish the modifications here, since they’re depending on the modified style-template. Furthermore, in the meantime MS has noticed that using the built-in styles isn’t satisfactory to many people, and published a short how-to for making your own, custom and simple XML-based bibliography style: Building a Bibliography Style.
Anyway, the main problem remains: Creating a satisfying style isn’t something a normal Word user is able to do. But since this feature seems more open than I thought, it’s just a matter of time, till there are comercial (or even free) style packs out there.