Tutorial: managing abbreviations

CCBYSA Frank Bennett


Citations are a compact expression of the essential details needed to retrieve the cited material. To reduce the bulk of text in citations, many styles apply uniform abbreviations to journal titles. Legal styles have more complex conventions, applying abbreviations to court and jurisdiction names. Jurism contains and Abbreviation Filter that can be used to control and customize the abbreviations applied by any style.

To illustrate the use of the Abbreviation Filter, this tutorial walks through configuration of the Indigobook Law Review style to render citations to Austrian and French court judgments.

The sample items in this tutorial are drawn from the Jurism Style Test Items library, which contains sample items for a range of materials. See the related tutorial for details on accessing this library.

Opening the Abbreviation Filter

Open the Abbreviation Filter by pressing the Abbrevs button that is displayed in the Style Editor view of Jurism. The button is also available in the Quick Format (or “red ribbon”) word processor citation dialog and the Classic word processor citation dialog, and works in exactly the same way. (In a word processor, the button may be greyed out until citations have been refreshed.)

After selecting an item in the center pane of Jurism, we open the Preferences dialog, select the Cite tab, and click on the Style Editor button to open the style editor.


In the style editor, we select a style, and citation samples appear in the popup:


We see that there is a problem: the court name is showing as cass~plen, which is not at all right. To fix this, we need to configure abbreviations for this style. Clicking on the Abbrevs button opens the Abbreviation Filter:


Selecting an abbreviation category

Abbreviations are organized into categories. The currently selected category name is shown in a button that spans the width of the dialog box. By default the Journal, Reporter list is selected. In our citation, the court name is in the wrong form, so we need to choose a different list. Ordinary court names are controlled by the Institution Part list, so we click on the wide button and select that list:


In the Institution Part list, oaur court shows up as Cour de Cassation|Assemblée plénière, which is more informative, but still not correct.


Editing abbreviations

We see that the name of our court is listed twice—once with no label, and once with the label France|FR, both with editable bubbles for registering an abbreviation. An abbreviation set on the entry with no label will be applied to this key whenever it appears in the Court field (or any other field that carries an institution name). An abbreviation set on the France|FR entry will be applied only to items with France (or a subjurisdiction of France) set in the Jurisdiction field.

Generally speaking, it is a good policy to set abbreviations on the most specific jurisdiction shown, but for demonstration purposes, we will set an arbitrary “abbreviation” on the unlabeled entry:


When we save the entry (by pressing Enter), close the dialog, and click on the Refresh button, our “abbreviation” shows up in the citation:


Applying pre-packaged abbreviation lists

Our abbreviation entry was just a wild guess. We could dig out a set of French legal style manuals to get the correct abbreviation, but in this case there is an easier way. The abbreviations needed to render the EURO-EXPERT citations are collected in a pre-packaged list bundled with Jurism. If we add that list to the Abbreviation Filter entries for the current style, our citation should come out correctly.

To begin, we click on the button Select a resource to the right of the Import from defaults label to open a pulldown listing the bundled abbreviation lists. (If label to the left instead reads “Import from file,” clicking on it will switch the import mode to “Import from defaults.”) We select the list “Primary EU sources for the EURO-EXPERT project”.


After selecting our list, we choose an import mode, then click on the Import button to add the list entries to the Abbreviation Filter for this style. The import modes “fill gaps,” “override local entries,” and “replace local list” have the effects that they describe.


After selecting the list, closing the Abbreviation Filter dialog and clicking Refresh, we are greeted with a correctly formatted citation.


All of the sample items with the EURO-EXPERT tag should now render correctly, in Style Editor and word processor alike.