Citation workflow ... Without .bib file(s)?

Hi,

I understand that the normal flow involves creating a separate .bib file (or many) through possibly a third-party app like Zotero, then giving this file as a source to org-cite, citar, etc. in order to generate and insert the citation markup to the org-roam REFs or directly as part of the text.
This makes sense, insofar as we are leveraging an existing ecosystem.

I’d like to know if it’s possible to use actual org-roam notes as the “citation sources”, from which we generate and insert the citation markup to other org-roam notes. And… if it is possible, what would be reasons to not do that?

I believe you can ditch .bib files altogether if you do not need to publish/export an article, paper, etc. with academic-grade citations; that is, in-text citations and a list of references at the end of your material based on a certain convention – e.g. APA style, Chicago style, IEEE style, etc.

Even if you are using MS Word, .bib files can be used to help you stay within your chosen citation style without having to repeate yourself too much – you want to focus on expressing your ideas in the paper.

If this is not what you need, I think you could just use normal Org-roam files to take notes on what you read and casually make reference to other things you read. But this disciplined approaches are based on years of serious practice by the professional academicians, so I believe there are some merits in following their footsteps.

In the end, up to you, really.

Got it. I’ve made some additional research over the past few days and what I now understand from your comment is that, while there’s no reason why my suggestion is impossible, the entire ecosystem currently rests on using these .bib files, so there’s no infrastructure supporting the use of my idea.

I’m also less attached to this idea, as I understand a little better the separation between Zotero and org-roam now.

Thanks for taking the time to reply!

In line with your original question: you could use a short alias to cite another note within org-roam. For example, while the full title of a note may be Liang et al 2018 - Constructing a Data-Driven Society: China’s Social Credit System as a State Surveillance Infrastructure, I use the alias Liang et al 2018 to reference this note in other notes. In that very note I link to the Zotero or Bookends entry for that reference.

Let me also, somewhat offtopic, go on short rant about org-cite and bib files etc. To figure out this system will take you a lot of time. Customization for a particular style of reference will take even more time. For many journals you still will have to hand in a .docx file. At least for the humanities and social sciences this feels like an (/is a) bottomless pit of frustration. By the you have figured out this system, your MS Word-using colleague will have published 2-3 papers. /rant

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I’d like to know if it’s possible to use actual org-roam notes as the “citation sources”, from which we generate and insert the citation markup to other org-roam notes. And… if it is possible, what would be reasons to not do that?

There has been some discussion recently about using org-mode files rather than bibtex files to store the bibliographic information that citation packages like citar then use; see here.

Another approach is to include this bibliographic information as a bibtex code block in the org-mode file with the notes for that entry, as described here. The corresponding bibtex file can then be generated by tangling the bibtex code blocks.

Incidentally, you don’t need to use an external tool like Zotero to manage your bibtex file(s). The zotra package makes it possible to call the Zotero translators without installing the Zotero client. I personally use a pure Emacs solution that relies on zotra, ebib and bibtex-mode.