[NTG-context] A note on Arabic names in bibliographies and indices

Idris Samawi Hamid ادريس سماوي حامد ishamid at colostate.edu
Sun Feb 1 16:06:54 CET 2015

Dear Syndicate,

The current bibliography handler uses the following for authors:


Now in Arabic we have something similar to the 'von' field: the definite  
article 'al-', 'ibn', etc. Just as with 'von' we want to ignore them in  
the alphabetical sorting. [On the other hand, ConTeXt cannot currently  
sort its own bbl files alphabetically]. See the linked picture for a  
real-life example (the top-right of the page contains both Dutch and  
Arabic examples):


Now the {von} field works for these Arabic prefixes, but there is an  
issue: There can be no space between 'al-' and what follows (e.g.  
'al-Haq'). But the {von} field by default adds a space (von Corbin). So  
what to do? One solution is to use \setuppublicationlist[vonsep=] (see  
also attached):


\author[]{Henry}[H.]{von }{Corbin}
\title{The Concept of Comparative Philosophy}
\pubname{Golgonooza Press}
\city{Ipswich, United Kingdom}

\author[]{Syed Nomanul}[S.]{al-}{Haq}
\title{Names, Natures, and Things}

\author[]{F.~J.}[F.~J.]{ibn al-}{Ragep}
\title{Memoir on Astronomy}
\pubname{Springer Verlag}
\city{New York}

\placepublications [criterium=all] % inherits from \setuppublications
% \completepublications[criterium=cite] % only works with criterium=all

\setuppublicationlist[vonsep=] kills the space after the prefix, but that  
means that for every 'von', 'van', 'abu', and the like we have to add the  
space manually in the {von} field (as in the above example).

If we don't want to use \setuppublicationlist[vonsep=] then we have to  
define a command for 'al-' that gobbles the space:

% \define \GobbleSpace{\ignorespaces}
% \define \Al{al-\GobbleSpace}

If one is using lots of Arabic names and few, e.g., Dutch names, then  
using the [vonsep=] approach seems better. But in the upcoming bib module  
we may want a better solution so that bbl files can be more consistent and  
portable. Any thoughts are appreciated, and

Best wishes
Idris Samawi Hamid
Professor of Philosophy
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
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