refdb-ms(1) a console-based style generator for RefDB




refdb-ms is a console-based style generator for RefDB.

In short, this utility consists of a loop in which you are asked to:

• select an element from a list of elements allowed in that part of the style,

• enter or select appropriate values for mandatory attributes,

• select optional attributes for that element and enter their values,

• select an element from a list of elements ...

This process ends when you have exhausted the DTD.

Every time you are presented with a list of elements you have the option of selecting help. Doing so will present a screen with a summary of each element on the list. The same thing happens when you are presented with a list of attributes.

When an attribute or element is required by the DTD this utility will select it automatically. For some objects you will not need to provide input and so this utility will create the object(s) automatically. This can be disconcerting at first. Please read the console feedback carefully.

Whenever you are asked to enter or select a value for an attribute or element, you are given a brief prompt explaining the purpose of the element or attribute. After each element is added to the style you are presented with a "progress report" showing the (major) elements. It may take a little while to understand this feedback. As you add elements they will be appended to the report. When you complete a major element, such as a PUBTYPE or AUTHORLIST, however, its subsidiary elements are no longer displayed -- they are "folded". This saves space and makes it easier to quickly understand where in the style you are at that point in time. As you become more familiar with the structure of the style DTD this display will become increasingly useful.

At certain times within PUBTYPE, AUTHORONLY, YEARONLY and INTEXTDEF elements you are able to delete the previous "major" element. "Major" elements are those corresponding to ris fields. These elements may contain other elements. For example, deleting an AUTHORLIST element will delete all the children elements of that author list style. You can view the complete element before deletion occurs.

When you select some elements (in general, those corresponding to ris fields) you will be given an opportunity to copy the most recently entered element of that type. If you choose to copy, all attributes and sub-elements will be copied. This can save you a lot of time if, for example, your author lists will always have the same formatting.

After you have created your style this utility will save it to a disk file. It will also generate a brief summary of it in html format. This summary can be of great help when entering references in your reference database.

This utility will then offer to upload the style to RefDB. There is no foreseeable way in which this operation could damage your reference data, but you use it at your own risk.



This module is required by refdb-ms. It is available as a tar.gz archive or a Debian package from the RefDB website <>.


refdb-ms was written by David Nebauer <[email protected]>.

This manual page was written by David Nebauer <[email protected]> for the Debian project (but may be used by others).