Citation Style Language

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The Citation Style Language (CSL) is an open XML-based language to describe the formatting of citations and bibliographies. Reference management programs using CSL include Zotero, Mendeley and Papers.


CSL was created by Bruce D'Arcus for use with,[1][2] and an XSLT-based "CiteProc" CSL processor. CSL was further developed in collaboration with Zotero developer Simon Kornblith. Since 2008, the core development team consists of D'Arcus, Frank Bennett and Rintze Zelle.

The releases of CSL are 0.8 (March 21, 2009), 0.8.1 (February 1, 2010), 1.0 (March 22, 2010), and 1.0.1 (September 3, 2012). CSL 1.0 was a backward-incompatible release, but styles in the 0.8.1 format can be automatically updated to the CSL 1.0 format.[3]

On its release in 2006, Zotero became the first application to adopt CSL. In 2008 Mendeley was released with CSL support, and in 2011, Papers and Qiqqa gained support for CSL-based citation formatting.

Software support[edit]

  • Zotero, Mendeley, Citationsy, Papers, and Qiqqa all support CSL 1.0 (Zotero also supports CSL 0.8.1 styles, which are internally updated to CSL 1.0).
  • Zotero, Mendeley, and Qiqqa rely on the citeproc-js JavaScript CSL processor.
  • CSL 1.0 processors have also been written in Haskell (citeproc-hs), PHP, Python, and Ruby.[4]
  • Zotero, Mendeley, and Qiqqa provide a built-in CSL editor to help create and modify CSL styles.


The CSL project maintains a CSL 1.0 style repository, which contains over 9000 styles (more than 1700 unique styles).[5]


  1. ^ CiteProc at OpenOffice Bibliographic Project.
  2. ^ OpenOffice Bibliographic Project.
  3. ^ Update instructions to convert CSL 0.8.1 styles to the 1.0 format.
  4. ^ Jakob Voß (May 2010), "Quick introduction to the Citation Style Language (CSL)", Lightning Talk proposal European Library Automation Group Conference.
  5. ^

External links[edit]