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]


The CSL project maintains a CSL 1.0 style repository at, which contains over 6000 styles. These styles can be browsed and searched via the Zotero Style Repository.


  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.

External links[edit]

Other XML-based bibliographic metadata systems[edit]

  • OSBIB, another approach to using XML style files for bibliographic metadata
  • BiblioX, Peter Flynn's 2004 experiment in creating an XML-based system for formatting bibliographic citations and references using XSLT