We (two frequent coauthors) normally publish in APA journals, which use full journal names, so we aren’t used to using abbreviations. However, we are about to submit to a journal that does use them, and so we have now loaded the Medical list of abbreviations. We noticed that there are quite a few errors in the lists supplied along with EndNote (X4, X5 for Mac). For example: «Journal of Experimental Psychology. Human Learning and Memory» fails to abbreviate, because the correct title is: «Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory». «Perception» has an abbreviation «Percepion». «Quintessence» abbreviates to «Quntessence». There are several other similar errors we have noticed after a very limited amount of perusal.
The question is, what is the best way to handle this? Editing the list currently loaded into EndNote makes it impossible to load new term lists without overwriting the corrections; editing the term list files (such as Medical.txt) will make it difficult to upgrade, if new versions of those lists are distributed later (this happened for Bioscience between X4 and X5: a column was added). Also, shouldn’t there be some way for users’ fixes to be incorporated into the product so that other could benefit from them?
Also, what’s with the 3rd column containing the same thing as the 2nd column, but without periods? There’s a checkbox to suppress periods. Is that completely redundant column just a backwards compatibility thing?
And, what about the incomplete 4th column in Medical? Only a small subset of items have it, and as near as I can see, it just has each 1st column «and» replaced with «&». Is there anyway actually to use an incomplete column? Does the program default to using the 1st column if you specify an abbreviation column that is blank? I suppose that that makes sense, but I didn’t see it in the documentation.
Finally, is there any information about the standards used for the different sets of abbreviations? For example, I notice that in BioScience, the New England Journal of Medicine is abbreviated as «New Engl J Med.» whereas in Medical, it is «N Engl J Med». This suggests two distinct standards. Parallel for «Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition», which is «J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn» in Medical and «JExPLMC» in Humanities; again, two standards. The journals generally specify a specific standard, so it would be convenient to be able to find the EndNote implementation of a particular standard. In fact, it would seem to me much more logical to have simple bits of code that could remove periods and convert «and» to «&», then three abbr columns could be used for three different abbreviation standards: «New England Journal of Medicine~N Engl J Med~New Engl J Med~NEJM» or whatever. If you publish sometimes in medical and sometimes in humanities journals, you would still be able to use just the one term list, but with a different abbreviation number specified.