Microsoft's support of built-in styles

Jan 18, 2011 at 6:48 PM

We are evaluating whether to recommend using the Word Bib tool more broadly in our organization. The following questions are related to Microsoft's support of the built-in Styles. We would appreciate any answers/pointers that might help us as we plan to move forward. Thank so much for your time and help.

  1. Does Microsoft have an official channel for logging errors/omissions in the built-in bib styles?
  2. Is there a list of known problems with the built-in Styles?
  3. Does Microsoft publish (or has it ever published) updates/corrections to their built-in bib styles?
  4. If so, how are these updates propagated? (For example, are such updates distributed as part of standard MS service packs?)
  5. Are any major changes in store for the bib tool in Word 2010? For example, in Word 2010:
    1. Has MS incorporated an IEEE style as a built-in?
    2. Has MS added/removed/fixed any existing built-in Styles?
    3. Has MS added new bib-related features?
Coordinator
Jan 18, 2011 at 9:41 PM
1. Does Microsoft have an official channel for logging errors/omissions in the built-in bib styles?

No. I guess you could open a ticket with Microsoft support or through the Connect site but I wouldn't hope for any fixes. Issues with the 2007 styles were known since the release and weren't fixed in over 2 years.

2. Is there a list of known problems with the built-in Styles?

No.

3. Does Microsoft publish (or has it ever published) updates/corrections to their built-in bib styles?

Yes ... but no.

The 2010 versions of the styles contain some minor fixes over the 2007 ones. However, no other fixes have ever been released. So support is unexisting.

4. If so, how are these updates propagated? (For example, are such updates distributed as part of standard MS service packs?)

Traces of an update mechanism can be found in the styles that came with Word 2008 for Mac. However, I have never seen any usage of this functionality.

So far, no updates have been made during service pack releases. The only updates so far where with releases of new versions of Office.

5. Are any major changes in store for the bib tool in Word 2010? For example, in Word 2010:
  1. Has MS incorporated an IEEE style as a built-in?
  2. Has MS added/removed/fixed any existing built-in Styles?
  3. Has MS added new bib-related features?

Except for a few fixes to styles (all were listed in the notes I provided MS), the change of the names to reflect the version of the styles (also a suggestion I made), and a broken fix for storing first names (unlike the full fix available here which they didn't want to use for some reason), no changes have been made.

The tool has been misunderstood since the very beginning. MS has indicated that it wasn't their job to publish styles. Styles had to come from libraries and large publishing organizations.  Unfortunately, MS didn't take the laziness of those organizations into account. They will never publish their own styles. Note that this issue is not restricted to Word, the IEEE bst style for LaTeX for example is a community effort and is not officially supported by IEEE either. The same hold for the EndNote version.

The tool has to be seen as a framework were everyone can contribute his or her own styles to. Unfortunately, almost nobody is contributing.

Microsoft used to have an Academic Search engine similar to Google's Scholar. This service was stopped 2 years ago. Together with the lack of input on the bibliography tools, it seems that Microsoft has lost its interest in the academic world for some reason.

Jan 20, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Many, many thanks for the detailed explanation, yves.