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As far as I know the recommended way to fill the edition field for BiBTeX entries is to use write out ordinal numbers capitalized such as

edition = {Second}

BibTeX then usually outputs "second edition". Now I would like to put a different information there, e.g.

edition = {reprint}

and I don't want BibTeX to write "reprint edition", but only "reprint". I have read that there are bibstyles which check whether the edition field is an ordinal word and if not write out the field content unchanged. Can somebody point me to such a style file?

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1  
Could you tell us which style you use at present so we know what you are after in general? – Joseph Wright Dec 13 '11 at 8:38
    
I am using a modified version of unsrt.bst. – fuenfundachtzig Dec 13 '11 at 8:43

I'm not aware of such a style, but that needn't mean much. If it so happens that you don't have any other bibliography entries with edition information, you could try the following. In the file unsrt.bst, there should be the following function:

FUNCTION {format.edition}
{ edition empty$
    { "" }
    { output.state mid.sentence =
        { edition "l" change.case$ " edition" * }
        { edition "t" change.case$ " edition" * }
      if$
    }
  if$
}

You could replace the strings " edition" with "" (or eliminate them altogether).

Of course, if you do have other bib entries with edition information, you'll have to change the contents of their edition fields from "First", "Second", etc to "First edition", "Second edition", etc. I therefore can't recommend this bibtex hack whole-heartedly. Anyway, what's so bad about a field labelled "Reprint edition" that you feel a need to change it to "Reprint"?

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9  
"edition" to a publisher means that major changes were made in the content. "reprint" (or sometimes "nth printing") means that this is a replicate of the previous printing. the terns really shouldn't be conjoined, as it could be confusing. (there is also the situation, as in one of my desk copies of The TeXbook, of "Twenty-first printing, revised, June 1992", which indicates that some changes were made, but not enough to be considered a new edition.) – barbara beeton Dec 13 '11 at 14:21
2  
@barbarabeeton: Very good points indeed! – Mico Dec 13 '11 at 14:26
1  
I agree with barbara. In any case I'd be interested to see if there indeed is a BibTeX style that can recognize the field content as an ordinal string; that would give me more flexibility. (Admittedly, in the end, your solution surely is the most flexible one :) – fuenfundachtzig Dec 13 '11 at 15:35

I have found no better answer than @mico as it depends on the non-smart .bst style what happens. BibLaTeX is different in its behaviour.

Looking forward to when BibLaTeX takes over completely, for literature control purpose, I record the edition as 2,3,4... and for reprints enter pubstate= {reprint}, without the reprint number, as directed in biblatex-chicago. The publication year/date is the main indicator of the edition/reprint as there is no way for 'revised, abridged, updated or other clarfiers like the reprint number to be automatically carried across with the word reprint.

You still unfortunately need to manually kludge things to get the bibliographic entries appearing exactly as required, and for BibTeX change the edition field back to First, Second, Third... or 2nd ed. 3rd ed. ...

I hope someone with real insight can comment on the wisdom of the above. Hopefully BibLaTeX developers will standardise database entry format allowing revised 2nd reprint to appear correctly for any style without resorting to kludges.

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As a matter of interest, why would you want to know the reprint number – if I am not mistaken, reprints are exact copies of the original from that edition, so the only difference would be the reprint number on the copyright notice, right? It would be useful, though, to be able to add stuff like "abridged", "expanded", or "updated" as well as "remastered by …" – ienissei May 16 at 8:25
    
Thank you @ienissei yes you are correct in theory, but I have done over two thousand entries into JabRef and I have experienced publishers that issue a reprint that is "somewhat changed" :-( My main point was that JabRef (I assume that means BibTeX or BibLateX from what I have read), requires First, Second, Third for BibTeX Edition and 1,2,3 ... for BibLateX Edition, and if you add any pre or post words BibTeX/BibLaTeX will not automatically apply a style. It seems the formatting logic is too simplistic, hence my appeal to someone of wisdom/influence for guidance to get my citations correct. – Jethro Belle Jun 29 at 6:08
    
Agreed. I have come across reprints that were not identical but not enough to justify a new edition! :-( – Jethro Belle Jun 29 at 8:25

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