The Citation Style Language (CSL) was created by Bruce D’Arcus, and shaped by early contributions from Simon Kornblith of Zotero. Frank G. Bennett, Jr. and Rintze M. Zelle spearheaded the development of CSL 1.0 and 1.0.1, and Bruce D’Arcus, Brenton M. Wiernik, and Denis Maier. The CSL styles and locales GitHub repositories are maintained by Sebastian Karcher. Other contributors include:

The contents of this website is by Sebastian Karcher and Rintze Zelle.

CSL Supporters

CSL has enjoyed the support of several patrons:

  • Zotero - Even though CSL and Zotero are independent open source projects, their roots have always been firmly intertwined. Zotero was the first program to adopt CSL, with Zotero-developer Simon Kornblith contributing to the core design of CSL. Many CSL contributors (including Frank, Rintze, and Sebastian) became aware of CSL through their use of Zotero. Our current GitHub styles repository is based on the collection of CSL styles Zotero started, and Zotero-developer Dan Stillman maintains the Zotero Style Repository and CSL’s styles-distribution and distribution-updater GitHub repositories. Finally, Zotero kindly administers our domain.
  • Mendeley and Elsevier - Together with Columbia University Libraries, Mendeley obtained an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant to create a CSL style editor, which was subsequently built by Steve Ridout. Mendeley-developer Carles Pina contributed many CSL styles and helped set up the styles-distribution and distribution-updater GitHub repositories. Since 2014, Mendeley and Elsevier have yearly donated $5000 to the CSL project.
  • Papers - Papers-developer Charles Parnot has contributed many CSL styles (including most of our Springer styles), and Papers ran a “A Serial for a Style” bounty program to reward CSL style contributors with a Papers license. In 2015, Springer and Papers donated $5000 to the CSL project.
  • RefWorks - In 2019, RefWorks and Ex Libris donated $5000 to the CSL project.
  • Paperpile - In 2020, Paperpile donated $1000 to the CSL project.
  • Bibcitation - In 2021, Bibcitation donated $1000 to the CSL project

Supporting CSL

Looking to support CSL? You can help us in many ways:

  • Star our styles repository on GitHub. If you already have a GitHub account, an easy way to show your appreciation is to star our styles repository (and any other of our repositories you find interesting).
  • Become a CSL style author. Learn CSL, create new CSL styles, and improve existing ones. Follow e.g. the Zotero forums to find out which styles are being requested, and help users with their CSL questions.
  • Get involved in CSL development. Take part in CSL development. Report missing features, help us design and implement new features, write new CSL documentation, or work on the CSL processors.
  • Mention us. If you are a developer and use CSL in your software, please drop us a line and acknowledge the use of CSL in your software (please use the unabbreviated “Citation Style Language”, since “CSL” is a common acronym). Also, if you distribute CSL styles from our style repository, make sure to comply with their Creative Commons BY-SA license.
  • Financially. We currently aren’t set up very well to accept personal donations (e.g., the CSL project is not registered as a non-profit organization). However, if you wish to support the open source community around CSL, consider signing up for Zotero File Storage (the preferred way to donate to Zotero) as a token of appreciation for their continuing contributions to CSL, which includes hosting CitationStyles.org and the Zotero Style Repository. Or buy Frank Bennett’s book on Multilingual Zotero (MLZ, which has since been rebranded to Juris-M), Citations, Out of the Box: Adapting Zotero for legal and multilingual research.


Thanks to Johannes Krtek, CSL now has some excellent logos:

  • Full logo
    Full logo
  • Small logo
    Small logo

Additional logo variants and SVG source files can be found in our logo repository.

CSL in the News