In both of the fields which make up the majority of my research experience (HCI/CSCW and Design Research) peer-reviewed conferences are an important way that research is published. In most other fields of research, conferences aren’t sites of publishing so much as precursors to it. In, for example, the social sciences and humanities, you go to a conference to present a paper that you’ll later submit to a journal.
This leads to minor problems in referencing (and in trans-disciplinary discussions of what “counts” as a research publication, but that’s not the topic of this post). One of the main problems is that a some reference management software has problems with referencing conference publications and many of the “official” reference styles supported in most reference management software, or required by many journals, have poor or no support for conference publications. I’m looking at you, AMA style.
However, in a blinding flash it occurred to me that conference proceedings are effectively a book and conference papers are chapters in that book. Changing the “kind” of the conference papers I want to reference to from “conference proceedings” to “book chapters” in Sente, solved all my referencing problems and, importantly, meant I didn’t have to cobble together a conference proceedings style myself.