I’ve spent a fair bit of time playing with PhpBibliography now, and I think it could do what I need. Here’s a trial run:
But it’s not for beginners. As is often the way with open source software, the instructions are minimalist and assume levels of understanding that I can only just scrape together. I can install a database using my web host’s control panel and phpMyAdmin, but when I get SQL syntax errors, I start to panic. (They had something to do with the slightly elderly version of SQL installed on my web server, I think; if you have SQL5, there should be no problem. In the absence of, well, actually knowing what to do, some trial-and-error hacking fixed it, but at the expense of a little functionality. One of these days I will get around to learning PHP and SQL properly…)
If you have a large number of citations you want to import into a bibliography, you’ll also need to learn a bit about using BibTex. But that’s a good idea in any case, and it’s pretty easy to get up to speed.
I should probably add that PhpBibliography is also not ideal for scholarly perfectionists. It has some unexpected limitations: entries are ordered by date, and there’s no option to order them by author name (I find this quite bizarre, actually) unless, presumably, you have the expertise to hack the code yourself. The same goes for the formatting of the entries – you get them title first rather than author first and like it or lump it. Also slightly odd is that it doesn’t treat editors of books as authors if you use the list by author function.
Still, these are all things that I can live with in an online bibliography. (If, of course, I can be arsed to put it together to start with. We shall have to see.) Others may find it useful too. On the other hand, if you just want an easy way to create and manage a conventional bibliography in HTML format, Zotero will do a great job for you.