From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Computing / Software (Rated Start-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Computing, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of computers, computing, and information technology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject Software (marked as Mid-importance).

More software[edit]

Any problem with adding BibDesk to the list of software? --RCanine

Google Scholar[edit]

I don't know where (or even if) it would fit in this article, but Google Scholar's preferences page has a Bibliography Manager section which offers the option of showing a link to import citations in BibTeX format. As a new BibTeX user, I'm finding the feature a handy feature to begin fleshing out bibliographies. — KevinCole 19:48, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

.bst example[edit]

You have examples of .bib files. Could you also include a simple .bst file? — Omegatron 14:55, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

I think they are rarely simple, and usually about 15-20 kB large... see e.g. for "real world" examples ; maybe in some bibtex tutorial you might find a really simple one. So be bold, go google "bibtex tutorial" and when you found, put it on the page...— MFH:Talk 13:57, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

"crossref" field?[edit]

The BibTeX tutorial link further links to a PDF file somewhere that agrees with the text of this article, but further adds a "crossref" field, "The database key of the entry being cross referenced."

I'm not familiar with BibTeX myself, so someone knowledgeable out there please amend the article if necessary.


I let myself correct the cross referencing info. Unfortunately without booktitle attribute it generated bibtex warnings.
Cheers —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:02, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Raichu2 23:40, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I would be glad to add some info on crossreferencing, which is a very useful feature of BibTeX! Question is: How many lines would be appropriate? Including some example might be nice.. The really short description you give is correct: "crossref = abc" will cause BibTeX to include the data of the referenced publication. Here "abc" is the referenced publications cite-id. Example:
@INPROCEEDINGS {author:06,
  title = {some publication title},
  author = {First Author and Second Author},
  crossref = {conference:06},
  pages = {330--331},
@PROCEEDINGS {conference:06,
  editor = {First Editor and Second Editor},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the Xth Conference on XYZ},
  year = {2006},
  month = {October},
Does something like that sound useful?
Wietseb 15:44, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
very nice idea, although it makes the individual entries quite useless... I don't know if this can easily be implemented in a BST file, which usually iterates on each entry after the other in 1 single pass. But I just checked and found in /usr/local/share/texmf-tetex/bibtex/bib/base/xampl.bib (TeTeX distrib) something exactly equivalent to your example, and also examples for Journal articles, book chapters, etc.; finally, there is also an example of using an entry NOTE = "published in Knuth \cite{book-full}". But I don't know inhowfar this will work in all styles (although a grep -rl crossref /usr/local/share/texmf-tetex/bibtex/bst seems to give a positive answer). — MFH:Talk 14:29, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
FWIW, it's much easier to write lbst files for [1] than the bibtex stack language. -- (talk) 10:42, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Is Bibtex a tool? or a standard?[edit]

The article currently says that bibtex is a tool. Can someone point to it so that I can download it? I got the impression that Bibtex is a way to arrange data so that tex can use it and so that everyone's references look the same. If my impression is right, then it's not a tool, it's a standard (which someone announced and which others have agreed, by action, to use). Comments? Gronky 01:14, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

One can install the file .bibtex (in linux) or bibtex.exe (under windows), which converts \cite refs into reference section. Therefore, it seems to be a tool. But at the same time, the referencing system is used by other software of this kind (EndNote), which suggests that from that point of view, the syntax is in fact a standard. Any other comments? --Jinxs 12:03, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
"Standard" may be a bit strong (who maintains the "standard" & how many independent implementations are there?). Like TeX and LaTeX, bibtex can refer to a particular program, a preparation system in general (in the case of (La)TeX, a document or typesetting system; in the case of bibtex, a citation system), or a file format. --Karnesky 19:14, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
most of the article is in fact about the BibTeX (.BIB) file format. I think it's a kind of solid standard, used since several decades (and as such outdating almost every other standard existing in computer science, except maybe(!!) for "plain ASCII") by millions of scientist, by the most important databases (arxiv,...) and supported by most referencing systems (RefWorks,...). Only few variations of the basic format exist. (I saw examples using {...} instead of "..." for all data...!?) Just like for HTML, CSS etc, the basic standard does not specify in a limiting way the types of entries (ARTICLE, BOOK,...) nor the tags used therein.
A second "component" of bibtex are the bibliography style (.BST) files. They are MUCH more cumbersome, and in principle there exists "by definition" one for each journal or other media (book series, web site,...), but according to the field of science (biology, math, physics) there are a few de facto standards (justified since there may be varying amount of information that you want to show up in the References). In principle, the implementation of a style does not matter, it's the outcome (TeX code produced by it) which counts.
The third component is the bibtex "binary" itself. Here again, I think the specs are quite clear (what it should produce, for given format (BST) and data (BIB)) and I don't think that big incompatibilities do exists. (Needless to say that here again the concrete implementation (binary, perl, web2c, ...) should not matter if the specs are respected.)
But indeed maybe the most important component is the BIB file format, which goes beyond the (La)TeX universe and serves as a de facto standard for bibliographic data exchange between the most various systems. — MFH:Talk 13:20, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Instruction manual?[edit]

WP:NOT#IINFO states that Wikipedia isn't an instruction manual. Yet besides the first two lead paragraphs, that's exactly what this article reads like (instead of mentioning the history and real life implication of the software). Shouldn't most of this be transwikied to something like wikibooks, which deals more with instruction manuals and such? ColourBurst 06:10, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

I totally agree!. A good place in WikiBooks would be here [2] Plus i deleted this part about adding more - we don't need much more for this article --Jinxs 08:43, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
I also agree. This is definitely wikibooks material. I also don't think this will be much of a hardship on those coming to wikipedia to find info on how to use bibtex; we'll simply post a link at the bottom of the article to the how-to wikibook. To busy/lazy to do this. Someone else should. Njerseyguy 06:08, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm gonna mark this with a "howto" template message. Beveal 00:20, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
Please, don't remove content until you paste that in BiBTeX wikibooks. It's an excellent source of information. And don't forget to link it to wikibooks.-- (talk) 16:17, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Stylized BibTeX text in intro is broken[edit]

The BibTeX in the intro is written with MathML or something and it's broken. I would fix it but I'm not sure how to format it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 04:20, 26 January 2007 (UTC).

How about ISBN[edit]

The "isbn" item is not present in either the list of entry fields nor in the list of entry types, but it does appear in one of the examples. Which is correct? Is there an official specification to look it up in? —Bromskloss 10:53, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Drawbacks of BibTeX[edit]

What do you think about a section about problems with BibTeX? I know that every program has its issues, however, I think that there are enough in BibTeX that they deserve being mentioned in a section of its own. Other, mostly proprietary programs, have "Criticism" sections, too, after all. I think of the following issues:

  • Long URLs are broken by the program with a "%" inbetween, which irritates the non-experienced user since there is no easy remedy; you have to use hyperref to remove them after the BibTeX processing.
  • Poor support of non-English languages. The German "ä" has to be written {\"a}, unless you use a special 8-bit variant of BibTeX which is not part of the official release branch, not even written in the same programming language.
  • The BST format for style layout is very difficult to use. (By the way, custombib is also difficult to use in contrast to what is said in the article.) Thus, getting the bibliography layout as you want it, can be a very tedious task. This has led to the development of BibLaTeX which makes all the formatting on the LaTeX level, reducing BibTeX's task to sorting and providing the labels.
  • The BIB file format is not strictly standardised. The fields that are provided and their format depend solely on the current BST style. Although there is strong overlap in the functionality of BST styles, the file format is not as unambiguous as other bibliography file formats.
  • Poorly maintained; current version is 0.99c for years (I must check for how long exactly) although all these problems are well-known.

Torsten Bronger 09:17, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Some of these points could be added to (or expanded in) the main text. I think others might be difficult to find a WP:RS for and to present with a WP:NPOV. The only other bibliographic software criticism I see is EndNote#Issues, which should probably not be used as the model. We don't want WP:OR. --Karnesky 11:11, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

BibTeX logo question[edit]

Is the BibTeX logo accurately drawn? It uses the TeX logo, but in the TeX logo (, the T and E and X are all slightly touching. I realize this is picky, but what's the use of a top-flight typographical language if you don't get to be picky sometimes?

I don't know enough about the BibTeX logo or drawing programs to redraw the logo myself; and--who knows?--maybe in the BibTeX logo the T and E and X aren't supposed to touch.

Timoteostewart 18:36, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

(Four years later) I just noticed this. Accordingly, I have replaced it with the more accurate logo BibTeX logo.png, although that has the "E" character serif's passing somewhat through the "X". Maybe someone could produce a yet more accurate version? -84user (talk) 19:34, 15 July 2011 (UTC)


What is the difference between those two types? Common sence would say that INCOLLECTION is a book in a collection of book, but my understanding is that it is actually a chapter when the title is available. You use INBOOK when the title of the chapter is not available. This does not make much sence though... Why anohter type when a field is not available? And why calling it INCOLLECTION?

PierreWiki 21:18, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

It depends on whether you're (a) citing a work that happens to be published together with other material in a larger published volume, or (b) you're citing a book only focusing on a particular chapter or set of pages.

Personally I'd normally use INBOOK unless there is a good reason to do otherwise. If you use INCOLLECTION, the title field (the cited work) is the section you're referring to and the booktitle field is the name of the published volume.

Raichu2 05:57, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

If you've got a book that was written by a single author and you want to cite one chapter of it, use INBOOK. If you've got a book that was written by multiple people, with each having authored one chapter/article in it, then use INCOLLECTION. That lets you separate out book authorship/editorship from chapter/article authorship. INBOOK doesn't let you do that. (talk) 22:20, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Most of this page needs to go[edit]

At the moment this page does not provide an encycopedic overview of bibTeX, more a manual page followed by a link farm. We should delete all of this detail and refer to other sources. — ciphergoth 11:34, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

I've started on this. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 11:16, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

status of bibtex[edit]

as of 28 July 2010 : BibTeX is NOT discontinued. Oren IS the maintainer. please see : and notably : Revision 17398 - (view) (download) (annotate) - [select for diffs] Modified Tue Mar 9 16:51:12 2010 UTC (4 months, 2 weeks ago) by karl File length: 384493 byte(s) Diff to previous 17253 final 0.99d from Oren

... i recommend that where the article says :

Discontinued 0.99c / February 1988; 22 years ago Development status Unmaintained

... be changed to fit the facts. see the texhax email list too. (talk) 00:58, 29 July 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bryanlepore (talkcontribs) 20:52, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

After how many years do you consider a software unmaintained? 0.99d is the first release since 1988 (22 years). BibTeX 1.00 is and will always be vaporware.--Oneiros (talk) 21:49, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

wow, that was fast - hmm. i see your point - they do however always put it into TeXLive. is there another term for such packages? (talk) 00:58, 29 July 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:42, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Just because the two releases are separated by a significant amount of time does not mean that the package is "unmaintained". The revisions made my are fine. We can, alternatively, merely omit the "status" line. --Karnesky (talk) 00:55, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
22 years between releases is probably a record. I repeat: Till the change for 0.99d the software was unmaintained. I don't think it's maintained now—I doubt that we will ever see another release. And just because the software still compiles doesn't mean it's maintained.--Oneiros (talk) 14:10, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm not saying you can't maintain that opinion. I'm just saying that it is unverifiable original research that does not belong in the article. Any claim in the article that this is "unmaintained" should be followed by a citation. Again, I'd be fine with not having any status line in the infobox. --Karnesky (talk) 15:09, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
Would a video of the author announcing a new release real soon now in 2007 be enough to mark the software as unmaintained in 2010?--Oneiros (talk) 22:11, 29 July 2010 (UTC)
No: that would require a biased interpretation of a primary source. See also WP:SYNTH. --Karnesky (talk) 01:41, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

conference, inproceedings (Entry types)[edit]

For conference, it says: The same as inproceedings ... Yet, inproceedings has the optional field series, conference doesn't. Which one is wrong? Or is this difference correct / on purpose? -- (talk) 12:07, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

How to cite a website?[edit]

We should mention a way how to cite a website here. Ideas:

Removed broken links[edit]

I removed the links to an FAQ (and inside that FAQ) that pointed to The FAQ is apparently no longer there; I did a search at the website, and also in Google. If the site comes back, I guess the URL can be retrieved from the history. Mcswell (talk) 20:20, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

Biblatex extension @ONLINE?[edit]

I'm not sure if it would be appropriate to include extensions found in biblatex. For instance, biblatex offers the @ONLINE extension.