Using bibtool to fix your BibTeX databases.
2014-03-04

Most annoying is that the citation keys are idiotic: MathSciNet uses citation keys of the form MR673830, which is useless unless you’re a computer. Using an author, year type citation key might be easier to remember.

Downloading BibTeX citations from review sites (e.g. MathSciNet, WebOfKnowledge) doesn’t always get you consistent results. Sometimes the case is messed up, there are extra braces, etc. Or there is a note field showing the number of citations (which shows up in your final PDF output).

Most annoying is that the citation keys are idiotic: MathSciNet uses citation keys of the form MR673830, which is useless unless you’re a computer. Using an author, year type citation key might be easier to remember.

BibTool fixes most of these things for you. It also finds duplicates, etc. The only thing I sometimes have to fix after a BibTool run is the case of Journal names.

Here’s how you use it:

  1. Create a ~/.bibtoolrsc file with your preferences. You can edit my preferences to suit your taste if you like.

  2. Filter your bibliography through bibtool:

    bibtool < downloaded_refs.bib > cleaned_up_refs.bib
    

    Or, if you use vim you can just do

    :1,$!bibtool
    

    when editing your bibliography file.


 Comments

 Leave a comment (Spammers beware: All comments are moderated)