5.1.2 Writing the .bib File Manually

It may be that you don't want to or can't use a bibliography management application, such as JabRef. In which case, you can create the .bib file in an ordinary text editor, such as the one you use to write your LaTeX documents. When you save the file, make sure you give it the extension .bib. Entries in this file should have the following form[Creating a BibTeX bibliography]:

@<entry type>{<keyword>,

<field name> = "<text>",

<field name> = "<text>"
where <entry type> indicates the type of entry (e.g. book or article). Standard entry types are listed in Table 5.2.

Table 5.2: Standard BiBTeX entry types
Entry Name Description
article Article from a journal
book Published book
booklet Printed work without a publisher
conference Identical to inproceedings
inbook Part, chapter, section etc of a book
incollection A chapter of a book with its own author and title
inproceedings An article in a conference proceedings
manual Technical documentation
mastersthesis A master's thesis
misc Non-standard work
phdthesis PhD thesis
proceedings Conference proceedings
techreport Report published by an institution
unpublished Unpublished work with an author and title

Within an entry, <keyword> is a short label that is used to cite this work with the \cite command. If you have written bibliographies with the thebibliography environment, it's the same as the argument to \bibitem. There then follows a comma-separated list of fields of the form <field name> = <value>. The <field name> indicates what kind of field it is, e.g. title or author. Table 5.3 lists the standard fields. Note that some bibliography styles may define additional non-standard fields, such as email or url.[URLS in BibTeX bibliographies] See the BibTeX documentation [11] for information about other fields not listed in Table 5.3.

Table 5.3: Standard BiBTeX fields
address Publisher/Institution's address
author Author names
booktitle Title of book where only a part of the book is being cited
chapter Chapter or section number
edition The edition of the book
howpublished How a non-standard work was published
institution The institute sponsoring the work
journal The name of the journal
month The month the work was published
note Any additional information
number The number of the journal, technical report etc
organization Organization sponsoring conference or manual
pages Page number or page range
publisher Publisher's name
school Academic institution where thesis was written
series Name of a series
title The title of the work
type The type of technical report
volume The volume number.

The required and optional fields for the standard entry types are listed in Table 5.4. If an entry has a field that is neither required nor optional, BibTeX will ignore it. This means that you can have a field called, say, abstract, which will be ignored by the standard bibliography styles, but will be included if you use a bibliography style that has an abstract field. So you can store additional information in the database that won't appear in the bibliography.

Table 5.4: Required and Optional Fields
Entry Type Required Fields Optional Fields
article author, title, journal, year volume, month, note, number, pages
book author or editor, title, publisher, year address, edition, volume or number, month, note, pages, series
booklet title author, address, howpublished, month, note, year
inbook author or editor, chapter or pages, title, publisher, year address, edition, volume or number, month, note, series, type
incollection author, title, booktitle, publisher, year address, chapter, editor, edition, volume or number, month, note, pages, series, type
inproceedings author, title, booktitle, year address, editor, volume or number, month, note, organization, pages, publisher, series, type
manual title author, address, edition, month, note, organization, year
mastersthesis author, title, school, year address, month, note, type
misc --- author, howpublished, month, note, title, year
phdthesis author, title, school, year address, month, note, type
proceedings title, year editor, organization, address, volume or number, series, month, publisher, note
techreport author, title, institution, year type, number, address, month, note
unpublished author, title, note month, year

The author and editor fields have the same format as described in §5.1.1. JabRef. That is, each name should be in one of the forms listed in Table 5.1, and multiple authors or editors must be separated with the keyword “and”.

Example (Multiple Authors):

This example uses the book entry:

   author = "Goossens, Michel and Rahtz, Sebastian and
             Mittelbach, Frank",
   title = "The \LaTeX\ graphics companion: illustrating
            documents with \TeX\ and {PostScript}",
   publisher = "Addison Wesley Longman, Inc",
   year = 1997

In this example, the <keyword> is goossens97. That is the identifying key used in \cite, described below. The standard bibliography styles usually convert titles to lower case, so the name PostScript is enclosed in curly braces to prevent this from happening.

Note that curly braces {} can be used instead of double quotes. The above example can just as easily be written:

   author = {Goossens, Michel and Rahtz, Sebastian and
             Mittelbach, Frank},
   title = {The \LaTeX\ graphics companion: illustrating
            documents with \TeX\ and {PostScript}},
   publisher = {Addison Wesley Longman, Inc},
   year = 1997

Numbers (such as the year 1997) don't need to be delimited with quotes or braces. So you can have

pages = 10

but a page range would need to be delimited:

pages = "10--45"

Bibliography styles always have three-letter abbreviations for months: jan, feb, mar, etc. These should be used instead of typing them in explicitly, as their format depends on the bibliography style. These abbreviations should be entered without quotes. For example:

   author    = "Talbot, Nicola and Cawley, Gavin",
   title     = "A fast index assignment algorithm for
                robust vector quantisation of image data",
   booktitle = "Proceedings of the I.E.E.E. International
                Conference on Image Processing",
   address   = "Santa Barbara, California, USA",
   month     = oct,
   year      = 1997

This book is also available as A4 PDF or 12.8cm x 9.6cm PDF or paperback (ISBN 978-1-909440-02-9).

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