Is use of bibtex more time consuming than old fashioned way?

  • Thread starter arroy_0205
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I am trying to learn application of bibtex. I do not understand why people claim that use of bibtex simplifies creation of bibliography in a latex document. In order to cite references from a bibliography database, I first need to create the required file (with .bib extension) and then call it in the latex file. But creation of the bibliography database seems to be a time consuming job. For example, one particular item in a .bib file may be like:

@ARTICLE{epr,
author = "A. Einstein and {\relax Yu} Podolsky and N. Rosen",
collaboration = "EPR",
year = "1935",
journal = "Phys.\ Rev.",
volume = "47",
pages = "777",
}

Now do you not think, creating such one item in the database will take more time than adding the references in the latex file in the old fashioned way (one bibitem for each entry)? There would be many such entries in a particular paper. I am confused what advantage bibtex actually offers. If comprehensive subjectwise bibliography dabases were avilable (e.g., in theoretical high energy physics) then of course bibtex would be advantageous. Are such ready-to-be-used databases available in the internet?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Certainly bibtex is more advantegeous. You can refer to help document of bibtex to know more.
Many reputed journals for example IEEE provides citation of a paper in bibtex format. So I have to just download citation of a paper and add it as a bib entry.
There is no need to add each and every field of a bib entry.
It is not time consuming though it takes little time to edit bib entries to suit our needs.
If you want to download citation of a book you can get its bib format from google scholar. Go to google scholar, in preferences in bibliograpgy manager select "Show links to import citations" and set it to BibTex. Now if you search a book in google scholar, it will display "Import in to BibTex". You will get the citation of that book in bib format. So easy isn't it?
One more thing. My personal advice is to use JabRef for managing bibliography entires. It is freeware and extremely powerful and user friendly in managing bib enteries.
Once you get practiced in bib you will know its usefulness.
 
  • #3
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If you want to download citation of a book you can get its bib format from google scholar.
Not just google scholar. Several online reference search tools do that. Citeseer, adsabs.harvard.edu, ...; The websites for many journals provide the BibTex entry for articles published in their journals. That alone is a huge advantage in using BibTeX. Ensuring that a citation is printed correctly is mostly a matter of copy and paste. That n.karthick knows this, and knows tools to help manage bibliography entries, shows that he is using BibTex where it really shines.

arroy_0205: if you are writing just one paper, yes, using BibTeX might seem to be a bit overkill. BibTeX starts paying off on the second paper you write. Your second paper is probably on a subject similar to your first; a lot of the references will be the same in both. Now suppose you write a third paper, then a fourth, and so on. Your ever-growing BibTeX database will make the bibliography a snap.
 
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Now do you not think, creating such one item in the database will take more time than adding the references in the latex file in the old fashioned way (one bibitem for each entry)? There would be many such entries in a particular paper. I am confused what advantage bibtex actually offers. If comprehensive subjectwise bibliography dabases were avilable (e.g., in theoretical high energy physics) then of course bibtex would be advantageous. Are such ready-to-be-used databases available in the internet?
Also, some editors contain templates for bibtex-items such as books, articles, etc.
 

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