[OS X TeX] MacOSX-TeX: Problem with BibTex

Maarten Sneep maarten.sneep at xs4all.nl
Thu Apr 29 03:21:04 EDT 2004

On 29 apr 2004, at 5:59, Ben Wooliscroft wrote:

>> I am not all that adept at using BibTex, so it maybe was a mistake to
>> try to use it for my dissertation. But faint hearts never won fair
>> ladies. Or some such. Anyway, I have been using "apalike" for my .bst
>> file.  But this style doesn't seem to like URLs, and I have a lot of
>> those in the reference list. My advisor is nonfussy regarding the
>> bibliography format, so I can change that at will. But I tried 
>> changing
>> to harvard and all heck broke loose with the document. It wouldn't
>> compile, I got  a gillion errors.
> What are the errors that you get? In my experience, which is not huge,
> bibtex and latex don't like URLs because of the special characters in 
> them
> i.e. "_" which you need to edit to the latex compatible version, i.e. 
> "\_".
> It worked for me using an Harvard (like) format (I put the URLs in the 
> note
> field).

The "official" stance to that is to use the url package. It provides a 
command \url{} that takes care of it. If you load hyperref, the \url's 
automagically become clickable. However, the natbib/makebst combo I 
discuss below, includes a url bibtex field, and turns those into 
clickable items in the bibliography.

As to editing a bst file manually: the preferred order on a todo list 
is "Eat hat", "Edit bst file". In other words: I'd rather not do that. 
Since the natbib package and the makebst script together can be used to 
generate most common bibliographic formats, I stick to those.

natbib is installed, and is well documented (including the essential 
cheat sheet).

makebst requires some more explanation. It is a tex file designed to 
produce no pages, but a bst file. You start it with "tex makebst" in 
the terminal. It will offer a series of questions, some of which 
require some experimentation to get the right answer. It then generates 
a makebst run file, from which the final bst file is generated. This 
run file can be hand-edited to change a few options without running 
through the questions again.

BTW: using bibtex is far better than doing it by hand, my prof still 
has an article (a big review) with some 500 references -- no bibtex. I 
think that is one of the reasons it still hasn't been submitted.


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