[OS X TeX] Beginner: bibliography strategy?

Simon Spiegel simon at simifilm.ch
Sat Apr 9 09:16:51 EDT 2005

Hi Martin,

maybe I'm stating the obvious here, but no one so far has explicitely 
mentioned bibtex (maybe you meant bibtex when you wrote LaTeX). BibTeX 
is a program and bibliography standard which interacts with LaTeX. You 
have your bibliographic data in a bibtex file, you cite the data in 
LaTeX, and you have styles packages which will format the data the way 
you want. There are several packages to do this, and normally you'll be 
happy using one of them.

bibtex files are just plain text files with quite simple formatting 
rules, you can easily edit them by hand. Of course, there are graphical 
interfaces to do this, and the best solution on the Mac – as others 
have said – is clearly BibDesk. A wonderful app which gets updated 
constantly. There's also JabRef, a cross platform java app, which has 
some nice features BibDesk lacks but just hasn't the Mac feeling.

BibTex works with citekeys, every entry has an individual citekey which 
you use when you cite in a document, the most simple example is 
something like \cite{Knuth1999} BibDesk offers to ability to 
autocomplete the citekey. For example just enter \cite{knuth} press F5 
and it will offer every entry with Knuth. This is a great feature, but 
it only works with Cocoa apps. So if you decide to stay with BBEdit, 
you'll lose that (but I strongly encourage you to try TeXShop).

One last word: Try to get rid off Endnote as soon as possible. Endnote 
has a great feature set but its support is horrific. The app hasn't 
seen any real improvements for years, and all the $100 updates we've 
seen in the last years we're basically bug fixes. And although Endnote 
can be used for BibTeX, it certainly isn't the best solution. If you 
need the ability to search MedLine directly (or access your local 
library), give Sente a try. Very nice app which nicely interacts with 
BibDesk. You can do the searches in Sente and then just drag'n'drop the 
results in BibDesk. If you want to spend money, spend it on Sente.



On 09.04.2005, at 10:23, Martin Wehlou wrote:

> Hi, all,
> I'm a total beginner in TeX, though I'm able to rudimentary text 
> editing
> and getting output to dvi. Good, I'm proud of myself. I'm also new to
> Macs, even though I've done Windows programming since MS Windows V 
> 1.04,
> so I do recognize a computer when I see one.
> But I need to work with bibliographies. I like the way EndNote (running
> the demo) lets me access MedLine directly, then saves the retrieved
> abstracts and data to its own database. Now I'd like to go from there 
> to
> TeX, somehow.
> My question is not necessarily a step-by-step tutorial (some things one
> has to do for one self...), but the general strategies. That is, assume
> a Max, with OS X. What bibliography software would you use (free or
> commercial)? How do I easily get references from there to TeX? (The
> editor I'm using is BBEdit, by the way).
> Martin
> -- Dr. J. Martin Wehlou MD, CISSP
> www.wehlou.com
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Simon Spiegel
Mutschellenstr. 97
8038 Zürich

Telephon: ++41 43 535 81 71
Mobophon: ++41 76 459 60 39


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           & FAQ: http://latex.yauh.de/faq/
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