[OS X TeX] plea for help with TeX bibliographic databases: the humanities, and unicode

Roger Hart rhart at mail.utexas.edu
Wed Apr 13 16:15:18 EDT 2005

Dear Adam,

As always, thanks very much indeed for your prompt and most helpful 
reply.  The kind of record I'm talking about is the following. When I 
use the very convenient feature of BibDesk to paste in a citation, such 

    Author = {Foucault, Michel},
    Title = {Nietzsche, la gŽnŽalogie, lÕhistoire},
    BookTitle = {Hommage ˆ Jean Hyppolite},
    Publisher = {Presses Universitaires de France},
    Address = {Paris},
    Year = {1971} }

when pasted into BibDesk, it becomes, field by field, the following:


Foucault, Michel

Nietzsche, la généalogie, l’histoire

Hommage à Jean Hyppolite

Presses Universitaires de France


So I have to go in to correct all the garbled characters. I've set all 
the preferences to be working in UTF-8.

I get the same results when I import the file.

I hope I'm not doing something wrong here, but I've tried many 
different approaches and different settings, all with the same result.

I would like, if at all possible, to keep all my records in BibTeX in 
unicode (rather than legacy LaTeX workaround formatting such as \"a)  
for numerous reasons, including simply ease of use, compatibility with 
other databases, and avoiding headaches when using perl regex 
find/replaces on the BibTeX file.

Is there any way you can get BibDesk to work properly with all unicode 

Thanks so very much,


On Apr 12, 2005, at 10:50 PM, Adam R. Maxwell wrote:

> On Apr 12, 2005, at 19:44, Roger Hart wrote:
> [...]
>> BibTex with LaTeX packages, such as natbib, etc., don't seem to me to 
>> have even the number of fields needed to be potentially capable of 
>> formatting a bibliography for the humanities.
> Some people have recommended jurabib as a more flexible option for 
> humanities.  Note that you can add whatever fields you want to a 
> BibTeX database, although you may have to roll your own bst to print 
> them out.
>> BibDesk still seems to me not to handle unicode well. I turned off 
>> character conversions, set open and save to UTF-8, but I can't even 
>> get it to properly import European characters in a file, or by 
>> pasting an entire record. Only cutting and pasting field by field, or 
>> typing into each field, seems to work. BibDesk otherwise looks very 
>> promising, with excellent integration with TeXShop, so I hope this 
>> will be fixed soon (assuming I'm not missing something here).
> Please contact me off-list with an example .bib file that causes 
> problems.  We've put a lot of work into supporting other encodings, so 
> European characters should not be a problem; BibDesk + XeLaTeX has 
> worked well in my testing.
>> Sente seems very nice for downloading files, but the choice of 
>> filters seems very odd, for example not including OCLC WorldCat, the 
>> most complete database for research university libraries.
>> So after having spent a couple more days looking in to all of this, I 
>> have again concluded that the most efficient strategy for formatting 
>> a humanities bibliography is to import from WorldCat into EndNote, 
>> export a formatted \bibitem ... entry, paste into my bibliography, 
>> and clean it up by hand.
> Hopefully we can come up with something better than that!
> regards,
> Adam
> --------------------- Info ---------------------
> Mac-TeX Website: http://www.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/
>           & FAQ: http://latex.yauh.de/faq/
> TeX FAQ: http://www.tex.ac.uk/faq
> List Post: <mailto:MacOSX-TeX at email.esm.psu.edu>

--------------------- Info ---------------------
Mac-TeX Website: http://www.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/
           & FAQ: http://latex.yauh.de/faq/
TeX FAQ: http://www.tex.ac.uk/faq
List Post: <mailto:MacOSX-TeX at email.esm.psu.edu>

More information about the MacOSX-TeX mailing list