[OS X TeX] BibTeX mystery

Wendy McKay wgm at cds.caltech.edu
Thu Dec 28 17:25:04 EST 2006

On Thu, 28 Dec 2006, Ross Moore wrote:

> Hi Stephen,
> On 28/12/2006, at 9:26 AM, Stephen Moye wrote:
>> > The entries are indeed there.
>> > 
>> > Much puzzled: where did I go wrong? Any ideas?
>> Well, this was a bit of a surprise. For my convenience, I put an alias of 
>> the .bib file (I'm using bibdesk) in the directory with my project -- and 
>> that was the problem.
> An alias is itself a file, in some sense,
> as is a directory by-the-way.
> Some executable programs open files at a "low-level",
> rather than via "higher-level" OS calls -- which would
> know what to do with aliases.
>> As soon as either I deleted the alias or renamed it, the problem went away.
> So BibTeX was reading the data of the alias itself,
> not the data of the file that the alias points-to.
> Only with experiences such as this do you learn when aliases
> can be used, and when not. When an alias doesn't work, you need
> to ensure that your input files are in the standard locations,
> as determined by the variables defined within the  texmf.cnf  file.
> (Or you can adjust those definitions, if you dare!!)

DId you create the alias the "Mac" way  using <command>-L or 

or did you use the TERMINAL
ln -s ../ ... /file.bib  newfile.bib

I find that if you use the command line to create aliases TeX can 
usually find the original files.   I sometimes use aliases inside

and keep the master in my Documents folder or Shared Folder or current TeX 
folder  especially when testing new macros which might change.
(I like the library to contain tested/working macros only!)
But the alias will only work in the tex library search path if created 
with the command line (at least in PPC distribution of Oct 2006

See if you can get the alias to work if it is created by
the command line link: ln -s
in your TeX folder.


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