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A better way to save citation information and produce bibliographies

Zotero with BibTex/LaTex

LaTeX takes a plain text file with various commands added and coverts it to a formatted document based on added commands it has been given. The source file for the document has a file extension of .tex.

BibTeX is a bibliographic accompaniment to LaTeX, and serves to help organize the user's references and create a bibliography. BibTeX creates a bibliography file that is separate from the LaTeX source file, with a file extension of .bib. Each reference in the .bib file is formatted with the chosen citation structure identified in the "key," which can be edited in the source file. 

Exporting Zotero to BibTeX

Open Zotero. Select the references you would like to export. This could be all the references in a given folder, or ad hoc selections highlighted using control-clicks and shift-clicks. 

File --> Export Library

Select the BibTeX format and click OK. Navigate to the directory where you are storing your manuscript, and save the file. 

To link the bibliography file that you just downloaded to your document, you need to enter two commands:

\bibliographystyle{style} should be inserted inside your \begin{document} command. style.bst is the name of the style file dictating the format of your bibliography. 

\bibliography{filename} should go whereever you want LaTeX to generate the bibliography, generally at the end of your document. filename.bib is the name of the file you just exported from Zotero. 



Formatting Special Characters

If the references contain special characters used as part of the syntax of LaTeX, you might notice some errors. You will need to replace the characters with a LaTeX command if they are used in a citation. 

Character LaTeX Command
# \#
$ \$
% \%
& \&
_ \_
{ \{
} \}
~ \~{ }
^ \^{ }
\ $\backslash$

Organization Names

  • BibTeX reads text in the author field as an author's name or names unless told otherwise. For example: author={Institute of Electrical Engineers} would be read as "Institute" as the first name, and "of Electrical Engineers" as the last name. Add quotation marks around the name so it is read as a title. For example: author={"Institute of Electrical Engineers"}
  • BibTeX attempts to correct the capitalization in the title field so that only first letter if the word is capitalized. This can cause problems if the title contains an acronym such as IEEE. For example, title={IEEE Proceedings} will read as "Ieee proceedings." Edit the line so it reads title="{IEEE Proceedings}". The quotation marks prevent BibTeX from applying capitalization rules. 


In-text Citations in LaTeX


where "yyyy" is the four-digit year. 

Changing Bibliography Format

The bibliography format is determined by the style file that you have entered in the \bibliographystyle{} command. S Style files may also be edited to produce a required bibliography style.