Zotero’s Bibtex export filter

September 21, 2010 at 11:31 pm

| Gabriel |

Two issues with Zotero’s export filter to BibTex.

First, in the new version they broke backwards compatibility (a little) so you can get some missing citation errors if you try to use Lyx/Latex files that you originally wrote based on BibTex files generated by older versions of Zotero. Specifically, the new version handles colons in the title differently when generating the BibTex key. The old version left the colon out, the new version keeps it in. I had to go through my book manuscript and change all the BibTex keys for which this makes a difference. An alternate approach would be to freeze your Zotero library folder and use the last export created with the old version and start a new Zotero library folder for citations you collect from here on out.

Second, while it is possible to create a BibTex “author” field that TeX doesn’t read as “Last, First,” you can’t do it from Zotero. This is a problem as you end up getting ridiculous bibliography entries like “Bureau, US Census”. To get these and similar cases formatted correctly, the easiest thing is just to delete them from Zotero and put them in a hand-coded BibTex file. (Don’t worry, a single TeX document can draw citations from multiple .bib files so you don’t have to commit to hand-coding everything or merging your hand-coded file into the Zotero-generated file). The trick is that you use quotes (not curly brackets as with Zotero’s export) for the field delimiters and then use curly brackets inside quotes to tell BibTex “don’t break this.” For instance, here’s my entry for the Statistical Abstract of the United States:

@book{u.s._census_bureau_statistical_2007,
	address = "Washington, DC",
	edition = "127",
	title = "Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2008.",
	isbn = "9780160795848",
	publisher = "{U.S.} Census Bureau",
	author = "{U.S. Census Bureau}",
	year = "2007"
}

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