LaTeX & BibTeX

What is BibTex?

  • BibTeX stands for a file format - with file extension of .bib -  that contains a bibliography or a list of references.  
    • As an external, flat-file database, this BibTex file can be initially created and stored within the Zotero or EndNote software program;
    • Then in order to be used in conjunction with a LaTeX .tex document, BibTex files must be uploaded / imported into a LaTeX editor program, thus making possible that the cited works and reference list appear in the output you desire.
  • BibTeX is a bibliographic tool that can interact with LaTeX in organizing in-text citations and creating a bibliography. 
    • Due to BibTex, each reference in the bibliography file is automatically formatted with a certain structure and is given a "key" (key = unique identifier of a bibliographic entry) by which you can refer to in a LaTex .tex file.
    • BibTeX interacts with LaTeX in a way allowing you to cite any reference that is contained within the .bib file. For detailed info on how to use .bib file within a .tex document, please see the box titled "BibTeX-related Commands"  in the page "BibTex: What and How."
    • the term BibTeX is often used to refer to various distinct things.

How to Use: BibTeX-related Commands

Once a BibTex file has been uploaded / imported into a LaTeX editor program. you can link this BibTex file to any Latex .tex document, and cite any reference in the .bib file. 

In conjunction with LaTeX coding  - e.g.: \usepackage{natlib} -  the following three commands - citebibliography and bibliographystyle are typically used: 

  • \cite{XYZ}
    • Where XYZ  = Reference keyword = unique identifier of a bibliographic entry in a .bib file
  • \bibliography{bib_file_name}
    • Where bib_file_name is the name of a .bib file.
  • \bibliographystyle{citation_STYLE}
    • To choose a citation STYLE you want to follow for your reference / work-cited to output at the end of your paper. E.g:
    • \bibliographystyle{plain}
    • \bibliographystyle{acm}
    • \bibliographystyle{ieeetr}

Using bibliographies on Overleaf