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Chapter 13. Bibliography Generation > 13.1. The BibTeX program and some variant...

13.1. The BibTeX program and some variants

The BibTeX program was designed by Oren Patashnik to provide a flexible solution to the problem of automatically generating bibliography lists conforming to different layout styles. It automatically detects the citation requests in a LaTeX document (by scanning its .aux file or files), selects the needed bibliographical information from one or more specified databases, and formats it according to a specified layout style. Its output is a file containing the bibliography listing as LaTeX code that will be automatically loaded and used by LaTeX on the following run. Section 12.1.3 on page 687 discussed the interface between the two programs in some detail.

At the time of this book’s writing BibTeX was available as version 0.99c, but if you look into the first edition of this book (a decade back), you will find that it also talks about version 0.99c. The version 0.99a probably dates back to 1986. In other words, the program has been kept stable for a very long period of time. As a consequence, the BibTeX database format is very well established in the LaTeX world, with many people having numerous citation entries collected over the years. Thus, it comes as no surprise that all development that happened in the last decade is based on that format as a standard.


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