When working with different coauthors, I have always had some troubles in using bibtex effectively. Everyone has its own set of bibtex entries, with keys in their own favorite format --- for instance, the same book could be indexed by different people as as golubvanloan, GVL96, matrix_computations, GolubVanLoan, GolVL96, mc-book...

I usually solve the problem by creating more or less a new .bib file for each paper, where each author copy-and-pastes entries from older files, and everyone keeps the keys he cites in their favorite format. Of course, this is not efficient. For every paper, a nontrivial amount of careful manual work is wasted adjusting the bibliography (e.g., pruning double entries).

What is your solution to this problem? Do you have shared .bib files, or common conventions across whole communities devoted to a single area of mathematics? Is there maybe any $\LaTeX$ command that lets you register double keys and refer to the same book with different keys? Is there a sensible method to avoid duplicate entries in the .bib files? Should Bibtex be dumped in favor of something better?


closed as off topic by Dmitri Pavlov, Andrés E. Caicedo, José Figueroa-O'Farrill, Ben Webster Dec 29 '10 at 3:08

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    $\begingroup$ I voted to close. There is now a StackExchange site for TeX: tex.stackexchange.com $\endgroup$ – Dmitri Pavlov Dec 28 '10 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ See related question at tex.stackexchange.com/questions/3673/… and also tex.stackexchange.com/questions/5248/…. $\endgroup$ – Joel David Hamkins Dec 28 '10 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ The problem has two sides --- a technical one and a "social" one (handling shared bibtex files, sticking to defined conventions). And AFAIK there is no satisfying "technical" solution, as the tex.stackexchange questions that you have linked seem to confirm. Therefore I am afraid we need a "social" solution. Moreover, the mathematical audience has more tools available (e.g., most articles have a unique MR code that can be used to index them) than the TeX community, so someone could use it for a better solution. This is why I chose to post here rather than on tex.stackexchange. $\endgroup$ – Federico Poloni Dec 28 '10 at 17:58
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    $\begingroup$ This is a very interesting question, just one that I don't think it's appropriate to MO. I'll vote to close, but let me leave a comment with how it works for me. There's no reason not to use standard entries from MathSciNet (and in my own area also inSPIRE for the many preprints we cite). I agree the keys are unmnemonic, but I use the RefTeX minor mode in Emacs and I don't ever need to input the key by hand. $\endgroup$ – José Figueroa-O'Farrill Dec 28 '10 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ Since this question now has 3 votes to close, and no one other than the author has spoken up in its favor, I think the time has come to close it. I'm a little torn, but I agree with Jose that this is just not MO's purview. $\endgroup$ – Ben Webster Dec 29 '10 at 3:08