Help formatting a BibTeX style file (*.bst)
February 7, 2006 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Calling all BibTeX gurus! Can anyone help me format a BibTeX style file (*.bst)?

I'm a LaTeX/BibTeX newbie. The scientific journal I work for accepts papers in MS Word and LaTeX. Over the past few weeks, I've come to love working in TeX (using TeXShop on the Mac). I'm cutting my teeth at the moment, and thanks to excellent online references I haven't had a hair-pulling moment yet (knock on silicon...!).

There is one problem I have involving BibTeX. The journal requires a certain bibliographic style that many journal authors don't follow. It's up to me to edit the References section to conform to the journal's requirements. While the journal has a custom BibTeX style file (*.bst) to ensure that references are stylized correctly, the file dates from 1993. Needless to say, the journal has updated its bibliographic requirements since then.

Here's an example of the old versus new style:


Smith, A. B., Jones, C. D., Baker, E. F, and Johnson, G. H., 2006, A pithy title for a journal article: J. of Sci. and Prog., 54, 100-150.


Smith, A. B., C. D. Jones, E. F. Baker, and G. H. Johnson, 2006, A pithy title for a journal article: Journal of Science and Progress, 54, 100-150.

As you can see, the new style requires the authors' initials to appear before the last names (except for the first author -- this stays the same). We also no longer use abbreviations for journals, and the volume number (54 in this case) appears in bold type. (FYI, this is basically the Chicago Manual of Style form of citation with a few added constraints.)

For reference, here is a copy of the current BibTeX style file the journal is using (via Filecloud):

If anyone can point me in the right direction (what needs editing in the .bst file, a good Internet or print resource, etc.), I would be much obliged.

Thanks in advance for any information you can supply.
posted by EmuBite to Writing & Language (2 answers total)
This isn't directly answering your question (I am no master of BibteX style arcana), but does the journal (secretly) have a more recent .bst file that they will use on your submitted/accepted paper? Elsevier doesn't release their journal-specific (LaTeX) style files, but applies them to your preprint style LaTeX document. It is possible that the same behavior might be applied to BibteX styles. Your journal publisher might have an updated/modified style file that they haven't made public for whatever reason (intentional or not). Have you asked?

I've found that I have never had an original task or problem with LaTeX or BibteX. Have you checked the CTAN depository for a better style file?
posted by janell at 12:33 PM on February 7, 2006

There's a program that automatically creates bibtex style files. It's great. It covers every single POSSIBLE thing you might want to do though so it can take a few minutes to run through. It's in /usr/share/texmf/tex/latex/custom-bib/ in this (linux) installation of latex and I'm sure you'll find it on your mac somewhere - try typing

locate makebst

in a command shell and it should find it for you. Change to that directory, then type

latex makebst

and it'll take you through the process. Did I mention it was great? You can earn yourself some kudos by updating the journal's style file yourself.
posted by handee at 6:20 AM on February 8, 2006 [1 favorite]

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