For a while I’ve had a blog post about BibTeX on the back burner, but now I don’t need to write it because Dan Wallach has done so. It’s a great post, but for emphasis I’ll repeat a handful of points that I tell students (and would like to tell authors of some papers I review) over and over. BibTeX users must:
- Repeatedly proofread the BibTeX output. (For important papers I usually proofread to fixpoint: keep reading and editing the paper until I can read the entire document without wanting to make a single change. This is incredibly time-consuming.)
- Never assume a bib entry found online is accurate.
- Strive for consistency in fields listed, abbreviations used, etc. across all entries used in any single paper.
- Proofread yet again every time the bibliography style is changed.
- Include fields that help people identify and track down the cited paper, and (mostly) leave out fields that do not.
Ah, it feels better getting that off my chest. Thanks, Dan, for spelling out all the details!