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Author Topic: Searching for things
littlefish
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 966

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Icon 1 posted January 14, 2009 09:32      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have a big bibtex database that I want to be able to search more easily, and I'm not sure of the best way to get it done. For those that don't know, bibtex is a method of organising bibliographies, and it takes the form of a text file with a series of entries along the lines of:
code:
@document_type{
identifier,
title="A lovely article",
author="A Writer",
journal="Writing today",
volume="41",
number="1",
pages="144--146",
year="2002",
keywords="Writing
paper
pens",
abstract="Some text"
}

Currently if I want to find the paper I need I find myself doing a simple find in my text editor, but this can give me too many results. What I want to do is combine search terms so I can search for say and author and a keyword, or a journal and a year range. I know I could do it if I learnt some regular expressions, or I could use some database things. If anyone knows of a (preferably cross platform (windows/mac)) bibtex wrangling tool, that would be cool too.

What I really want is a recommendation for what would be easiest to learn and most useful in the future. Should I learn PHP/SQL or sed and awk. I'm not the sort of person who wants to delve around in code for the fun of it. I want a system that works with the minimum of effort. I am willing to mess around a bit to get it done, but I'm sure someone else will have done the heavy lifting already.

Thanks for your help!

Posts: 2421 | From: That London | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stereo

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan!
Member # 748

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Icon 1 posted January 14, 2009 10:03      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Warning: I know nothing of bibtex. But for what I can see, you should be able to importe such a file into Excel (or another spreadsheet software) without too much trouble. Then you can do complex search on multiple columns. And if you get to a point where Excel is not enough, it would then be easy get the data into a database.

And if I know anything about how people work nowadays, there should already be some conversion scripts lying around... Right on: this one shows early in a google search. A search for "bibtex cross-platform parser" leads to this Firefox add-on. See if it works for you!

--------------------
Eppur, si muove!

Galileo Galilei

Posts: 2289 | From: Gatineau, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
littlefish
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 966

Member Rated:
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Icon 1 posted January 15, 2009 05:16      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks stereo, but I don't want to convert the file into any other format. I should be able to manipulate the data without that hassle. I'm constantly updating the list so I'd have to keep converting and that does not fit with the way I want to work.

Unfortunately the firefox add-on is abandoned and won't work with the up-to-date browser. I'll do a few more searches for existing tools before I start to roll my own though.

Posts: 2421 | From: That London | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Anovadea
Geek Apprentice
Member # 15588

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Icon 1 posted February 02, 2009 14:00      Profile for Anovadea     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Oh that brings me back to the college days I'd rather not remember. I remember trying to manage my bibliography in vim - it was "fun". I was massively jealous of the mac-users because they were able to manage them quite nicely.

I think they used something called TexMaker or something like that. It handled/managed Bibtex entries quite well from what I gathered. I'll confirm with some of them, but I'm fairly sure it's TexMaker.

Hope this helps,
Aoife

Posts: 46 | From: Dublin | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged
littlefish
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 966

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Icon 1 posted February 02, 2009 14:27      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks Anovadea,

after a few days of roundabout googling I've found a rather nice service on the web, called citeulike.

It's a bit like flickr for papers, where you can upload and tag. The best bit is the adding of new papers, because it is properly linked to most publishers.

Posts: 2421 | From: That London | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Anovadea
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Icon 1 posted February 04, 2009 07:55      Profile for Anovadea     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ok, turns out I got it wrong, it's called TexShop - but that's just for Latex stuff, nothing beyond acknowledging that BibTex exists.

For nice management of BibTex entries, I've heard Bibdesk is useful (it allows to search by author and such things), plus it seems to integrate with spotlight nicely.

Again, I don't know if that'll help much, but I'll keep an eye out; I have a little 'thing' (in a good way) for LaTeX.

Aoife

Posts: 46 | From: Dublin | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged


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