Hi Eric,

This could be very useful and a significant enhancement to Org-mode for note taking. With it, library time can be spent almost entirely within Org-mode, capturing bibliographic information and taking reading notes. It feels like the right level of functionality-- lightweight and easy to use, with lots of prompting material.

I created an entry with org-bibtex-create and then another with org- bibtex-read/write. When I ran org-bibtex, only the second entry was exported. Also, the org-bibtex-read/write process mangled the bibtex entry a bit, so the resulting .bib file wasn't useful. Note the addition of {} around the publisher and year, and the truncation of multi-line entries.

Can I suggest some changes?

1) In our multi-user environment, where several authors are contributing to a master bibtex file, we depend on the key generating algorithm of bibtex-mode to help weed out duplicate entries. This isn't 100% effective, but it catches lots of duplicates and saves us time. Would it be possible to lift this mechanism and use it in org- bibtex to generate the CUSTOM_ID?

2) It might be better to use the (generated) key as the Org headline, instead of the title. Titles can be longer than I find comfortable for an Org-mode headline, whereas keys are usually about the right length.

3) org-bibtex-cite seems like a natural next step, especially if it offers a list of keys in the Org-mode buffer.

Here are the details of my test run:

Existing bibtex entry:

  author =    {H. David Tuggle and M. J. Tomonari-Tuggle and
                  D. Colt Denfeld},
  title =        {Cultural Resources of Naval Air Station, Barbers
                  Point: Summary, Assessment, and Inventory Research
                  Design: Task 1b: Archaeological Research Services
                  for the Proposed Cleanup, Disposal, and Reuse of
                  Naval Air Station, Barbers Point, O`ahu, Hawai`i},
  publisher =    iarii,
  year =         1994,
  series =    {Prepared for Belt Collins Hawaii},
  address =   {Honolulu},
  month =     {December}}

Org-mode tree:

* Schulte bibtex

** A journal title
   :type:     article
   :AUTHOR:   A. N. Author
   :JOURNAL:  Journal of Statistical Software
   :YEAR:     1998
   :CUSTOM_ID: author_10:article

** {Cultural Resources of Naval Air Station, Barbers
   :TYPE:     book
   :CUSTOM_ID: tuggle94:_cultur_resour_naval_air_station_barber_point
   :MONTH:    December}
   :ADDRESS:  Honolulu
   :SERIES:   Prepared for Belt Collins Hawaii
   :YEAR:     1994
   :PUBLISHER: iarii
   :AUTHOR:   {H. David Tuggle and M. J. Tomonari-Tuggle and

Org-bibtex output:

  author={{H. David Tuggle and M. J. Tomonari-Tuggle and},
  title={{Cultural Resources of Naval Air Station, Barbers},
  series={Prepared for Belt Collins Hawaii},


On Apr 19, 2011, at 1:52 PM, Eric Schulte wrote:


In an attempt to organize my reading notes, I've written the following
tool which allows both for exporting Org-mode headlines with bibtex
meta-data to bibtex entries, and for reading existing bibtex entries
into Org-mode headings.

One nice feature of these functions is the ability to check that all
required fields are present in a given headline based on the bibtex type
(e.g., :article, :inproceedings), and prompt for missing fields.

See the top of the elisp file for more usage information.

Cheers -- Eric

Eric Schulte

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