Monday, September 20, 2010

Feature of the week: Automatic crossref linking

As we all know, metadata is a little bit like muscles: Everybody wants to have it, but it's hard and tedious to create ;-) but of course, nice bibliographic tools can do a good job in helping you with your daily metadata workout. A built-in mechanism of BibTeX itself to alleviate the bibliographic metadata management is the crossref-mechanism: Typically, all BibTeX records of a certain event or journal (e.g. a conference or a workshop) share some metadata fields, e.g. the editor list or the ISSN. Instead of re-typing this common fields in each entry of the event, one can use the crossref-field and reference to a "parent" bibtex entry, which contains the common fields. When BibTeX processes the entries, all relevant fields are overtaken from there. Hence, one has to enter the common fields just once, instead of several times for each entry.

As an example, the following entry:

crossreferences this entry:

So far, all the magic is done by BibTeX itself. But since the latest release, BibSonomy helps you to keep track of who references whom: On the BibTeX details page of an entry which contains a crossref field, we introduced a link to the crossreferenced entry at the top:

This neat little feature is meant to assist you in getting the most out of BibTeX and finally to enhance your everyday efficiency in dealing with your bibliographic collection. Have fun!

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