BibSonomy + BibLaTeX: A powerful combination

As a PhD student, I often have to deal with citing someone else’s work in my publications. Up until now, me and my colleagues used the standard combination of pdflatex and bibtex. Works pretty well, doesn’t have too many features. To store my bibliography, I use BibSonomy. I can browse my collection using tags and can export single or a list of items to a set of export formats, e.g. BibTeX, which is pretty neat. To incorporate some BibTeX references into my works, I had to copy-paste them from BibSonomy into my bibliography file. This leads to cluttered references across several publications, as any changes in my BibSonomy collection are not retrospectively applied to the .bib-files in my older publications. While there is a BibSonomy plugin for TeXlipse, it is not actively maintained today while having a few issues, such as not automatically refreshing or synchronizing the local bibliography with BibSonomy or placing the downloaded keys into a file with fixed location and name.

At some point, I stumbled upon BibLaTeX, which is an extension for BibTeX, which adds some nice functionality. From now on, I can just add the following two lines to my header and do not have to bother with ever-different keys and inconsistent bibliographies (especially for my dissertation 😉 ):

\usepackage[backend=biber]{biblatex}
\addbibresource[location=remote]
    {http://www.bibsonomy.org/bib/user/thoni/myown}

Later on, I can print my bibliography entries just by

\printbibliography

Now, every time I build my document, the list of publications with the tag “myown” from user “thoni” (hey, that’s me!), which is currently stored in BibSonomy, will be returned. This is especially useful when adding publications to my collection while writing on a paper. Including BibLaTeX in Texlipse has been a bit cumbersome, but I just added arara support in my files and created a new project builder for that. While there also are some more options for the printbibliography command (such as tag selection!), I will not cover those, because I just wanted to give a small working example and highlight the usefulness of the connection to BibSonomy. A more exhaustive introduction to BibLaTeX can be found at the ShareLaTeX page.

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