How The Heck Are You Supposed To Choose Your BibTeX Keys?!

There are plenty of ways to do it and this article is one of the best.

It’s checklist is worth reviewing nearly every time you work directly with your BibTeX file.

Here is a copy of the checklist:

  • Capitalization
    • Are all article titles typeset in sentence case, or do some remain in title case?
    • Are any proper nouns or abbreviations typeset in lower case even though they should be capitalized?
  • Author initials
    • Are all author first names replaced by initials?
    • Are all middle initials present? (This may be cumbersome to check, but a warning sign would be the presence of multiple references in which no authors have middle initials. Most authors do have middle initials.)
  • Author lists
    • Are author names showing up properly and completely? Warning signs would be papers that appear to be written by one or two people with way too many initials (four or more; few authors have four initials).
  • Journal names
    • Are all journal names properly abbreviated?
    • Are journals named consistently throughout the bibliography?
  • Superfluous items in bibliography
    • Do any references contain items that shouldn’t be there, such as issue numbers, months, ISSN or ISBN numbers, or article URLs?
  • Compilation
    • Do Latex and Bibtex run on your document without raising any errors or warnings?

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