Keeping track of citations is a pain, but there are lots of great tools out there for keeping them all straight and eventually importing them into your papers. For a while I was a big fan of Papers for Macs. But when I put it into practice, exporting to a BibTeX database and importing into an AASTeX manuscript, I was disappointed. Mostly because Papers fetches data from ADS, but doesn’t use the AASTeX macros for the different journal names. And I couldn’t customize it. Annoying.
That’s when I tried another combination: BibDesk (part of the MacTeX package). It’s a lot like Papers, though with less bells and whistles. But you can’t beat the price (free) and it has this really nice feature: highlight any citation string (like 2011AJ….141…19B), right-click, and choose “Add to BibDesk”. Voila! Citation is imported from ADS complete with AASTeX journal macros.
There’s just one little problem: the resulting \bibitem entries have all the author names. The ApJ and AJ Journal styles like to have one, two, three, four, or two with “et al.”. So I wrote a python script to parse a .bbl file and output it with the author entries all fixed up. You might ask: why not update the BibTeX database instead. Well, I thought about that, but decided I wanted to keep the database in tact, in case I ever want to find someone deep down in the author list (like, say, me). So here’s my magic recipe:
- Use BibDesk to maintain your .bib database:
- Add entries using the magic right-click-on-ADS-string
- Add entries by copying BibTeX entries to the clipboard.
- Merge previous BibTeX databases
- Use bibtex command as usual to build your .bbl file from your .tex manuscript.
- Run my python script:
(it will make a backup of the original file: ms.bbl.backup)
- Re-run latex again. Maybe do that a couple of times. Just to be sure.