Reference management in LaTeX using BibTeX

LaTeX is a photo-typesetting system much favoured by scientists and engineers for its ability to handle complex mathematical formulae and produce high quality output. It is possible to “write and cite” in a LaTeX document and automatically generate a reference list based on the citations in the document.

BibTeX is a tool you can use with LaTeX which allows you to store references details in separate files which can then be linked to a LaTeX document. In this way references can be re-used in many documents.

There are many, mostly free,  versions (distributions) of LaTeX available either for download (e.g. MiKTeX, TeXnicCenter, TeXworks) or as web-based versions (e.g. Authorea, Overleaf, ShareLaTeX).

It is also possible to create BibTeX files automatically either through data capture from many search tools or by exporting references from reference management software such as RefWorks or EndNote.

PC clusters

PC clusters in the Library and in many departments have several LaTeX distributions already installed: MiKTeX, TeXnicCenter, TeXworks.

Overleaf Pro trial

Library Services has arranged a one year free trial of Overleaf Pro, available to all Imperial College London staff and students. For more information on creating a new Pro account or upgrading an existing basic account, see Overleaf - Free Pro account. Please note that this is not an endorsement of this product over other products.


Citing and referencing in LaTeX - using BibTeX  (pdf)

Automatic generation of BibTeX files (pdf)

A Harvard style for use with LaTeX (using natbib) – example  (pdf)

A Vancouver style for use with LaTeX (using natbib) – example (pdf)

An IEEE style for use with LaTeX (using natbib) - example (pdf)

A useful source of information on reference management with LaTeX is Wikibooks LaTeX/Bibliography Management

Support is also available via numerous LaTeX user forums e.g. TeX – LaTeX Stack Exchange

When using LaTeX it is still possible to use reference management software to organise your references (and manage documents). BibTeX files of selected records can be easily created to use with your LaTeX document:

Using RefWorks with LaTeX (pdf)

Using EndNote with LaTeX (pdf)

Using Mendeley with LaTeX (pdf)