# [texhax] unused bibliography entries

Robin Fairbairns Robin.Fairbairns at cl.cam.ac.uk
Sat Jul 12 22:51:12 CEST 2003

> I have a question concerning references: How to get a complete
> correspondence between the \cite commands in the text and the
> \bibitem entries in the bibliography?
>
> As far as I know, standard LaTeX only detects missing \bibitem entries
> and in that case issues a warning ("There were undefined references").

because that's the only information that latex is in a position to
maintain.

> Now, I'm looking for the opposite: Is it possible to automatically
> check that *all* \bibitem entries are referred to by corresponding
> \cite commands? How to make LaTeX issue a warning like "There were
> unused bibliography entries"?

the best way is not to start from where you are: use bibtex, which
will build a thebibliography environment for you, from your
bibliographic database.

the alternative is trial-and-error removing suspect entries from your
thebibliography environment, and recompiling twice to see if a warning
appears.

unless you want to write an alternative set of citation commands that
remember whether any given citation has been used.