[OS X TeX] Crossrefs in BibDesk?

Matthias Damm macplanet at macnews.de
Wed May 18 18:36:51 CEST 2005

Am 18.05.2005 um 18:13 schrieb Curtis Clifton:

>> We are confused about that as well :).  I'm curious as to what  
>> advantage (real or perceived) crossrefs have over filling out all  
>> fields of an entry.
> Imagine that you need to put 6 different papers from a conference  
> proceedings in your bib file.  With cross references you can create  
> a single entry carrying all the general information for the  
> proceedings (conference name, location, month, year, publisher,  
> series, volume, number, editor, ...).  Then the entries for each  
> paper only need the paper title, authors, page numbers, and the  
> cross-reference.  This can be a significant savings in data entry.   
> This was especially true before BibDesk came along with its  
> automatic completion of entries.  Another advantage is that a data  
> entry mistake in something like the name of the conference only  
> needs to be corrected in one place, instead of 6.

I strongly support this -- if you work with many proceedings or  
collections, crossrefs are priceless.

There is another advantage however: Crossreferenced items appear  
automatically in the bibliography if more than 2 (by default, this  
can be changed by calling bibtex as "bibtex --min-crossrefs=x") items  
are referenced.
AFAIK this behavior is only possible when you are using real crossrefs.

> It seems to me that if an entry has a cross reference, then the  
> data in the referenced entry should appear in the editing window  
> for the referencing entry but shouldn't be editable there.  Perhaps  
> a small arrow icon could appear next to the non-editable field.   
> Clicking this icon would open the referenced entry for editing.   
> Maybe dragging one entry onto the edit window for another could be  
> used to establish a cross reference.  Searches should show the  
> entries that would match if the cross-referenced data were in-lined.

Yes, something like this was very desirable for a later version!

> I don't know the precise semantics of cross references.  For  
> example, what happens if an entry contains a booktitle, but also  
> has a cross reference to a book entry?  Does BibTeX use the  
> booktitle from the original entry, or does it use the title from  
> the cross-referenced entry?

Crossrefs only replace fields which are not present in the original  

> Per Matthias's comment about sort order:  Since cross-references  
> make the dependencies explicit, it would be feasible to  
> automatically sort so that referenced items appear after  
> referencing items (assuming no cycles in the referencing graph).

That can't happen, since referenced items must not contain crossrefs  


Matthias Damm
mad at macpla.net
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