[texhax] BibTeX and its limitations

Robin Fairbairns Robin.Fairbairns at cl.cam.ac.uk
Mon Nov 17 18:30:58 CET 2003

> > bibtex needs to free itself of its belief in 7-bit encoding, it needs
> > to learn to sort in more than just american, and so on.  (i know 8-bit
> > versions of bibtex are available; i don't know of any sorting
> > mechanism other than english, and i don't know how one might deal with
> > more than one 8-bit character set in a bibtex database, let alone any
> > unicode set.)
> Have a look at C:\TeX\texmf\doc\bibtex8\00readme.txt on sorting and
> codepages.  I confess, I've never examined the question, but it does appear
> to be dealt with in BibTeX8.

sadly this doesn't appear on my linux machine: can you export your c
drive so i can read it?

seriously, though...

i see no sign that bibtex is able to deal with databases in more than
one language: what if i have citations to english, greek, polish and
russian papers in one database?  that's going to require 4 different
(8-bit) character sets, unless i switch to unicode.

the simple step (10 years ago?) of providing an 8-bit version
certainly solved some problems.  but the world is moving on...

personally, i'm inclined to suspect that private database formats like
bibtex have a rather limited life.  but i have no proposal for
replacing .bib files.  (though i know several people have.)


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