[texhax] Bilbliography problem

Uwe Lück uwe.lueck at web.de
Tue Nov 8 03:42:15 CET 2005

Filst black to the olilginal blilbioglalphy plolblem:

At 17:07 04.11.05, Morten Høgholm wrote:

>In this case \@listctr is undefined. The most likely thing to cause this
>problem is that the document class or a package used defines the
>"thebibliography" environment but does not issue \usecounter internally.
>This would indeed lead to the error message that \@listctr is undefined.
>So Zak, which document class are you using? And where did you get it
>(link, please)?

No, back to the fairness matter: Morten, you are narrowing
the space of adequate diagnoses down very much, making
use of specific information from Zak that Robin is not
willing to acknowledge:

At 11:56 01.11.05, Zak wrote:

>[13.1] [14.1]) [15.1] (zthesis.bbl
>! Undefined control sequence.
><argument> \@listctr
>l.3 \bibitem{str98}
>? (press return then the following)
>! You can't use `\relax' after \the.
><recently read> \c@
>l.3 \bibitem{str98}
>It does this for all the references written up into the .bbl file form .bib.

Robin's complaint that not even the TeX format was named
made me look at LaTeX for \@listctr, and then I had a similar
idea as you, Morten. However, I cannot imagine that
Zak has been provided by anyone with a redefinition of
\thebibligraphy that never has worked.

For other readers: \@listctr usually is defined by \usecounter
which should accompany any list definition. Otherwise,
the reported error messages result from processing
\the\value{\@listctr} in \@bibitem.

My favourite diagnosis is the following story:
At his first try, Zak started his bibliography roughly as follows:


thus, no \begin{thebibliography} at all.
For plausibility, remember an earlier posting here
wondering about


-- no \item. -- However, instead of what Zak reports,
the first error message from a \bibitem outside a
{bibliography} environment suggests a `missing list
environment'. Now, this may be understood as:
\begin{list} is missing. So add it; e.g.:


Now you get exactly the error messages that Zak reports.
So no extra mysterious package would be involved.

OK, this rather was sports, just to prove that I was right,
not to be expected from an ordinary guru, not to encourage
unspecific requests. Maybe I am too much occupied
by statements that I read and I find outright wrong.

Moreover, I don't expect that it is useful to ask Zak
again here. Maybe he has found his blunder by himself
(in working on a minimal example) and now is ashamed,
maybe (additionally) he suffered much from the unfriendly
welcome and doesn't read texhax any more.

So much for the rather personal things tonight.


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