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Better BibTeX data

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BibTeX files are typically manually maintained and thus often contain inconsistencies, mistakes, or are missing information. betterbib helps maintaining your BibTeX files by comparing them with online sources and correcting whatever entries are faulty.

Install with

pip install betterbib

and run simply run

betterbib update in.bib   # or short `betterbib up`

to improve your BibTeX file with default settings. For example, the input BibTeX

@article {krylov,
  author = {Liesen and Gaul and Nabben},
  title = {Framework Deflation Krylov Augmented}

is converted to

 author = {Gaul, André and Gutknecht, Martin H. and Liesen, Jörg and Nabben, Reinhard},
 title = {A Framework for Deflated and Augmented {Krylov} Subspace Methods},
 doi = {10.1137/110820713},
 number = {2},
 pages = {495-518},
 source = {Crossref},
 url = {},
 volume = {34},
 journal = {SIAM J. Matrix Anal. \& Appl.},
 publisher = {Society for Industrial \& Applied Mathematics (SIAM)},
 issn = {0895-4798, 1095-7162},
 year = {2013},
 month = jan,

Use -i/--in-place to modify the input file in place. Use -h/--help to see all options.


betterbib fetches data from

All betterbib-sync command-line options are explained in betterbib-sync -h.


The tool

betterbib format in.bib

allows you to apply consistent formatting to you BibTeX file. See -h/--help for options.

(Un)abbreviate journal names

The tool

betterbib abbreviate-journal-names in.bib

allows you to apply consistent abbreviation of journal names. See -h/--help for options.

To use custom abbrebiations for journal names, create a file as a JSON dictionary, and provide that as a command line argument with --extra-abbrev-file. For example, if the file correct_pnas.json is:

{ "PNAS": "Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.  U.S.A." }

and you call betterbib-journal-abbrev --extra-abbrev-file=correct_pnas.json, this will replace any bibtex entries listed with journal "PNAS" with the correct abbreviation.

This option is included in the betterbib and betterbib-journal-abbrev commands.

When combined with the --long-journal-names option, this will override default options only if both have the same abbreviation.


In BibTeX titles, some words need to be protected by curly brackets such that they are capitalized correctly, e.g., {Einstein}. betterbib automatically recognizes some of them (if they are in the default dictionary, like Einstein), but you might want to add some. To this end, create the config file


and fill it with, e.g.,



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