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Read and write BibTeX files

Project description

bibparse -- read and write BibTeX files


bibparse reads and writes BibTeX files.

The main class, Biblio, is a dict with methods for parsing, reading, writing and searching for BibTeX data. Each entry in the Biblio is another kind of special dict, BibItem. The user usually only needs to access Biblio.


Version 1.0.0 -- 18 July 2019.


Copyright © 2019, Tommi Nieminen

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see

Module contents

1. Helper functions

The values in some fields (namely author, editor, translator, publisher, address, and pages, all of which may have several names, locations, or other data in their values) of BibItem are stored internally as lists.

  • to_bibtex(key, val) -- convert an internal Python value into a BibTeX string
  • to_python(key, val) -- convert a BibTeX string into an internal Python value

Both functions take a BibTeX field name (key) in order to decide how to handle the value. Except for "pages" where the separator is a single dash "-", the separator is the string " and ", the leading and trailing whitespace included.


  • to_bibtex('pages', [100, 110]) → '100-110'
  • to_python('address', 'London and New York') → ['London', 'New York']

2. Exceptions

  • BibError -- the base exception
    • DuplicateError -- duplicate ID’s
    • NoIDError -- missing ID in an entry
    • PreambleError -- invalid preamble

3. BibItem class

A dict-derived object representing a single BibTeX entry.

3.1 Methods

3.1.1 Derived methods

These are derived from dict but modified to ensure lower-case keys, reasonable ordering of keys in a printout, and sort ordering.

  • __lt__()
  • __repr__()
  • __setitem__()
  • update()

update() has an additional optional overwrite=bool parameter. If True (the default), update() functions exactly like dict.update(), updating BibItem contents from data in the supplied dict. If False, only new keys in supplied data is added but existing values are not overwritten.

3.1.2 New method
  • parse(data) -- parse string data into a BibTeX entry

4. Biblio class

The main class. The constructor can be given an optional filename argument; the file is opened and parsed automatically.

4.1 Methods

4.1.1 Derived methods
  • __repr__()

__repr__() produces BibTeX-compatible representation of the data so that conversion to string is easily done with str().

4.1.2 New methods
  • by_regex(field, regex) -- search in field by regex
  • by_types(bibtypes, complement=False) -- search by BibTeX type
  • parse(data) -- parse string as BibTeX data
  • read(filename) -- read and parse file as BibTeX data
  • write(filename) -- write file in BibTeX format

by_regex(field, regex) searches the database by field values and returns the matches in a new Biblio object. E.g., by_regex('author', '.*Smith.*') returns all entries where the "author" field contains "Smith".

by_types(bibtypes, complement=False) searches the database by BibTeX types (given without the initial "@") and returns the matches in a new Biblio object. bibtypes can be a string specifying a single type (e.g., "article") or a list of strings specifying several types (e.g., ["article", "book"]). If the optional complement parameter is set to True, the function returns the complement, i.e., all entries not matching the criteria.

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