Skip to main content

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.

NOTE Just because I use only {...} myself, I’ve never thought of adding the more traditional "..." field marking before version 1.2.*.

Current version

Version 1.2.0-dev.9 -- 29 July 2021.


Copyright © 2019–2021

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

Example usage

import bibparse
db = bibparse.Biblio(filename)

The sample code loads, parses and pretty-prints a BibTeX file.

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

Each exception has a property lineno in order to refer to the line that has raised the exception:

    db = bibparse.Biblio(filename)
except bibparse.DuplicateError as exc:
    print(f'duplicate bibid on line {exc.lineno}')

3. BibItem class

A dict-derived object representing a single BibTeX entry.

3.1 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__()
  • parse(data) -- parse string data into a BibTeX entry
  • update() -- update Biblio using another object

parse() can be manually called for str input.

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.

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

The __repr__() method is provided so that merely print()ing the Biblio object produces valid BibTeX output.

  • by_bibid(bibids) -- return all entries whose bibid is in the list (or set)
  • 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

parse() can be manually called for str input; however, read() automatically calls it, as does the constructor Biblio() when given a filename argument.

by_bibid(bibids) was written in order to make combining searches easier. Each by_regex() call returns a Biblio object whose keys can be obtained with Biblio.keys(). These keys can be used in set operations to provide a new list of keys that match either any (intersection) or all (union) of the keys, and by_bibid() can then be used to return all the entries.

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.

Project details

Download files

Download the file for your platform. If you're not sure which to choose, learn more about installing packages.

Source Distribution

bibparse-1.2.0.tar.gz (19.5 kB view hashes)

Uploaded source

Built Distribution

bibparse-1.2.0-py3-none-any.whl (19.9 kB view hashes)

Uploaded py3

Supported by

AWS AWS Cloud computing and Security Sponsor Datadog Datadog Monitoring Fastly Fastly CDN Google Google Download Analytics Microsoft Microsoft PSF Sponsor Pingdom Pingdom Monitoring Sentry Sentry Error logging StatusPage StatusPage Status page