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A tool to automatically retrieve bibtex entries

Project description


PyPI version Coverage Status Build Status Language grade: Python GitHub code style


caleb is a tool for automatically filling in your Latex citations. It assumes that the citations in your tex files are of the form \cite{author:title:year} or \cite{author:title}. caleb then extracts the citation keys from the aux file and will retrieve bibliographic data from either (default) or By default, these entries are then appending to the bib file. If the --dry-run option is passed, then the entries are printed instead.

Usage examples

The quickest way to see what caleb is doing is to use the --get-this-key flag.

$ caleb --get-this-key 'mazur:eisenstein' --method 'ams'
@article {mazur:eisenstein,
    AUTHOR = {Mazur, B.},
     TITLE = {Modular curves and the {E}isenstein ideal},
      NOTE = {With an appendix by Mazur and M. Rapoport},
   JOURNAL = {Inst. Hautes \'{E}tudes Sci. Publ. Math.},
  FJOURNAL = {Institut des Hautes \'{E}tudes Scientifiques. Publications
    NUMBER = {47},
      YEAR = {1977},
     PAGES = {33--186 (1978)},
      ISSN = {0073-8301},
   MRCLASS = {14G25 (10D05)},
  MRNUMBER = {488287},
       URL = {},

The following examples occur in the examples directory.

  • First run pdflatex an_example.tex to generate an_example.aux. caleb will now parse an_example.aux to generate the appropriate bibliography file.
$ caleb an_example
  • The first important commandline option is --take-first. When making a query, it is possible that there are multiple result. By default, caleb will take no action here. However, if the --take-first flag is passed, caleb will take the first entry.
$ caleb --take-first an_example
$ caleb --method ams an_example

Workflow integration


  • The best way is probably to integrate into latexmk. The -pdflatex flag allows us to run caleb after each pdflatex call.
latexmk -pdf -pdflatex='pdflatex %O %S; caleb -t -m ams %B' an_example
  • We can set the -pdflatex flag in a .latexmkrc file. This can either go in the your tex project folder or in the home directory. So in the .latexmkrc file, include the following line (see examples directory for an example):
$pdflatex='pdflatex %O %S; caleb %B'


  • The barebone approach is to run caleb before running bibtex.
pdflatex an_example
caleb an_example
bibtex an_example
pdflatex an_example
pdflatex an_example

cocalc contains a collaborative latex editor that allows you to use a custom build command. We can use caleb by changing it to

latexmk -pdf -pdflatex='pdflatex %O %S; caleb -t -m ams %B' -f -g -bibtex -synctex=1 -interaction=nonstopmode an_example.tex


caleb comes with some command line arguments.

$ caleb --help
usage: caleb [-h] [-t] [-v] [--version] [-m {crossref,ams}] [-g GET_THIS_KEY]

positional arguments:

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -t, --take-first      Take first result if multiple results
  -v, --verbose         Increase verbosity of output
  --version             Outputs the version
  -m {crossref,ams}, --method {crossref,ams}
                        Specify a method for retrieving citations
  -g GET_THIS_KEY, --get-this-key GET_THIS_KEY
                        Print the first entry with this key
  -dr, --dry-run        Write the changes to stdout instead of the bibtex



Testing and Development Dependencies


The recommended method is to get caleb from its PyPI repository.

pip3 install caleb --user

Alternatively, a file is auto-generated using dephell. Let me know if something goes wrong!

python install --user

Goal of project

  • Reach feature parity with IRL Caleb by version 2.13.1995.


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