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Citations and bibliography formatter

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citeproc-py is a CSL processor for Python. It aims to implement the CSL 1.0.1 specification. citeproc-py can output styled citations and bibliographies in a number of different output formats. Currently supported are plain text, reStructuredText and HTML. Other formats can be added easily.

citeproc-py uses semantic versioning. Currently, its major version number is still at 0, meaning the API is not yet stable. However, you should not expect to see any major API changes soon.


citeproc-py was originally developed for Python 3 but now also runs on Python 2.6+. It depends on lxml for parsing and navigating the CSL style and locale files.


The recommended way of installing citeproc-py is by using pip:

pip install citeproc-py

If lxml isn’t installed, pip will try to install it for you.

If you insist, you can manually install citeproc-py from distribution packages hosted at PyPI. Please ignore the release archives offered by GitHub.

Getting Started

To get started with citeproc-py, take a look at the examples under examples/. Two examples are provided, one parsing references from a JSON representation of references as supported by citeproc-js, another parsing the references from a BibTeX file. Both show and explain how to cite references and render the bibliography.

CSL Compatibility

Currently, citeproc-py passes almost 60% of the (relevant) tests in the citeproc-test suite. However, it is more than 60% complete, as citeproc-py doesn’t take care of double spaces and repeated punctuation marks yet, making a good deal of the tests fail. In addition, the following features have not yet been implemented (there are probably some I forgot though):

  • disambiguation/year-suffix

  • et-al-subsequent-min/et-al-subsequent-use-first

  • collapsing

  • punctuation-in-quote

  • display

Also, some citeproc-js functionality that is not part of the CSL spec is not (yet) supported:

  • raw dates

  • static-ordering

  • literal names

Running the Tests

First clone the citeproc-test suite so that it sits next to the citeproc-py directory. Now you can run (in the tests directory). Run --help to see its usage information.


Release 0.5.0 (2020-02-09)


  • handle commas and ampersands in a functional style

  • Number: handle commas and ampersands

  • added symbol for textquotesingle

  • specify fallback locales for fr-CA and es-CL

  • improved page number and ranges parsing

Bug fixed:

  • don’t fail on empty page ranges (#90) (bbm)

  • detect end of file while parsing incorrect bib (#59) (John Vandenberg)

Other changes:

  • Removed 3.2-3.4 and added 3.7, 3.8 to supported Pythons

  • Refactored locales handling

Release 0.4.0 (2017-06-23)

New features:

  • allow specifying the encoding of a BibTeX database file (#20 and #25)

  • BibTeX ‘month’ field: support integers and “<month> <day>” values

  • BibTeX ‘pages’ field: support “10”, “10+”, “10-12” and “10–12” formats

  • BibTeX entry types: map the non-standard ‘thesis’ and ‘report’ entries

  • update the CSL schema to version 1.0.1 (#5)

  • update the CSL locales to commit 49bf3fc0

Bug fixed:

  • avoid crash when there is nothing to affix (David Lesieur)

  • fix BibTeX month to CSL month mapping (#24)

  • strip leading/trailing whitespace from BibTeX values (#37)

Release 0.3.0 (2014-11-07)

Major improvements to the BibTeX parser:

  • split names into parts and assign them to the equivalent CSL name parts

  • fixed handling of accent macros and escaped characters

  • more compatible (La)TeX macro handling in general (but still basic)

  • handle standard Computer Modern ligatures such as –, —, and <<

  • added unit tests for the BibTeX and LaTeX parsers

Other changes:

  • disable RelaxNG validation of CSL styles by default (API change)

Release 0.2.0 (2014-10-25)

  • bad cite callback function can determine how a bad cite is displayed (hetsch)

  • added option to disable RelaxNG validation (Jasper Op de Coul)

  • distutils was replaced with setuptools (Joshua Carp)

  • bug fixes (Yaroslav Halchenko, David Lesieur)

  • CitationStylesBibliography.bibliography() now returns the list of entries

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