Question about BibTex format

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Posts 19231
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Aug 25 2010 11:45 PM

Another user was asking how to get a listing of all their books into Excel or .CSV format. I know Logos can export to BibTex, and there's a reference management program called JabRef which can import BibTex and export .CSV, so I thought that would work. However JabRef chokes when trying to read in the BibTex file that I exported from Logos of my entire Library.

I looked at the BibTex code being generated by Logos and it looks to be non-standard. Here is the first entry:

   @book{Abbott,-41,
author = {Abbott, Thomas Kingsmill},
title = {A critical and exegetical commentary on the epistles to the Ephesians and to the Colossians},
publisher = {C. Scribner's sons},
address = {New York},
year = {1909},
}

JabRef complains that it's expecting = on line 1 but finds , instead. From what I can tell, looking at some BibTex documentation, that negative number on line 1 is extraneous. What is it doing there? It confuses JabRef. There appears to be no way to make Logos omit it.

Even stranger, for some entries, that negative numer is jammed right into the key without a comma separator:

   @book{Acht-724,
author = {Achtemeier, Paul J.; Harper & Row, Publishers; Society of Biblical Literature},
title = {Harper's Bible dictionary},
publisher = {Harper & Row},
address = {San Francisco},
year = {1985},
edition = {1st ed.},
}

I couldn't figure out any rhyme nor reason to when the negative number is separate vs. when it's part of the key.

I'm very puzzled by all of this and would like to figure it out. If there's a bug there I'd like to report it, but I don't know enough about BibTex to know what I'm reporting. Hence my post to this Forum first. Thanks!

Posts 19231
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Aug 26 2010 12:01 AM

Further investigation: I thought maybe the negative number is supposed to be mashed up with the alphabetic characters (without a comma separator) in order to form a unique key. Based on that assumption, I did a global replace in the text file of ,- with - to try to fix the problem. But JabRef still can't read in the file because there are some duplicate keys. For example:

   @book{Bu-2593,
author = {Bunyan, John},
title = {Bunyan's Prison Meditations.},
publisher = {Logos Research Systems, Inc.},
address = {Bellingham, WA},
year = {2006},
}

and

   @book{Bu-2593,
author = {Bunyan, John},
title = {Peaceable Principles and True.},
publisher = {Logos Research Systems, Inc.},
address = {Bellingham, WA},
year = {2006},
}

So it looks like those negative numbers are not unique, even in combination with the alphabetic characters of the key.

I'm even more puzzled than before.

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