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Do one have to write every entry of the bibliography manually or is there a short way to find the reference to a certain book? I'm aware that (never done it though) one can download references from phys.journal etc but what if the reference you want to enter into your bibliography does not exist in phys.journal etc, do you have to put it in manually or can one for instance get it from Amazon where they sell the book in question?

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I've found that you can generally use Google Scholar to generate BibTeX references.

Look up the book you are interested in. There should be a link for 'Cite', then in the bottom left another link to 'import into BibTeX'. You should get a new page with an entry you can copy/paste into your bib file, or if you are using software like BibDesk it will import the entry for you automatically. Hope this helps!

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Thanks for your answer, I'll try this and let it be known how good it works. – Faq Apr 29 '14 at 13:46

Many online sources (e.g. ACM.org, MAA.org, Springer, ...) give out BibTeX references for their publications. Be careful, they are often wrongly formatted and just use the wrong entry type or fields. Check them against the BibTeX recommendations (I try to follow Oren Patashnik's BibTeXing), make sure the entries are complete (try to fill in even optional fields). Perhaps you have your own conventions for naming entries or formatting the text, follow them. Some people have collected bibliographies in their areas, and publish them. Google should be able to find such.

Consider your growing collection of bibliography entries as a long-lasting, shareable resource (we shared a master bibliography for all papers cited , and also our won work, in a project here; that saved lots of time in hunting down/formatting entries, and made sure they were complete and consistent).

The bibliography for my lecture notes has slowly grown, when I'm very bored I print all 43 pages out, and go over it looking for funnies or missing info for entries to track down. Whenever I stumble on something of (even tangential interest) I add it. It helps in finding stuff again later.

I'm a xemacs fan, in large part due to its excellent integration of AUCTeX, which has a special mode for editing BibTeX bibliographies.

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Use a reference manager to organize all your references and keep the metadata tidy. Popular reference managers like JabRef, Zotero or Mendeley can export selected papers/books in BibTeX format that you can use with your paper.

Additionally, some reference managers e.g. Mendeley will automatically extract relevant metadata from papers you add in PDF format.

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