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I contribute a bit to various forums and Stack Exchange sites and I often want to cite a journal article that I've found from a quick search on Google Scholar. Google Scholar allows for easy exporting of BibTeX references.

I then want to get the citation into a reasonable format for inclusion in a post (e.g., an answer on a stack exchange question). I'm not that fussy about the particular bibliographic style, although all the core information should be included (and something like APA style would be good).


  • What is a quick method for getting a single BibTeX reference from Google Scholar into a respectable format for inclusion into an online forum post?

Note that I had a look at the online BibTeX Convertor and none of the formats appear suitable.

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

You can use this website: http://ref.lexique.org/

which will give you your reference in the APA style. If the site is useful to many people, I'll implement other output formats...

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This is fantastic. Thank you so much. – Jeromy Anglim Jun 9 '12 at 5:27
UPDATE: As of mid 2012, Google Scholar also provides this functionality: tex.stackexchange.com/a/85475/151 – Jeromy Anglim Dec 4 '12 at 12:54
@pandelis Thank you for your effort. I would like to use a format which includes the ISBN in case of a book (maybe IEEEtran?). – Alessandro Jacopson May 24 '13 at 9:44

After reading this answer to a question on command-line bibtex tools I discovered bibtex2html.

If one or more bibtex references are contained in local.bib, the following command would output the HTML for these reference in APA style.

  • bibtex2html -nokeys -o - -s apa -nodoc -q local.bib
    • -nokeys prevents bibtex keys from being displayed, which corresponds to what I typically want to do when including formatted references in blog posts or forums
    • -s apa uses the apa style file, which on casual inspection seems to work fairly well
    • -q is quiet mode necessary to suppress unnecessary information
    • -o - means that information is sent to standard out
    • -nodoc supresses the opening and closing html code necessary to make a stand-alone document
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BibDesk on the Mac can import and export references via the clipboard, so it's easy to import the reference into BibDesk and then export it in Rich Text or HTML by just copying and pasting it. The internal preview mechanism is driven by LaTeX, so you can use any bibliography style you need. The simplest would be to use the Rich Text export, although pasting that wouldn't do any formatting of the reference with respect to italics if you were pasting it into a .sx answer, for example, but otherwise would be fine. The basic HTML export creates a freestanding document, which isn't quite what you want, but you can modify the basic template used to make a minimal HTML template.

For example, the following citation

Chomsky, N. 2005. Three factors in language design. Linguistic inquiry 36(1). 1–22.

was placed into this answer effectively with 4 keystrokes: one to copy the BibTeX generated by Google Scholar, one to paste it into BibDesk, and one (actually a mouse action) to export it as Rich Text and one to paste it into the answer.

JabRef can also export HTML, but only through the file saving mechanism, as far as I know, so this wouldn't be so simple.

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To quote myself:

Google Scholar now has a cite button on each reference which makes it easy to get an APA formatted reference. See the announcment on the blog and this image taken from the blog post:

example of using cite feature in google scholar

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