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I just spent an hour trying to understand Bibtex, but I find it very hard to find simple instructions. I even read half of the manual. I put this in my LaTeX file report.ex:

% preamble


% ...
% document

blaha \cite{guyton-hall}


In refs.bib, I put:

    author = {Guyton, Arthur C. and Hall, John E.},
    day = {01},
    edition = {11},
    howpublished = {Hardcover},
    isbn = {0721602401},
    keywords = {physiology},
    month = sep,
    publisher = {Elsevier Saunders},
    title = {Textbook of medical physiology},
    year = {2006}

What now? The manual talked about running bibtex on my AUX file, but then bibtex complains:

$ bibtex report
This is BibTeX, Version 0.99c (TeX Live 2009/Debian)
The top-level auxiliary file: report.aux
I found no \citation commands---while reading file report.aux
I found no \bibdata command---while reading file report.aux
I found no \bibstyle command---while reading file report.aux
(There were 3 error messages)

That happens after running pdflatex report.tex a couple of times. What am I doing wrong? And why is it so hard?

(And why should I even run bibtex when I'm using biblatex and biber?)

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@lockstep: It worked! Thank you! Any idea what I could do if I want biber? – Andreas Dec 16 '11 at 15:55
The reason I used biber first was that biblatex told me so due to UTF8 encoding. Later, I also read in the manual that bibtex and bibtex8 have problems with long citation lists. – Andreas Dec 16 '11 at 15:56
I'm not sure I'm following. Did you run bibtex, biber or both? biber should be available if you have an up to day install of TeXLive. – qubyte Dec 16 '11 at 16:02
@Mark: Biber was not available, so maybe 2009 (in the Ubuntu reps) isn't up to day. – Andreas Dec 16 '11 at 16:03
@lockstep: Thank you very much! – Andreas Dec 16 '11 at 16:03
up vote 9 down vote accepted

You must either use biber as backend or (in case biber isn't available) issue \usepackage[backend=bibtex8]{biblatex} in the preamble. Consider to use latexmk to compile your .tex document -- it will automatically detect if bibtex or biber should be used as a backend.

See also What to do to switch to biblatex? and bibtex vs. biber and biblatex vs. natbib.

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