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When I bibtex foo.tex the following foo.tex

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{natbib}
\bibliographystyle{plainnat}
\begin{document}
\cite{citation1}
\bibliography{foo}
\end{document}

with this entry in foo.bib

@unpublished{citation1,
author = {bob},
number = {2},
pages = {8--13},
title = {{test title}},
volume = {12},
year = {1492}
}

Bibtex complains:

Warning--empty note in citation1

Can I avoid this warning (in a way that is not much more difficult than ignoring it)?

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2  
For the entry type @unpublished, note is one of the mandatory fields, so BibTeX is complaining "by design". –  lockstep Jan 5 '12 at 22:26
2  
Taking a closer look at your citation1 entry: Is this a yet-to-be published article where the journal is already known (because you specify year, volume, number and pages)? If so, use @article and add a note (here: optional) saying "forthcoming" or " in press". –  lockstep Jan 5 '12 at 22:35
    
@lockstep it is actually a working paper / conference proceedings –  David Jan 5 '12 at 22:44
    
I see. Choose @conference or @inproceedings, add the optional note field, and the warning should vanish. –  lockstep Jan 5 '12 at 22:48
    
@lockstep @generic works so I posted this workaround as an answer, and then updated my answer with the other types you mention. Thanks for the tip. –  David Jan 5 '12 at 22:48

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

As pointed out by @lockstep in the comments, note is one of the mandatory fields for the @unpublished entry type.

This warning will disappear if you change the entrytype from @unpublished to @generic, @conference, or @inproceedings.

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Instead of changing the entry type you can also enter an actual note in the Extra field. For example, for the @Manuscript entry I usually enter 'working paper' or 'unpublished.

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