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I want to customize a biblatex style based on authoryear (and thus based on standard as well). So when I read this, does it mean I have to work with the cumulated paste of both .bbx-files or can I start with an empty file with the options listed in the post by lockstep?

Reason: I have been googling and trying stuff out for 5 hours now and I can't even get rid off an indentation after the first line of an bibliography-entry for example. It appears I am not very good with this.

I'm using Tex Live 2012 on Win 7.

EDIT Ok, upon reading your replies I realized I should have posted the following upfront. Here is what I did. First, this is what I have to get, for instance as a book (also "collection") by multiple authors:

Cooper, W. W./ Seiford, L. M./Tone, K. (2007):
Data Envelopment Analysis, 2nd Edn., Springer, Heidelberg.

(or "edn.","Edition","Ed." or "ed."–I think I prefer "Ed.".)

Here is what I managed to get with natbib and some customizations via latex makebst in the Windows CLI:

Cooper, W. W./ Seiford, L. M. and Tone, K. (2007): Data Envelopment Analysis. Springer, Heidelberg, 2nd edn..

Then I used biblatex with this setup to get this:

Cooper,W.W./L. M. Seiford/K. Tone (2007):
Data Envelopment Analysis.
2nd ed.
Springer, Heidelberg.

Another problem: The whole bibliography is indented. Well, at least it looks aligned. :)

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  • Welcome to TeX.sx! – Mario S. E. Apr 24 '13 at 15:34
  • Congratulations for rolling up the sleeves! Please also share your efforts here if they come to fruition. But beware, biblatex is not your average bibliography package! :P – percusse Apr 24 '13 at 15:37
  • Regarding the indentation, that is set by \bibhang, so you can change this like so: \setlength{\bibhang}{0pt}. Your first paragraph is unclear to me. If the authoryear style is close to your needs, you might be able to get away with a few \renewbibmacros; if you need to re-order, add, or remove elements from your entries, you will likely need to create new commands via \newbibmacro and make new bibliography drivers via \DeclareBibliographyDriver. The best way forward is to take the simplest entry type and figure out how to modify that one before tackling the more complex ones. – jon Apr 24 '13 at 16:07
  • I suspect the title of your posting really made @lockstep's day! – Mico Apr 24 '13 at 16:57
  • Set \bibhang and friends outside \AtBeginBibliography, otherwise they are reset too late. – Audrey Apr 24 '13 at 22:46
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A great deal depends on the amount of customization that you are planning to do; there isn't really a single answer. As Lockstep's canonical answer shows, there are many different sorts of customization which are done in different ways.

In general, it's unusual to start with a "paste" of anything -- at least in the sense of physically cutting and pasting. (Of course, you never change the standard files.) What you do, even if you intend to carry out some pretty major modifications, is to create your own .bbx and/or .cbx files, then load an existing style with \RequireBibliographyStyle or \RequireCitationStyle. You can then (a) add your own bibmacros (with \newbibmacro), alter existing macros (with \renewbibmacro), amend or add commands with \newcommand and \renewcommand, over-write field formats with \DeclareFieldFormat ... and so forth. Although it's possible to imagine cases where you would actually start from scratch, I think that would be pretty rare, and I certainly think one would always load standard.

But ... before you even start doing that, make sure you have considered all the other options. There are a number of existing author-year styles -- including biblatex-chicago and biblatex-apa -- which are heavily maintained and stable, and well documented, and which reflect well-developed citation schemes that are in common use. Before deciding you need you need to write your own style, I'd take a hard look at these and see if they already do what you want, or could be adapted to do so with relatively little effort.

At the very least, try to work out what exactly is wrong with these styles, from your point of view. Many, many, changes can be made without touching .bbx or .cbx files. You also need to get on very familiar terms with the biblatex documentation.

(For instance, you will find the answer to the question that has been eluding you on pages 83, 89 and 248 of the documentation: use \setlength{\bibhang}{0pt} to remove the indentation added by the standard definition of the bibliography environment, and perhaps increase \bibitemsep to put some vertical space in.)

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    Very sound advice. – jon Apr 24 '13 at 16:49
  • Hello, I edited my op to reflect what I am looking for. I'll continue tweaking biblatex tomorrow. – henry Apr 24 '13 at 22:06
  • @Paul Stanley It's just that I assumed I had to go the "hard" way. I didn't know I could maybe reach my goal via some easier commands. I do not understand the manual well enough. – henry Apr 25 '13 at 10:41

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