When working with Bibtex, manually transferring the citation information for articles, prooceedings, books, etc. can be a tedious work. Some web sites provide citations in Bibtex format. What are your favorite sites to get Bibtex citations of your used references?

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    I think this might be a good candidate for CW, so we can have one answer that can be edited to contain all the other suggestions. – David Z Jul 26 '10 at 21:37
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    @David: CW or not, I think it's better to have separate suggestions in multiple answers (even if they're from the same person) so that they can be voted on independently. – ShreevatsaR Jul 26 '10 at 21:53
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    I went ahead and made a compilation answer. – David Z Jul 26 '10 at 22:56
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    I guess community wiki is indeed a good idea. I accepted David's answer for now, and everybody adding a new answer could add the new page to that answer as well. – Nils Schmidt Jul 28 '10 at 18:45
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    Please keep in mind that the .bib entries generated by some online services may have shortcomings and that it is a good idea to check the exported references manually. See tex.stackexchange.com/q/386053/35864 – moewe Jan 7 '19 at 21:41

26 Answers 26


Here's my compilation of the suggestions given. Feel free to edit other suggestions in as appropriate, in addition to posting each suggestion in a separate answer. Note that this list is manually updated, and may not include all the other answers that have been posted! If you find some other answer helpful, please upvote it as well.

General-purpose reference collections that provide BibTeX citations

Subject-specific collections that provide BibTeX citations

Reference managers that allow BibTeX export/import

  • I just edited the list to incorporate a few more answers. This list can easily get out of date, and good answers can get lost, if someone doesn't babysit this list and update it each time an answer is posted. :-( – ShreevatsaR Aug 4 '10 at 3:24
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    In Google Scholar you need to go to "Scholar Preferences" and select the option "Show links to import citations into Bibtex". – Alejandro Dec 10 '10 at 16:19
  • @David, +1 for the nice compilation and zotero recommendation, you may have a look at this automated workflow to get the job done investing in zotero+biblatex+biber+ text editor that supports biber ( I use TexStudio) here. – doctorate May 20 '13 at 13:09
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    Alternative in Google Scholar: click Cite - BibTeX. – Karlo Nov 27 '15 at 7:35
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    80% of the Google Scholar BibTeX have a really bad quality. For me, is the last resource. – epsilone Jan 24 '17 at 8:52

MathSciNet a subscription only service (but available on most university campuses) provides BIBTEX entries for the entire mathematical literature.

A nice aspect of their interface is a "clipboard", to which you can save articles, then ask for the BIBTEX for everything on your clipboard all at once.

Mathematicians might also be interested in the shell scripts I wrote that automatically look up BIBTEX entries from MathSciNet, based on missing references in your .aux files.


For books I usually use a site, where it is possible to get Bibtex citations from Amazon.com articles. This is very good for books, and some inproceedings and incollections might be found here as well.

Amazon: http://lead.to/amazon/en/

As a Software Engineer I quite often have to deal with technical papers from ACM or IEEE. Both their catalogs provide Bibtex export capabilities.

ACM: http://portal.acm.org

IEEE: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org

  • The ACM Portal provides highly accurate BibTeX entries. It does occasionally lose LNCS volume numbers, and DOIs/URLs are sometimes left out, but these are minor problems. – András Salamon Jul 26 '10 at 22:59

If you use Firefox and the wonderful extension Zotero, it can generally parse citation information from any webpage, and export a BibTeX-style citation from it.

  • I second that, and for mac users, there is a wonderful plugin for the zotero plugin, called zot2bib, that uses the automatic import function from zotero, to forward the data to BibDesk. Highly recommended! mackerron.com/zot2bib – damusnet Jul 26 '10 at 21:30
  • @ShreevatsaR, +1 for mentioning Zotero, works well for windows also and for an overview of an automated bibliography workflow this can be helpful. – doctorate May 22 '13 at 19:38
  • Also, there the online service ZoteroBib – João Bravo Jan 25 at 18:35

Since it hasn't appeared in the other answers, Google Scholar also allows you to download a BibTeX citation for each of its search results. You have to enable the feature from the Preferences page, though.

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    I have found Google Scholar citations to be among the worst available. It is nearly always worth trying to find a BibTeX entry on ScienceDirect, the ACM Portal, or DBLP instead. Inproceedings often becomes Journal, the DOI disappears, and parts of the PDF title can make their way into the list of authors. – András Salamon Jul 26 '10 at 22:55
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    I guess my experience hasn't been quite as bad as yours, but I agree, they're often not put together very well. I generally take the Google Scholar result as a starting point and clean it up, often merging the information with that from other sources. – David Z Jul 26 '10 at 22:58
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    What Google Scholar lacks in quality control, it mostly makes up for in ease of access and breadth of coverage – Jeromy Anglim Jul 27 '10 at 1:35
  • My experience is that some Google Scholar citations are incomplete. – Karlo Nov 27 '15 at 7:36

Mendeley allows you to sync your collection with a bibtex file.

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    I love mendeley. You can upload all your papers to it and afterwise manage your library from any computer since your account is hosted on their server. I host my entire library on my account, and create new collections for every new project I have. Mendeley then allows you to create a .bib file automatically for every collection in your library. I never have to edit a .bib file by myself. – levesque Jul 26 '10 at 23:06
  • I like Mendeley too... However it has some limitations. One annoying missing feature: you can't use \emph in titles. – Ludenticus Jan 20 '15 at 3:14

I maintain my Bibtex database manually (using JabRef as a GUI).

In particular with conference proceedings, it's not possible to find everything that you need in one service, and if you copy & paste information from different services, your bibliography won't be internally consistent. And even if you copy Bibtex entries directly from the publisher's site (e.g., ACM and IEEE services mentioned in other answers), you will get a lot of garbage. Details such as accented characters in authors' names, math in titles, etc., are very often wrong.

MathSciNet is one of the very few sites that I actually trust so much that I usually copy & paste Bibtex entries almost verbatim. DBLP is useful but I nevertheless double-check the information that I get from it.

It's a lot of work initially, but as your Bibtex database grows, you will be able to reuse more and more entries in your new articles - especially as you don't need to check your bibliography again when you are preparing the final versions of your papers. Using Bibtex macros and/or cross-references helps a lot with the manual work.

  • +1 for Jabref. The Spires and Arxiv plugins make it easy to add entries without copy-pasting. – ihuston Jul 26 '10 at 21:37

DBLP has good BibTeX entries for much of computer science. Their coverage is not comprehensive, and they have some awkward gaps pre-2000, but it is one of my favourite sources.

Edit, five years later: DBLP is still a mainstay of my bibliography needs, and now covers 3 million papers, including nearly all papers in the bit of theoretical computer science I am interested in, as well as much of discrete mathematics. It now also includes citations for ECCC and arXiv papers (although these really should not be of type article with the repository as the journal).

  • DBLP is pretty decent quality, unlike, say, Google Scholar. – Charles Stewart Jul 27 '10 at 8:55

I use http://www.citeulike.org/ Briliant cite with loads of references and it is a bit of "social" referencing. You can create, import, export collections as bibtex and manage all of them online. It is pre-populated with loads of sources (I personally care only about IEEE which they pre-import via links.)

With this website the reference entry are by far the largest I saw including multiple web-view & purches links, full abstracts and customisable keys. Stopped writting bibtex files by-hand long time ago.

  • Unfortunately, not any more as they are closing down the site. – Hagbard Mar 20 '19 at 18:06

Another possibility is doi2bib.org which generates BibTeX citations from digital object identifiers (DOI), available for most (recent) publications.

  • This solution is really nice and should appear in the accepted answer. – Clément Jan 21 '15 at 17:17
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    The idea is good. It's a pity this solution is tightly bound up with the website the authors run. The basic functionality is something that a simple script could handle, but it has been wrapped inside a website complete with Google Analytics scripts. – András Salamon Jan 23 '15 at 10:55
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    The simple script is actually a one-liner: curl -LH "Accept: text/bibliography; style=bibtex" http://dx.doi.org/[DOI code] ( academia.stackexchange.com/a/21956/4474 ) – T. Verron May 19 '16 at 14:41

If, through some peculiar combination of circumstances, you find yourself citing a Wikipedia article, the "cite this page" item under the "toolbox" in the left-hand sidebar provides BibTeX information. For example, to cite what is now the current version of the Isaac Newton article, one clicks "cite this page" and receives

 @misc{ wiki:xxx,
   author = "Wikipedia",
   title = "Isaac Newton --- Wikipedia{,} The Free Encyclopedia",
   year = "2010",
   url = "\url{http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Isaac_Newton&oldid=374986805}",
   note = "[Online; accessed 26-July-2010]"

The URL in this block includes a reference to the specific version number, so even if the article is changed later, the version being referenced can be retrieved.


I use BibSonomy to find and share Bibtex records. You may not find everything there, but with more and more users this should improve in time.


http://www.bibtexsearch.com/ offers a simple search interface to millions of BibTeX records.


A few people have already mentioned MathSciNet (and noted that it is subscription only). The same BibTeX data are freely available from the AMS via MRef.


Many scientific journals have readily available bibtex references available on their websites.

Here is a random one I found on ACM for instance: http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1291536&jmp=cit&coll=ACM&dl=ACM&CFID=96100051&CFTOKEN=92185154#

  • These should be the first source to look at, in case of published papers. – João Bravo Jan 25 at 17:19

The Spires database of high energy particle and astrophysics papers can display its results in Bibtex format.

They also have some tools to help update bibliography lists.


For computer science the Collection of Computer Science Bibliographies is very useful.


Slightly orthogonal to the actual question, but hopefully useful to anyone interested in the answers to it, there are libraries that convert from one format to another and these can often be more useful than finding a website that exports them in exactly the right format.

For example, for PHP then bibliophile has a library for converting to and from BibTeX. This is used by programs such as refbase for exporting references in BibTeX format.

Indeed, rather than a piecemeal approach, I would recommend using a reference program which can import and export to several formats (including BibTeX). Some have been mentioned in the answers above already.


Unfortunately, the largest source of medical, biological and bioinformatical papers, PubMed, doesn’t offer a BibTeX export (yet?).

As a workaround, there is the service TeXMed that transforms the numeric PubMed identifiers to BibTeX citations. It’s not very usable but still it’s better than nothing.

  • JabRef allow PubMed searchs that are imported directly to BibTeX format. – Fran Sep 18 '12 at 12:17

Recently I found a website which gives bibtex by isbn numbers.



Since it hasn't been mentioned yet: Nelson Beebe maintains an extensive database of references for mathematics and computer science.


Use this site:


to transform any pubmed paper into bibtex and other formats such as: ADS, EndNote, ISI used by the Web of Knowledge, RIS, MEDLINE, Microsoft's Word 2007 XML.


In my experience Jabref doesn't handle certain characters well, and there's always quite a bit of manual fixing involved when someone uses it to translate some other format to bib format. Endnote comes to mind.

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    Just in "Database proterties" change the encoding to UTF-8 (or the appropiate in your case). – Fran Sep 18 '12 at 12:15

For the past few months I have been using bibtex-search which is a great little node.js program written or maintained by ekmartin that you use in the CLI/terminal. All that you need to do is open up the terminal and enter bibtex-search -source google followed by the title of work being sought and the last name of the author. It will return the bibtex source and copy this to your clipboard for you! so that all you need to do is paste it into your bib file. I use jabref with Docear so I do not necessarily paste the clipboard contents into my bib file; but I could if I wanted to.


Assuming that you already have node.js installed...

$ npm install --global bibtex-search


$ bibtex-search <query>

  --source, -s Where to find papers from (default: acm) - valid options: [acm, ieee, google]

  $ bibtex-search bayou
  $ bibtex-search --source google zaharia spark

Qiqqa.com helps you quickly and semiautomatically associate bibtex with your PDFs. You can then export a .bib file of all your references for use with latex/bibtex.

  • Why the downvote? This seems useful to me? – yori Dec 17 '14 at 16:27
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    I'm not sure that this helps find citation data: can you elaborate? – Joseph Wright Dec 17 '14 at 21:18
  • Seems to be Windows only. Even the web version turns out to be just a companion for the Windows thing. – cfr Jul 20 '15 at 15:07

If you know what you want to reference (term, equation, theory, software), the first place where you should look is Citebay

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