# Correct way to specify discretionary hyphens in bib files with biblatex/biber

Today I unexpectedly received the dreaded character not set up for use with LaTeX from inputenc. In this case, I was also pretty sure the error came from a .bib file. However, I grepped everything in the working directory as well as all .bib files and, just in case, all of my custom .cls and .sty files as well. The only place I could find the character was in generated files. That is, it did not appear to be in the source at all:

\$ grep ‑ * ~/texmf/bibtex/bib/*.bib ~/texmf/tex/latex/cfr/* ~/texmf/tex/latex/config/*


executed from my working directory gave the following (plus a couple of innocuous complaints about non-file like things):

filename.bbl:        {Oxford University Press/Clar‑endon}%
filename.log:! Package inputenc Error: Unicode char \u8:‑ not set up for use with LaTeX.


That is, although the character is not in any of my source files, it is in the file biber generates.

I can reproduce the error using the following file:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage[backend=biber]{biblatex}
\usepackage{filecontents}
\begin{filecontents}{\jobname.bib}
@book{mybook,
title       =   {Great Book},
author      =   {Author, Some},
year        =   1055,
publisher   =   {Oxford University Press/Clar\-endon},
\end{filecontents}

\bibliography{\jobname}

\begin{document}

\autocite{mybook}

\printbibliography

\end{document}


Obviously, there are a couple of options I can use to work around this. I could remove \- from the .bib file in question. Or I could declare the relevant unicode character which biber is inserting. Or I could define the discretionary hyphenation somewhere outside the .bib file, I guess.

However, this worked fine until recently. I've used \- in Clar\-endon for a long time and it has never caused any trouble before. So I assume something has changed in the way biblatex/biber responds to the entry in the file. (Perhaps I should add that it is not that the hyphenation is being invoked. There is no need to break the line in this case, as it happens.)

Which raises the question: what is the correct way to specify discretionary hyphenation in .bib files so that they work correctly with inputenc and pdflatex in UTF8 encoding without special workarounds?

Note that I do know about XeLaTeX and LuaLaTeX, but I'm specifically interested in getting this to work with pdfLaTeX.

• Curiously, \- is mapped to U+2011 NON-BREAKING HYPHEN, which I'd consider a bug. However, I'd use Press\slashb Clarendon, where \slashb is defined to do \slash\hspace{0pt} (if you'd like to break at the slash) or /\nobreak\hspace{0pt} (if a break at / is not desired). You should also add \hyphenation{Clar-en-don} if you use the US hyphenation patterns that give just Claren-don; with British hyphenation patterns, you get Clar-en-don. Jul 31 '14 at 21:49
• @egreg Thanks. So probably I can just remove \- in this case if it should pick up the hyphenation patterns anyway. However, I guess my question remains since there certainly might be cases where it would be useful to specify a hyphenation point in a .bib file. I've had trouble with other escape sequences in .bib files since switching to biblatex/biber. Generally, I fix the errors by replacing the character with the unicode equivalent but I'm not sure that I should need to do this. (I know this is very counter-intuitive but something is odd about biber's replacements.)
– cfr
Jul 31 '14 at 21:56
• Press/Clarendon wouldn't be hyphenated, because of the slash, that's why I proposed \slashb. Jul 31 '14 at 21:58
• I can't test now. But it sounds like a bug, so I suggest a bug report. Besides this: the replacements can be configured, see the biber documentation. Jul 31 '14 at 22:01
• @egreg Yes, I realised that. I didn't think about the effect of the slash. I've just changed my definition of / as a bib file string to \slash\hspace{0pt}. However, I have other cases where I use \- in my .bib files where this doesn't apply. That is, I've changed everything I can find using / in pub.bib which is my list of publishers. But I still have things like Harper\-San\-Francisco so I would still like to know how to specify hyphenation points correctly.
– cfr
Jul 31 '14 at 22:08