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I've been using LaTeX to write any kind of document for some years. Some years ago I also discovered biblatex which is great. In fact, I've never used bibtex seriously and directly jumped upon the biblatex waggon.

At the moment I am preparing my Masters' thesis. I am in the very early reading phase and try to collect and summarise texts for later use. Literature that I find interesting I put in one single .bib file which I manage with JabRef. I am wondering how I can do this more efficiently; so in the following I am explaining how I do it where I see problems and possible improvements.

Once I take a closer look on an article, I create an entry in the .bib file. Literature this article refers to or is related to I add as well. I use the xref field to refer the latter to the former. As you can imagine my database is growing and growing. The.bib file and articles (in .pdf format) are in the same folder. The .pdf files are named like the (primary) key of their entry in the database; hence, ALT-F (in JabRef) connects an entry with its pdf counter-part quite easily. Summaries of the articles I name like the articles but add "-summary" to their name, like Author1987Analysis-summary.pdf is the summary of Author1987Analysis.pdf

Now here comes the tricky part which I don't know how to solve. In the summary, I refer to what I summarise with the help of biblatex. At the end I add the bibliography. Usually it only contains one reference which is -- of course -- the article I summarise. I would like to add another bibliography which includes all the entries of my database that are related to the articles I summarise; hence, I need some piece of code that loops through the database and gives back all those articles which have "Author1987Analysis" in their xref field. How do I do this?

In biblatex' documentation I guess it is the "Authors' Guide" I need to refer to. But I am not sure where to start since I do not know how to loop through all the entries. Maybe I could also \nocite{*} everything and then filter through all the entries but I guess I might run into some performance issues since my database I quite big -- and this is probably not the most convenient way of doing it.

I put the question of this post quite generally since I am not sure whether there might be a better approach. My main aim is to get an overview of the bibliographic database by printing a summary of each entry and those it "xrefers" to. Maybe even the reading bibliography style of biblatex might solve my problem -- though I guess my abstracts can't be that sophisticated as they are right now since I would need to put everything in the abstract field.

I am grateful for any ideas and experiences.

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    My first reaction is that xref isn't really the correct mechanism to be using - it is designed to trigger citing of a parent item when enough of the children are cited. If starting from scratch I would be inclined to create an entryset for the related items to a given article, i.e. if the article is myart then create an entryset myart-rels containing the keys of the related articles. One reason for this is that a given item may be related to and relate to serveral others in different ways, I don't see how xref captures that. – Andrew Swann Feb 3 '15 at 14:46
  • @AndrewSwann, thank you for your reply. I figured out I might have complicated things by trying to implement what I needed on the database level. Since I assign related articles in any event by hand, I can also add a refsection and \nocite{<related-articles>} at the end of each summary I write. There is no filtering needed and I get the "main" references as well as the related once. – niklaas Feb 3 '15 at 22:33

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