I'm editing a LaTeX document with a 100+ entry bibliography. Unfortunately, the bibliography is coded with bibitems in a thebibliography environment.

I'm wondering if there is a 'smooth' upgrade path to BibTeX such as a free-text entry. I did some googling, but didn't find something useful.

This would allow to already benefit from features such as automatic sorting of the entries. Of course features that rely on the database -- such as changing the format of the entries -- couldn't be used at that point. But still, such a free-style entry would already help a lot at the current stage.

Addition after posting: My final goal is to have a BibTex database that uses the standard database entries. But for the transition, I'm wonding if I could avoid generating the full-blown BibTeX database in the beginning. I'm definitely planning to do that, but only in the future.

  • Hi, i think i don't understand what your goal is. Do you want to get a BibTeX database in the end? Can you elaborate on that? – Johannes_B Jun 18 '15 at 17:16
  • 1
    I think you want to reverse what bibtex does, converting a bbl file to a bib file. This question looks VERY similary: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/203177 – bers Jun 18 '15 at 17:17
  • Hi as of now, I only want to benefit from the sorting without having to break down the current thebibliography entries into Author etc. – Christoph Jun 18 '15 at 17:50

Like the below? I presume you have no objection to using biblatex? The filecontents part is just to generate a bibliography database on the fly. In practice you would put it in a file of its own.

\documentclass [12pt]{article}

    sorting=none] % List citation in order they appear


  note = {Smith, P \& Benn, J 2012, This is a freeform reference, Panamanian Journal of Toenail Clippings},

  note = {This is just a note but could be a reference if you like and bits could be \textbf{bold for} example},



Beware the Jabberwock my son\cite{note:bassnote}, the jaws that bite\cite{note:bassnote,note:alien}. 



enter image description here

  • Yes, this does exact what I was looking for. – Christoph Jun 18 '15 at 19:10

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