First up, I'm using natbib.

I'm trying implement a citation style (Thankfully only a few citations, so I'm happy to work things by hand) that is essentially of the following form:

  • At the point of citation one has a superscript number, referring to a footnote (well, \sidenote, actually)

  • The footnote1 contains version 1 of the citation, for example

1Fname LName, Title (Publisher info) pageno.

  • The citation also appears in the bibliography, in version 2:

LName, FName Title Publisher Info

I was thinking of using a command


where \modifiedcite generated an entry in the bibliography from a .bib file, but placed nothing in the text at that point.

Ideally, one would actually generate the footnote from the information contained in the .bib file together with a page number, but this is far beyond me.

Edit: I'm not married to natbib, but I had a look at the biblatex so-called manual, and my goodness, I think I'd have to learn a new language to use it.

Here are some clarifying points:

This is for my wife's honours project (in music). LaTeX is completely alien to her, so I'm just taking her Wrod document and typesetting it properly. I don't want to learn a whole new package for a <15 page article. I'm not going to use this sort of system ever again.

The thesis uses something the university's citation guidelines call MLA, but having had a look at the online MLA citation style guidelines (including TeX-based solutions), I find it hard to recognise as such. For instance, it asks for basically a complete bibliographic record for a source for the first time it is cited (in an endnote, but I'm using a wide-margin format and using \sidenote, no matter the complaints), with a page number reference. After that, each citation of the same work gets an 'Author-surname, page-no.' end/sidenote. Then there is a bibliography, which is more than just the works cited, and each entry is in a subtly different style to before (as outlined above).

To make things easier, I'll remove all prescriptions, and ask: what is the best way to do this, keeping in mind the payoff between reproducibility/good practice/time and effort.

  • 1
    I'm not really an expert on bibliographies in LaTeX, but have you seen biblatex?
    – mbork
    Aug 14, 2011 at 2:24
  • 2
    I didn't get the question. What do you mean exactly when you say you're "trying implement a citation style" but you "work things by hand"? Are you actually writing your own .bst file or are you just modifying your .tex document? If the latter case is true, then I'm not quite sure whether your goal can be achieved. I think you do need an own .bst style that reads the information from the .bib database, formats them, and provides your command \modifiedcite.
    – aulste
    Aug 15, 2011 at 13:17
  • Another approach might be to include and format your \bibitems manually into your .tex document, without using the .bib file.
    – aulste
    Aug 15, 2011 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


A recent question mentioned a revision of tufte-latex that allows one to use biblatex instead of natbib.

It sounds like biblatex's built-in style verbose meets most of your requirements, but every citation after the first are printed with titles. I've made a small edit to the citation style to avoid this. To disambiguate citations to multiple works by the same author(s)/editor(s), you can use the shorttitle field as I've done below. biblatex can (likely) be configured to perform disambiguation with title/shorttitle automatically, but since this is a one-off there isn't much point in pursuing such a feature.



\renewbibmacro*{cite:short}{% based on cite:short from verbose.cbx

  author = {Bertram, Aaron and Wentworth, Richard},
  title = {Gromov invariants for holomorphic maps on Riemann surfaces},
  journaltitle = {J.~Amer. Math. Soc.},
  volume = {9},
  number = {2},
  date = {1996},
  pages = {529--571}}
  author = {Goossens, Michel and Mittelbach, Frank and Samarin, Alexander},
  title = {The LaTeX Companion},
  edition = {1},
  publisher = {Addison-Wesley},
  location = {Reading, Mass.},
  date = {1994}}
  author = {Aristotle},
  editor = {Lucas, D. W.},
  title = {Poetics},
  shorttitle = {Poetics},
  series = {Clarendon Aristotle},
  publisher = {Clarendon Press},
  location = {Oxford},
  date = {1968}}
  author = {Aristotle},
  editor = {Cope, Edward Meredith},
  commentator = {Cope, Edward Meredith},
  title = {The Rhetoric of Aristotle with a commentary by the late Edward Meredith Cope},
  shorttitle = {Rhetoric},
  volumes = {3},
  publisher = {Cambridge University Press},
  date = {1877}}


\section{First citations}

First citation with pre- and postnotes
\autocite[See, for example][10--15]{companion}.

First citation in a sidenote with only page reference;
pages field is omitted. \autocite[528--530]{bertram}

First multi-citation

\section{Second citations}

Second citation with only prenote
\autocite[See, for example,][]{companion}.

Second citation; labelname is not unique so add a short title
to the .bib file \autocite{poetics}.

Second citation; labelname is not unique so add a short title
to the .bib file \autocite[59--61]{rhetoric}.

Add a vertical offset before printing citation. Note that autocite
moves punctuation for you, but sidenote doesn't
\sidenote[][20pt]{\cite[See][\pno~570, last paragraph]{bertram}}.


enter image description here

  • Thanks! Do I need the patch at code.google.com/p/tufte-latex/issues/detail?id=60 for this to work? Aug 19, 2011 at 4:17
  • @David No, just the revised version (r173) of tufte-common.def. You can back up the original and save the revision in the folder tex\latex\tufte-latex of your tex installation. I already incorporated the relevant "patches" into the sample code above.
    – Audrey
    Aug 19, 2011 at 4:56
  • Thanks for this - it looks like just the thing I needed, but I'm having so much trouble getting it to work (my goodness, I didn't realise I was still using TL2007!), I think I'll have to just work things by hand this time around. Aug 23, 2011 at 1:09

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