I am writing my PhD dissertation in LaTeX and want to include a bibliography, obviously. However, I'm having problems making this work at all. Instead of trying to make it work in my multiple dissertation LaTeX files, I made a minimum working example of it, but not even that works! Can anybody please help me with telling me what I'm doing wrong? I want an author year citation style, by the way. No numbers, just citations of author year in the text and a reference list sorted alphabetically at the end.

This is my minimum working example, example.tex:


This is a test \cite{bakerstair}.


Here's the content of my library.bib file:

  author = {Baker, Doran J. and Stair, A. T.},
  title = {Rocket measurements of the altitude distributions of the hydroxyl airglow},
  journal = {Physica Scripta},
  year = {1988},
  volume = {37},
  pages = {611-622},

Error messages I get after running PdfLaTeX + Bib(la)tex + PdfLaTeX(x2) + View Pdf in TeXMaker:

example.tex. Warning. line 9. Citation 'bakerstair' on page 1 undefined.
example.tex. Warning. line 11. Empty bibliography.
example.tex. Warning. line 1. There were undefined references.
example.tex. Warning. line 1. Please (re)run Biber on the file: example and rerun LaTeX afterwards.

I have no idea what I'm doing wrong and it's driving me crazy.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Mensch, Przemysław Scherwentke, percusse, Jesse, Mike Renfro May 24 '16 at 3:40

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    Welcome to TeX.SX! Your editor probably doesn't run Biber for you, but BibTeX. Please check Biblatex with Biber: Configuring my editor to avoid undefined citations for detailed instructions on how to make your editor run Biber. – moewe Mar 17 '16 at 12:49
  • Thanks for the comment! You are rigth, TeXMaker didn't run Biber. I have now followed the instructions in the link, but I still get an error: "ERROR - Cannot find control file 'example.bcf'! - did you pass the "backend=biber" option to BibLaTeX? INFO -ERRORS:1.! How do I pass the backend=biber option to BibLaTeX? – SiljeH Mar 17 '16 at 14:48
  • In your MWE you already have backend=biber, so that should be OK. Do you maybe have the "use a 'build' subdirectory" option enabled? Can you find any temporary files in the directory (.aux, .bcf, .log, ...) – moewe Mar 17 '16 at 15:06
  • Yes, I had the "build subdirectory" option enabled. Now I've disabled it, but I got new error messages in addtion to the ones I've already seen before: ! Use of \sortlist doesn't match its definition. \sortlist{ ! Extra }, or forgotten \endgroup. \sortlist{anyt} ! Undefined control sequence.\entry ...ata@\the \c@refsection @\blx@slist@name@\abx@field@entrykey }\csu... \entry{bakerstair}{article}{} ! Undefined control sequence.<argument> ...equal \expandafter {\blx@slist@type}{entry} {\listcsxadd {blx... \endentry etc... – SiljeH Mar 17 '16 at 15:22
  • 1
    Delete the temporary files and make sure that the Biber and biblatex versions match. (Check the biblatex or Biber doc for a table of compatible versions.) – moewe Mar 17 '16 at 15:28

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