# Switching from amsrefs to biblatex

I always used amsrefs as my references package. However, it seems like biblatex is better supported, and more widely used (at least in this community). Compare 37 posts with the tag to 3.6k posts with the tag. The trigger for me to switch was the so-called Oxford comma, which seems to be easy enough to remove using biblatex, and I have no idea how to do it with amsrefs.

However, I like some of the features of amsrefs, and I was wondering whether they can be emulated using biblatex. Examples:

• msc-links allow one adding links to MathSciNet using the MRNUMBER entry in the bib entry.
• With the help of @egreg, I can make book names appear in bold with amsrefs.

Can I somehow emulate these, and more, with biblatex? Can I let biblatex adopt amsrefs's defaults?

Do you agree it's a reasonable decision to switch?

• Look at it this way: amsrefs had a big potential, in my opinion, but it's not developed nor maintained; biblatex has several styles and is actively developed. – egreg Apr 28 '16 at 20:16
• (1) Yes. (2) Yes. (Anything is possible with @egreg's help, but in Biblatex you might not even need it.) (3) Yes. (4) I don't think so. Not if you mean 'can I pass an option to the package like amsstyle and get the defaults?' But if you mean 'can I configure it to use those defaults?' then probably. – cfr Apr 28 '16 at 20:46
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## 1 Answer

Yes, it is possible to link to MathSciNet. This can be done as in Biblatex and Pubmed/Pubmed Central IDs. Either as a manifestation of the eprint feature via

\DeclareFieldFormat{eprint:mrnumber}{%
MR\addcolon\space
\ifhyperref
{\href{http://www.ams.org/mathscinet-getitem?mr=#1}{\nolinkurl{#1}}}
{\nolinkurl{#1}}}


and then

eprint     = {1678525},
eprinttype = {mrnumber},


in the .bib file.

Or as a separate field with a new datamodel. Call it mrnumber.dbx

\DeclareDatamodelFields[type=field,datatype=verbatim]{mrnumber}
\DeclareDatamodelEntryfields{mrnumber}


then load that datamodel with the option datamodel=mrnumber, specify the formatting

\DeclareFieldFormat{mrnumber}{%
MR\addcolon\space
\ifhyperref
{\href{http://www.ams.org/mathscinet-getitem?mr=#1}{\nolinkurl{#1}}}
{\nolinkurl{#1}}}


and print it

\renewbibmacro*{doi+eprint+url}{%
\iftoggle{bbx:doi}
{\printfield{doi}}
{}%
\newunit\newblock
\printfield{mrnumber}%
\newunit\newblock
\iftoggle{bbx:eprint}
{\usebibmacro{eprint}}
{}%
\newunit\newblock
\iftoggle{bbx:url}
{\usebibmacro{url+urldate}}
{}}


You can see this in action in the example at the end.

It is very easily possible to make book titles bold

\DeclareFieldFormat[book]{title}{\mkbibbold{#1}}


I don't know of an option to make the output look like amsrefs with only a few strokes on your keyboard. But I believe that many changes needed to the standard biblatex styles can be facilitated easily. Of course there might be the odd detail that is harder to implement.

If you need features that are only present in biblatex or significantly harder to get to work in amsrefs, a switch seems reasonable. But if you don't miss anything or can work around the deficiencies reasonably easy, you don't need to go through the ordeals of switching.

Example

\documentclass[british]{article}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage{babel}
\usepackage{csquotes}
\usepackage{filecontents}

\begin{filecontents*}{mrnumber.dbx}
\DeclareDatamodelFields[type=field,datatype=verbatim]{mrnumber}
\DeclareDatamodelEntryfields{mrnumber}
\end{filecontents*}

\usepackage[backend=biber, style=numeric, datamodel=mrnumber]{biblatex}
\usepackage{hyperref}

\begin{filecontents*}{\jobname.bib}
@article{grabiner,
author    = {David J. Grabiner},
title     = {Brownian motion in a Weyl chamber, non-colliding particles, and random matrices},
journal   = {Annales de l'Institut Henri Poincare (B) Probability and Statistics},
volume    = {35},
number    = {2},
pages     = {177-204},
year      = {1999},
doi       = {10.1016/S0246-0203(99)80010-7},
mrnumber  = {1678525},
}
\end{filecontents*}

\DeclareFieldFormat{mrnumber}{%
MR\addcolon\space
\ifhyperref
{\href{http://www.ams.org/mathscinet-getitem?mr=#1}{\nolinkurl{#1}}}
{\nolinkurl{#1}}}

\renewbibmacro*{doi+eprint+url}{%
\iftoggle{bbx:doi}
{\printfield{doi}}
{}%
\newunit\newblock
\printfield{mrnumber}%
\newunit\newblock
\iftoggle{bbx:eprint}
{\usebibmacro{eprint}}
{}%
\newunit\newblock
\iftoggle{bbx:url}
{\usebibmacro{url+urldate}}
{}}

\DeclareFieldFormat[book]{title}{\mkbibbold{#1}}

\addbibresource{\jobname.bib}
\addbibresource{biblatex-examples.bib}

\begin{document}
\cite{cicero,grabiner,sigfridsson}

\printbibliography
\end{document}