I'm battling with this for couple of hours now...

My supervisor asked me to generate the bibliography in a certain style, for articles I need to do:

Author 1; Author 2, Journal name, volume, page, (year)

Where the volume, page and year are number (page is only the starting page of the article)

For chapters I need:

Author 1; Autoher 2, In Book name, page editors: Editor 1; Editor2; (publisher, city, year).

Again, year is a number and page is the staring page

Finally, books follow the same logic

Editor 1; Editor 2, Book name, (publisher, city, year).

I tried to do this through makebst but it insist on using page range. I tried to search for a bst files online but all I found was list without examples. Where can I find a list with examples or a generator for bst files?

I also considered switching to biblatex but couldn't find any clear notion wither or not biblatex provides control over citation style.

3 Answers 3


Here's a solution using biblatex. Note that \mkfirstpage uses \mkpageprefix as a post-processor instead of these commands simply being nested; see section 4.6.4 of the biblatex manual for details.





  author = {Blinder, Alan S.},
  year = {1974},
  title = {The economics of brushing teeth},
  journaltitle = {Journal of Political Economy},
  volume = {82},
  number = {4},
  pages = {887--891},






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  • Thanks. I have to say though that I don't understand anything about your solution. Where can I find a by-example documentation of this? I compare this to the excellent documentation of tikz
    – Yotam
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 17:43
  • @Yotam: have a look at tex.stackexchange.com/questions/5091/…
    – lockstep
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 17:46
  • 1
    ֻCiting @hadley: >The manual is unfortunately of the common latex style: beautifully typeset, and incredibly detailed, but of no use to get you up and running quickly
    – Yotam
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 17:49
  • For those wondering, "[{\mkpageprefix[bookpagination]}]" is not required to get this to work. What this does is put "p." to the front of the page number in the references. If you do not want the "p." then your can simply use "\DeclareFieldFormat{pages}{\mkfirstpage{#1}}"
    – Shep Bryan
    Commented Jan 10, 2022 at 19:07

Inter alia, you stated:

I tried to do this through makebst but it insist on using page range.

This is strange: When I invoke the makebst program (latex makebst from the command line) and follow the prompts, I eventually get to the question

(*) Start and stop page numbers given
(f) Only start page number

Note that you have to type f to invoke the non-default option. This question comes right after the question YEAR IN JOURNAL SPECIFICATION and right before the LARGE PAGE NUMBER question.

If you can't rerun the makebst program to create a bst file to your (or, rather, your adviser's) liking, you could also edit your existing bst file, as follows:

  1. Insert the following bibtex function between the bibtex functions format.pages and format.journal.pages (Where exactly these functions are located within the bst file can vary):

    FUNCTION {first.page}
    { 't :=
        {  t empty$ not t #1 #1 substring$ "-" = not and }
        { t #1 #1 substring$ *
          t #2 global.max$ substring$ 't :=
  2. In the existing function format.journal.pages, replace the line




This should do the trick too, I believe. Happy (Bib)TeXing!


If memory serves, the page range is a single entry in a bib file. Take the entry below for example.

    author = {Chuang, Isaac and Nielsen, Michael A.},
    day = {1},
    doi = {10.1080/09500349708231894},
    issn = {0950-0340},
    journal = {Journal of Modern Optics},
    month = nov,
    number = {11},
    pages = {2455--2467},
    publisher = {Taylor \& Francis},
    title = {Prescription for experimental determination of the dynamics of a quantum black box},
    url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500349708231894},
    volume = {44},
    year = {1997}

Unfortunately the easy way to achieve what you want is to process your bib file entry by entry to remove the double dash and second page. Or you can do this fairly easily using sed. I use the below in one of my bash scripts, and it may serve your needs provided you have a well formatted bibtex library.

sed -e 's/pages = {\(.*\)-.*--.*-.*},/pages = {\1},/' <input_bibtex_file.bib >output.bib

It's been a while since I wrote that though. Otherwise sticking with makebst is a good idea. I used it for my thesis and hand edited the style file to add DOI links in.

ADDITION: Looking through a bst file I once constructed, this may do what you want. It grabs just the first page. No guarantees though, and other symbols like "+" may remain.

FUNCTION {first.page}
{ 't :=
    {  t empty$ not t #1 #1 substring$ "-" = not and }
    { t #1 #1 substring$ *
      t #2 global.max$ substring$ 't :=

FUNCTION {format.journal.pages}
{ pages duplicate$ empty$ 'pop$
    { swap$ duplicate$ empty$
        { pop$ pop$ format.pages }
          " " *
          "pages" bibinfo.check
  • What bother me is that latex tries to fill the missing end pages so it place a + sign whenever one is missing. I only want the starting page.
    – Yotam
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 16:06
  • This plus symbol, is that in the bibtex file itself? I found that citeulike (if you use that) did this whenever only the first page was given to it...
    – qubyte
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 16:11
  • If it's not, and you need a really quick, one time fix, you can go through the .bbl file generated when you run bibtex and manually delete the plus symbols. That's a rubbish solution though.
    – qubyte
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 16:18
  • S Everitt: you are, of course, right. The + sign is originated from the .bib document. The question remains though. Is there any sane way to control the bibliography style or learn biblatex?
    – Yotam
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 16:25
  • Honestly, I'm not sure. It's been a couple of years since I looked at a .bst file. You can remove those plus symbols by adding the following to your sed command: -e 's/pages = {\(.*\)+},/pages = {\1},/'
    – qubyte
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 16:27

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