I hate citation styles. Why couldn't there be one style to rule them all??

I did find the very helpful Suppress "In:" biblatex . the BibLaTeX default authoryear cite format is indeed very unusual.

Unfortunately, deleting the "in" is not all I need. Our association journal likes:

Wright, Brian D., and Jefrey C. Williams, 1989, A theory of negative prices for storage, Journal of Futures Markets 9-1, 1–13.

and two other journals prefer:

Wright, Brian D., and Jefrey C. Williams, 1989, ``A theory of negative prices for storage,'' Journal of Futures Markets 9-1, 1–13.

My immediate problem is that there is a comma (or a period) at the end of the title, then the closing quotes, then the journal title (sometimes in emph). I think these two are very common styles. Do such styles exist for biblatex/biber somewhere?


PS: I don't know the underlying coding styles into biblatex. the bst files in bibtex were really painful, too. I do know how the high-level enduser program should ideally look like.

# cp biblatex-reference.template .

and then I should be able to edit in this file for the current definition that would be something like

lastau1, firstau1 midau1, and firstau2 midau2 lastau2, year, 
``title,'' \emph{journal}, \textbf{volume}-number, pSTARTPG-pENDPG.

Wright, Brian D., and Jefrey C. Williams, 1989, ``A theory of negative prices for storage,'' Journal of Futures Markets, 9-1, p1–p13.

and allow me to change it, keeping the same keywords, eg.

firstau1 midau1 lastau1 and firstau2 midau2 lastau2 == (year) 
\emph{title}, in journal, volume:number, pSTARTPGf.

which presumably would then generate

Brian D. Wright and Jefrey C. Williams == (1989), A theory of negative prices for storage, in Journal of Futures Markets, 9:1, p1f.

my keywords should probably be in curly paren, and the template should contain examples of everything needed to disambiguate different bibtex entries. some perl interpreter could then compile my revised biblatex-reference.template into the configuration (bst-like) instruction file. alas, this is probably a full summer project for someone...

[the next-best interface would allow me to pick and choose on a website from many, many choices, and then output what I should be using.]

  • 1
    Could you post a full minimal (non-)working example?
    – Bernard
    Dec 4, 2016 at 23:55
  • 2
    Note that Biblatex does not use BST. Its style files use regular LaTeX code so customisation is much more straightforward. You need csquotes and you need autopunct with american as the language - at least for punctuation in the bibliography. Presumably, the journal uses US punctuation generally. This is illogical, but apparently an Amercian tradition.
    – cfr
    Dec 5, 2016 at 4:12
  • 1
    For not emphasizing the journaltitle, use \DeclareFieldFormat[article]{journaltitle}{#1}. For the other things, as Bernard's already said, it's better if you add a mwe, see this link. @cfr Is this better? Did you mean that I should have use \emph instead of \textit? For the other comment, I think that the OP (and me) intended that it is hateful that every journal has its own bibliography style...
    – CarLaTeX
    Dec 5, 2016 at 4:54
  • 2
    Maybe you like nzhagen.github.io/bibulous/index.html The style templates there look really similar to what you seem to want.
    – moewe
    Dec 5, 2016 at 8:26
  • 1
    Look in tex/latex/biblatex. Citation styles are .cbx. Bibliography styles .bbx. But, really, wouldn't it be easier to look at the explanations in the manual first?
    – cfr
    Dec 5, 2016 at 22:54

1 Answer 1


The output you want for @articles should be fairly straightforward to implement with biblatex (and csquotes for the advanced American punctuation). Since you have not provided an MWE or another starting point I will leave it as an exercise to the reader.

Since biblatex is still quite new compared to BibTeX and its styles are easier to tweak (both when it comes to logistics - you can change stuff in the preamble and don't need to copy and modify an external file - and to the language), there are generally fewer published styles for biblatex on CTAN (another factor might be that publishers usually don't accept biblatex). That would explain why there are no pre-baked styles for the two examples you have in mind. But there are many questions and answers here and elsewhere that show how you can modify biblatex styles.

But there is the wider question of a comfortable system to specify the bibliography output.

biblatex uses more LaTeX-y syntax than BibTeX's .bst styles, but it still retains some structural ideas of its workings and is still fundamentally bound to the general data model of BibTeX (with extensions and such, but still...).

Unfortunately, most bibliography styles are not that simple or straightforward. While the overall structure might be easy to grasp, the details can be excruciatingly painful to get right. So to get most things right or to offer the possibilities to get most things right, quite some code and thought went into biblatex. biblatex offers a lot of entry fields that not all people use all the time, yet they have to be supported in all drivers. In the end the standard biblatex styles form a modular system that allows you to make some changes with just few lines that could require multiple changes otherwise. (With biblatex you only need one line to change the title formatting of all entry types. With your scheme one would have to modify each type declaration.)

Once one gets used to the code, its structures and ideas a bit, many things work much more smoothly than at first.

You can have a look at lots of custom biblatex styles on CTAN to see how other people implement the changes they need. Paul Stanley points out in the comments that your second example is very similar to biblatex-chicago with a few easy modifications. (We can, however, only judge this by the @article type you have shown us, any guess has therefore a huge error margin.)

The Bibulous project implements a system of specifying bibliography styles that seems to be superficially similar to what you had in mind https://nzhagen.github.io/bibulous/index.html https://github.com/nzhagen/bibulous (it uses Python).

  • The second of the question's examples seems like Chicago author/date but with commas instead of full points for \newunitpunct. Mar 27, 2017 at 16:57
  • @PaulStanley Yes, could be, thank you. I have updated my answer accordingly. With that little to go on it can only be a guess, but maybe it is correct.
    – moewe
    Mar 28, 2017 at 7:33
  • There is also biblatex-apa package as an author year style. Furthermore you need babel for csquotes to take advantage of the language punctuation Apr 27, 2017 at 11:25

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