I will be citing about 15 to 20 few references in a couple of my upcoming project papers, and so I would like to keep a .bib file containing the usual citation information, along with short summaries (say maybe a couple of paragraphs long) of what that reference contains.

Is it possible to do this in Bibtex? I am a newbie to Bibtex, and I know only very basic bibtex enough to cite references. From what I gather so far, one hacky way would be to have a @Comment{} block per-line, but that could get ugly very soon. Besides, I might want to later include these short summaries while citing a particular refernce, and so this solution would not apply.

I just started using kbibtex to start managing my references. Bonus brownie points if someone could also describe a way to describe how to add these short summaries or comments to a .bib file with kbibtex.

  • 1
    You could put them into the abstract field ... Or into a field name you make up (it will be ignored by BibTeX and Biber if it is not known). Not sure if kBibTeX can write arbitrary field names though. – moewe Mar 21 '18 at 18:05

This answer is the straight forward way, but if you have a style that you want to add this functionality to, see below.

It is possible by writing a custom bibliography style (.bst) file or modifying one you already have. You would need to declare a new ENTRY field, such as "annotation", add functions for formatting the annotation and then indicate where the annotation should appear for different kinds of references (article, book, etc.). This sounds like a lot of work, but it isn't terrible if you start from a style file that is close to what you need. See this question for help with the syntax.

You might add something like:

    ...other entries...


FUNCTION {format.annotation}
{ annotate empty$
    { "" }
    { " \begin{quotation}\noindent "
      * " \end{quotation} " *

and then

FUNCTION {article}
    ...rest of function...
    format.annotation write$
  • You may want to add that this method only works for BibTeX's .bst styles. The OP has also tagged their question with biblatex. In that case a different approach would be necessary. – moewe Mar 22 '18 at 8:08

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