Trying to debug (after update to sphinx 1.8.5 from 1.7) documentation biulding produced by sphinx, we see in generated LaTeX files calls to \cite with an argument involving a path to a file, like \cite{../foo/bar:baz}, where baz is the actual citation label.

What should this mean? I have never seen such references in my 25+ years working with LaTeX. Indeed, we have thebibliography in the file ../foo/bar.tex, but is it supposed to work? Or this is a bug in the sphinx LaTeX support?

1 Answer 1


To latex ., : and / are just normal catcode 12 non letter characters so


is a perfectly good call to \cite with no more significance than


presumably the tex generator is using the filename as some kind of device to generate unique citation keys, but latex doesn't need to know that.


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