Wolfram offers very helpful web resources for mathematical terminology.

Every article has a short note at the end, e.g. in Tree it says:


Weisstein, Eric W. "Tree." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource. http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Tree.html

What is the correct way to produce a BibTex entry with this information? Where to put "From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource"? How to clarify that the date refers to the date of retrieval?

I suggest something like:

    author = {Weisstein, E. W.},
    title = {Tree}

2 Answers 2


You mention that you use BibTeX and the plainnat bibliography style. Unfortunately, this bibliography style does not recognize an @electronic entry type. However, the @misc entry type is sufficiently general to meet your needs. Try the following form of the entry, which assumes that you're also loading the url LaTeX package:

    author   = {Weisstein, Eric W.},
    title    = {Tree. {From MathWorld---A Wolfram Web Resource}},
    url      = {\url{http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Tree.html}},
    note     = {Last visited on 13/4/2012},

The curly braces around "From ... Resource" are there to keep BibTeX/plainnat from converting any uppercase letters inside the group into lowercase. Encasing the URL in an explicit \url{...} macro serves to let LaTeX find, if needed, convenient line break points. (By default, long URL strings will not be broken up across lines, potentially leading to seriously overfull or underfull lines.)

(Shameless self-promotion alert!) For more information on this subject, see also the answers to the questions Customizing Bibliography alpha and urldate in BibTeX gets ignored.

  • Thanks! I didn't know that the format I can use in the BibTex file depends on the bibliography style. I thought I could later easily change bibliography style without changing the BibTex entries.
    – lumbric
    Commented Apr 13, 2012 at 17:15
  • 1
    @lumbric -- indeed, it's the information that's contained in the bibliography style file that determines how BibTeX will process the entries to output the references. The older the bst file's vintage, the less likely it is that it will "know" how to process entries such as @electronic or fields such as urldate. If you're free to use the style file IEEEtran.bst, you may want to give it a try; it's of a fairly recent vintage and is set to process entries such as @electronic.
    – Mico
    Commented Apr 13, 2012 at 19:30

Checking the biblatex documentation, I found the online reference that seems to serve your purpose:

    author   = {Weisstein, Eric W.},
    title    = {Tree},
    subtitle = {From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource},
    note     = {Visited on 13/04/12},
    url      = {http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Tree.html}

The result is:

E.W. Weisstein. Tree. From MathWorld–A Wolfram Web Resource. Visited on 13/04/12. URL: http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Tree.html

  • Thanks for your help! I'm using BibTex not biblatex, I don't know if this makes a difference. However, the note and subtitle is not used at all with \bibliographystyle{plainnat}. Maybe I should choose a different style.
    – lumbric
    Commented Apr 13, 2012 at 9:05

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