38

In most BibTeX entries I found on the internet a page range in the page field is separated by a double hyphen --. Why should I use a double dash and not a single one -?

@misc{blub,
title="blah",
pages="1--99" <---
}

and not

@misc{blub,
title="blah",
pages="1-99" <---
}
38

The correct symbol for a range of numbers is an en-dash, which in LaTeX is usually input as --. Many BibTeX style files (.bst) files will do a search and replace, so that - is replaced by -- in the output (.bbl file). However, you can't be 100% sure that any given style will do this. So by putting -- in the .bib file, you make sure that you get the correct output whatever the style does.

| improve this answer | |
  • One difficulty is that when editing the .bib file, many editors naturally "correct" a double-dash to a single dash or a long dash, which BibTeX does not recognize. It is often difficult to notice when this happens and the result is that many page numbers will be incorrectly written (for example, 1105-1112 can be written 11051112). I sometimes "resolve" this by putting page numbers in the "volume" field. Anyway, the double-dash seems like an unfortunate non-intuitive standard for BibTeX's pages field. – Michael Jul 9 '18 at 20:09

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