I've been reading a very interesting PhD thesis, and I would thus like to reference it in my work.

Unfortunately this bibtex segment didn't work with \cite{}, instead giving [?]:

    title = {The Power of Two Choices in Randomized Load Balancing},
    url = {http://www.eecs.harvard.edu/~michaelm/postscripts/mythesis.pdf},
    school = {Harvard},
    author = {Michael David Mitzenmacher},
    year = {1991}

What am I doing wrong?

  • Without a MWE it's impossible to help.
    – egreg
    Jul 11, 2012 at 12:06
  • 3
    after adding \cite did you run, in order latex bibtex latex latex to re-generate the bibliography? Jul 11, 2012 at 12:11
  • The entry you posted seems correct. I tested it with a small document and I could cite the entry correctly. So the problem is related to the document, bibliographystyle or other details.
    – Alexander
    Jul 11, 2012 at 12:11
  • related: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/49185/…
    – matth
    Jul 11, 2012 at 13:46
  • related: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/49185/…
    – matth
    Jul 11, 2012 at 13:46

2 Answers 2


I coded a small test-case to present the commentators with. http://stirkbin.com/a13956

Strangely enough, that test-case worked fine.

So I manually merged all my text into that test-case (which was in another folder)[1], and manually added in my bibtex references (manual = drag+drop from Zotero).

... and it worked.

So I'm not sure why this happened, but the problem is now solved. Feel free to comment if you have ideas on how to prevent this from happening in the future. Thanks.

[1]: Note that before writing questions on tex.stackexchange I always try a clean recompiled after after removing all aux, bbl, blg, log, pdf, bib files.

  1. You must have a bibliography style in order to generate a bibliography:

    \bibliographystyle{}  %%sample --> abbrv.bst, abbrvnat.bst etc..
    \bibliography{}       %%sample --> <filename>.bib
  2. Your Citation ID and reference label must be the same:

    \cite{michael_power_1991} - reference citation
    \bibitem{michael_power_1991} - reference label

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