BibTeX Plugin: Feature Discussion

I announced lately that I'm gonna work this week on implementing a markdown-it content script that automatically renders the full list of references used in the note at the bottom of the note viewer. Something like this:


  • Statistical mechanics describes how macroscopic observations are related to microscopic parameters that fluctuate around an average (Smith 2015)

The problem with this approach is that it is very inflexible and leaves little or no customization to the users. For example, what if I want to divide the section into several categories (books, websites, etc...)? What if I want to include some bibliography or resources I read when doing research but I didn't explicitly cite them? What if I wanted to include an additional section after the references (like an acknowledgment section or any other thing)?

Therefore, I thought maybe I can make this more customizable by having the user select in which format (short or long) he wants to include the references. This will be done in the citation popup.

What do you think of this? Am I missing something?


I am trying to use this plugin, but it gives an error:
"Error parsing bibtex file. The format is not supported or unrecognized." The file was created with JabRef (Windows) and I use it everywhere with no issues.

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Could you please provide the name of the file (including the extension) you are using and also its contents?

the file is attached.

I tried to put it as D:\joplin.bib

joplin.bib (2.95 KB)

BibTex has the concept of citation styles, which is immensely important for the scientific community. Every journal wants the references supplied in another format (longer/shorter, with/without titles, only first author / all authors, etc.). The bibliography section is derived from your .bib file (your references wiht full information) and a .bst file (the citation style). If you want to do something BibTex-related, I'd advise to (eventually) follow this concept.


Hi @xUser5000 ,

Check out the open source [Citation Style Language]( project. That should help you deal with formatting the references.

Typically, the workflow goes something like this,

  1. you select your references
  2. insert the bibliography (this includes articles, books, or any other resources that you may have cited)
  3. the bibliography is automatically formatted based on the chosen citation style and inserted at the end of the document (similar to how adding a footnote in markdown works).

You can either allow the user to select the citation style Joplin wide under Plugin preferences or individually for each note with a citation popup that you mentioned above. I would prefer the former since it keeps everything uniform.

As for the use cases for customization that you mentioned, I don't see myself facing any of those. Am just happy to have all citations neatly formatted at the end of the note :slight_smile:

Hope this helps.

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This CSL spec is quite impressive for something that's only about styling. How do people create their CSL in general? Are there any tool to do so, or maybe some pre-made CSL that's widely used?

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I think it just evolved from various journals deciding how they printed their bibliographic information. Today there are various widely used styles like Nature, IEEE etc. Journals typically ask people to submit articles with references formatted to their preferred styles.

If people want to use joplin to write submission ready documents, then it would be immensely useful to be able to pick the styles in which the references are formatted. I don't know how difficult this would be to implement.

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So you can typically choose styles as shown below,

Zotero, Mendeley uses javascript implementation of citeproc for example.