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PolyU Library

LaTeX and Overleaf

This guide provides a brief overview on how to use EndNote, JabRef and Overleaf

Why JabRef

JabRef is an open source bibliography reference tool for editing citations in BibTeX format. It offers automatic citation key generation (unique identifier for each reference entry). By default, JabRef uses Author-Year as Citation Key pattern, you may customize your own pattern by adding field markers to indicate specific fields of an entry to be inserted to the citation key. Please refer to JabRef's "Customize the citation key generator" about field markers. A field marker generally consists of a field name enclosed in square braces (e.g. [auth] [year]).

Here are some commonly-used field markers:

Field Markers Description
[auth] The last name of the first author
[authors] The last name of all authors
[shorttitle] The first three words of the title excluding preposition and articles (a, an, the) e.g. The Project Benefits of Building Information Modelling (BIM) becomes ProjectBenefitsBuilding
[year] Publication year e.g. 2023
[shortyear] The last digits of the publication year e.g. 2023 becomes 23

Customizing Citation Key Pattern

On JabRef, go to -> File -> Preferences -> Citation key generator 

  • Enter your preferred field markers into entry types, and make sure you hit "Enter" before clicking "Save"
  • Create New Library, then import your RIS file or BibTeX file into your current library

The new preferences will be displayed in your current file. If you changes the citation key pattern after you imported your file, the changes will not reflect in your existing file, you may need to close and import your file again.

Alternatively, you may use Zotero or Mendeley for creating references and optimizing citation keys in BibTeX format.