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bibclean - prettyprint and syntax check BibTeX and Scribe bibliography data base files


bibclean [ -author ] [ -error-log filename ] [ -help ] [ -? ] [ -init-file filename ]
[ -long-field fieldname ] [ -max-width nnn ] [ -[no-]align-equals ]
[ -[no-]check-values ] [ -[no-]delete-empty-values ] [ -[no-]file-position ]
[ -[no-]fix-font-changes ] [ -[no-]fix-initials ] [ -[no-]fix-names ]
[ -[no-]German-style ] [ -[no-]keep-linebreaks ] [ -[no-]keep-parbreaks ]
[ -[no-]keep-preamble-spaces ] [ -[no-]keep-spaces ] [ -[no-]keep-string-spaces ]
[ -[no-]parbreaks ] [ -[no-]prettyprint ] [ -[no-]print-patterns ]
[ -[no-]read-init-files ] [ -[no-]remove-OPT-prefixes ] [ -[no-]scribe ]
[ -[no-]trace-file-opening ] [ -[no-]warnings ] [ -version ]
( <infile | bibfile1 bibfile2 bibfile3 ... ) >outfile

All options can be abbreviated to a unique leading prefix.

An explicit file name of ``-'' represents standard input; it is assumed if no input files
are specified.


bibclean prettyprints input BibTeX files to stdout, and checks the brace balance and
bibliography entry syntax as well. It can be used to detect problems in BibTeX files that
sometimes confuse even BibTeX itself, and importantly, can be used to normalize the
appearance of collections of BibTeX files.

Here is a summary of the formatting actions:

· BibTeX items are formatted into a consistent structure with one field = "value" pair
per line, and the initial @ and trailing right brace in column 1.

· Tabs are expanded into blank strings; their use is discouraged because they inhibit
portability, and can suffer corruption in electronic mail.

· Long string values are split at a blank and continued onto the next line with leading

· A single blank line separates adjacent bibliography entries.

· Text outside BibTeX entries is passed through verbatim.

· Outer parentheses around entries are converted to braces.

· Personal names in author and editor field values are normalized to the form ``P. D. Q.
Bach'', from ``P.D.Q. Bach'' and ``Bach, P.D.Q.''.

· Hyphen sequences in page numbers are converted to en-dashes.

· Month values are converted to standard BibTeX string abbreviations.

· In titles, sequences of upper-case characters at brace level zero are braced to protect
them from being converted to lower-case letters by some bibliography styles.

· CODEN, ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and ISSN (International Standard
Serial Number) entry values are examined to verify the checksums of each listed number,
and correct ISBN hyphenation is automatically supplied.

The standardized format of the output of bibclean facilitates the later application of
simple filters, such as bibcheck(1), bibdup(1), bibextract(1), bibindex(1), bibjoin(1),
biblabel(1), biblook(1), biborder(1), bibsort(1), citefind(1), and citetags(1), to process
the text, and also is the one expected by the GNU Emacs BibTeX support functions.


Command-line switches may be abbreviated to a unique leading prefix, and letter case is
not significant. All options are parsed before any input bibliography files are read, no
matter what their order on the command line. Options that correspond to a yes/no setting
of a flag have a form with a prefix "no-" to set the flag to no. For such options, the
last setting determines the flag value used. This is significant when options are also
specified in initialization files (see the INITIALIZATION FILES manual section).

The leading hyphen that distinguishes an option from a filename may be doubled, for
compatibility with GNU and POSIX conventions. Thus, -author and --author are equivalent.

To avoid confusion with options, if a filename begins with a hyphen, it must be disguised
by a leading absolute or relative directory path, e.g., /tmp/-foo.bib or ./-foo.bib.

-author Display an author credit on the standard error unit, stderr, and then exit with
a success return code. Sometimes an executable program is separated from its
documentation and source code; this option provides a way to recover from that.

-error-log filename
Redirect stderr to the indicated file, which will then contain all of the error
and warning messages. This option is provided for those systems that have
difficulty redirecting stderr.

-help or -?
Display a help message on stderr, giving a usage description, similar to this
section of the manual pages, and then exit with a success return code.

-init-file filename
Provide an explicit value pattern initialization file. It will be processed
after any system-wide and job-wide initialization files, and may override them.
It in turn may be overridden by a subsequent file-specific initialization file.
For further details, see the INITIALIZATION FILES manual section.

-long-field fieldname
Suppress warnings that field named fieldname have lenghts exceeding the standard
BibTeX limits. NB! This is a Debian-specific extension!

-max-width nnn
bibclean normally limits output line widths to 72 characters, and in the
interests of consistency, that value should not be changed. Occasionally,
special-purpose applications may require different maximum line widths, so this
option provides that capability. The number following the option name can be
specified in decimal, octal (starting with 0), or hexadecimal (starting with
0x). A zero or negative value is interpreted to mean unlimited, so -max-width 0
can be used to ensure that each field/value pair appears on a single line.

When -no-prettyprint requests bibclean to act as a lexical analyzer, the default
line width is unlimited, unless overridden by this option.

When bibclean is prettyprinting, line wrapping will be done only at a space.
Consequently, a long non-blank character sequence may result in the output
exceeding the requested line width.

When bibclean is lexing, line wrapping is done by inserting a backslash-newline
pair when the specified maximum is reached, so no line length will ever exceed
the maximum.

With the positive form, align the equals sign in key/value assignments at the
same column, separated by a single space from the value string. Otherwise, the
equals sign follows the key, separated by a single space. Default: no.

With the positive form, apply heuristic pattern matching to field values in
order to detect possible errors (e.g., ``year = "192"'' instead of ``year =
"1992"''), and issue warnings when unexpected patterns are found.

This checking is usually beneficial, but if it produces too many bogus warnings
for a particular bibliography file, you can disable it with the negative form of
this option. Default: yes.

With the positive form, remove all field/value pairs for which the value is an
empty string. This is helpful in cleaning up bibliographies generated from text
editor templates. Compare this option with -[no-]remove-OPT-prefixes described
below. Default: no.

With the positive form, give detailed file position information in warning and
error messages. Default: no.

With the positive form, supply an additional brace level around font changes in
titles to protect against downcasing by some BibTeX styles. Font changes that
already have more than one level of braces are not modified.

For example, if a title contains the Latin phrase {\em Dictyostelium Discoideum}
or {\em {D}ictyostelium {D}iscoideum}, then downcasing will incorrectly convert
the phrase to lower-case letters. Most BibTeX users are surprised that bracing
the initial letters does not prevent the downcase action. The correct coding is
{{\em Dictyostelium Discoideum}}. However, there are also legitimate cases
where an extra level of bracing wrongly protects from downcasing. Consequently,
bibclean will normally not supply an extra level of braces, but if you have a
bibliography where the extra braces are routinely missing, you can use this
option to supply them.

If you think that you need this option, it is strongly recommended that you
apply bibclean to your bibliography file with and without -fix-font-changes,
then compare the two output files to ensure that extra braces are not being
supplied in titles where they should not be present. You will have to decide
which of the two output files is the better choice, then repair the incorrect
title bracing by hand.

Since font changes in titles are uncommon, except for cases of the type which
this option is designed to correct, it should do more good than harm. Default:

With the positive form, insert a space after a period following author initials.
Default: yes.

With the positive form, reorder author and editor name lists to remove commas at
brace level zero, placing first names or initials before last names. Default:

With the positive form, interpret quote characters ["] inside braced value
strings at brace level 1 according to the conventions of the TeX style file
german.sty, which overloads quote to simplify input and representation of German
umlaut accents, sharp-s (es-zet), ligature separators, invisible hyphens,
raised/lowered quotes, French guillemets, and discretionary hyphens. Recognized
character combinations will be braced to prevent BibTeX from interpreting the
quote as a string delimiter.

Quoted strings receive no special handling from this option, and since German
nouns in titles must anyway be protected from the downcasing operation of most
BibTeX bibliography styles, German value strings that use the overloaded quote
character can always be entered in the form "{...}", without the need to specify
this option at all.

Default: no.

Normally, line breaks inside value strings are collapsed into a single space, so
that long value strings can later be broken to provide lines of reasonable

With the positive form, linebreaks are preserved in value strings. If -max-
width is set to zero, this preserves the original line breaks. Spacing outside
value strings remains under bibclean's control, and is not affected by this

Default: no.

With the positive form, preserve paragraph breaks (either formfeeds, or lines
containing only spaces) in value strings. Normally, paragraph breaks are
collapsed into a single space. Spacing outside value strings remains under
bibclean's control, and is not affected by this option. Default: no.

With the positive form, preserve all whitespace in @Preamble{...} entries.
Default: no.

With the positive form, preserve all spaces in value strings. Normally,
multiple spaces are collapsed into a single space. This option can be used
together with -keep-linebreaks, -keep-parbreaks, and -max-width 0 to preserve
the form of value strings while still providing syntax and value checking.
Spacing outside value strings remains under bibclean's control, and is not
affected by this option. Default: no.

With the positive form, preserve all whitespace in @String{...} entries.
Default: no.

With the negative form, a paragraph break (either a formfeed, or a line
containing only spaces) is not permitted in value strings, or between
field/value pairs. This may be useful to quickly trap runaway strings arising
from mismatched delimiters. Default: yes.

Normally, bibclean functions as a prettyprinter. However, with the negative
form of this option, it acts as a lexical analyzer instead, producing a stream
of lexical tokens. See the LEXICAL ANALYSIS manual section for further details.
Default: yes.

With the positive form, print the value patterns read from initialization files
as they are added to internal tables. Use this option to check newly-added
patterns, or to see what patterns are being used.

These patterns are the ones that will be used in checking value strings for
valid syntax, and all of them are specified in initialization files, rather than
hard-coded into the program. For further details, see the INITIALIZATION FILES
manual section. Default: no.

With the negative form, suppress loading of system-, user-, and file-specific
initialization files. Initializations will come only from those files
explicitly given by -init-file filename options. Default: yes.

With the positive form, remove the ``OPT'' prefix from each field name where the
corresponding value is not an empty string. The prefix ``OPT'' must be entirely
in upper-case to be recognized.

This option is for bibliographies generated with the help of the GNU Emacs
BibTeX editing support, which generates templates with optional fields
identified by the ``OPT'' prefix. Although the function M-x bibtex-remove-OPT
normally bound to the keystrokes C-c C-o does the job, users often forget, with
the result that BibTeX does not recognize the field name, and ignores the value
string. Compare this option with -[no-]delete-empty-values described above.
Default: no.

With the positive form, accept input syntax conforming to the Scribe document
system. The output will be converted to conform to BibTeX syntax. See the
SCRIBE BIBLIOGRAPHY FORMAT manual section for further details. Default: no.

With the positive form, record in the error log file the names of all files
which bibclean attempts to open. Use this option to identify where
initialization files are located. Default: no.

With the positive form, allow all warning messages. The negative form is not
recommended since it may mask problems that should be repaired. Default: yes.

-version Display the program version number on stderr, and then exit with a success
return code. This will also include an indication of who compiled the program,
the host name on which it was compiled, the time of compilation, and the type of
string-value matching code selected, when that information is available to the


When bibclean detects an error, it issues an error message to both stderr and stdout.
That way, the user is clearly notified, and the output bibliography also contains the
message at the point of error.

Error messages begin with a distinctive pair of queries, ??, beginning in column 1,
followed by the input file name and line number. If the -file-position option was
specified, they also contain the input and output positions of the current file, entry,
and value. Each position includes the file byte number, the line number, and the column
number. In the event of a runaway string argument, the entry and value positions should
precisely pinpoint the erroneous bibliography entry, and the file positions will indicate
where it was detected, which may be rather later in the files.

Warning messages identify possible problems, and are therefore sent only to stderr, and
not to stdout, so they never appear in the output file. They are identified by a
distinctive pair of percents, %%, beginning in column 1, and as with error messages, may
be followed by file position messages if the -file-position option was specified.

For convenience, the first line of each error and warning message sent to stderr is
formatted according to the expectations of the GNU Emacs next-error command. You can
invoke bibclean with the Emacs M-x compile<RET>bibclean filename.bib >filename.new
command, then use the next-error command, normally bound to C-x ` (that's a grave, or
back, accent), to move to the location of the error in the input file.

If error messages are ignored, and left in the output bibliography file, they will
precipitate an error when the bibliography is next processed with BibTeX.

After issuing an error message, bibclean then resynchronizes its input by copying it
verbatim to stdout until a new bibliography entry is recognized on a line in which the
first non-blank character is an at-sign (@). This ensures that nothing is lost from the
input file(s), allowing corrections to be made in either the input or the output files.
However, if bibclean detects an internal error in its data structures, it will terminate
abruptly without further input or output processing; this kind of error should never
happen, and if it does, it should be reported immediately to the author of the program.
Errors in initialization files, and running out of dynamic memory, will also immediately
terminate bibclean.


bibclean can be compiled with one of three different types of pattern matching; the choice
is made by the installer at compile time:

· The original version uses explicit hand-coded tests of value-string syntax.

· The second version uses regular-expression pattern-matching host library
routines together with regular-expression patterns that come entirely from
initialization files.

· The third version uses special patterns that come entirely from initialization

This Debianized version of bibclean uses the third version. However, command-line options
can also be specified in initialization files, no matter which pattern matching choice was

When bibclean starts, it searches for initialization files, using the first one of
$(HOME)/.bibcleanrc, /usr/share/bibcleanrc, and /etc/bibcleanrc that exists. Afterwards,
it reads the first .bibcleanrc found in the BIBINPUTS search path. The name .bibcleanrc
can be changed at run time through a setting of the environment variable BIBCLEANINI. If
the name starts with a dot, it will be stripped when looking in /usr/share and /etc.

Then, when command-line arguments are processed, any additional files specified by -init-
filefilename options are also processed. Finally, immediately before each named
bibliography file is processed, an attempt is made to process an initialization file with
the same name, but with the extension changed to .ini. The default extension can be
changed by a setting of the environment variable BIBCLEANEXT. This scheme permits system-
wide, user-wide, session-wide, and file-specific initialization files to be supported.

When input is taken from stdin, there is no file-specific initialization.

For precise control, the -no-read-init-files option suppresses all initialization files
except those explicitly named by -init-filefilename options, either on the command line,
or in requested initialization files.

Recursive execution of initialization files with nested -init-file options is permitted;
if the recursion is circular, bibclean will finally get a non-fatal initialization file
open failure after opening too many files. This terminates further initialization file
processing. As the recursion unwinds, the files are all closed, then execution proceeds

An initialization file may contain empty lines, comments from percent to end of line (just
like TeX), option switches, and field/pattern or field/pattern/message assignments.
Leading and trailing spaces are ignored. This is best illustrated by a short example:

% This is a small bibclean initialization file

-init-file /u/math/bib/.bibcleanrc %% departmental patterns

chapter = "\"D\"" %% 23

pages = "\"D--D\"" %% 23--27

volume = "\"D \\an\\d D\"" %% 11 and 12

year = \
"\"dddd, dddd, dddd\"" \
"Multiple years specified." %% 1989, 1990, 1991

-no-fix-names %% do not modify author/editor lists

Long logical lines can be split into multiple physical lines by breaking at a backslash-
newline pair; the backslash-newline pair is discarded. This processing happens while
characters are being read, before any further interpretation of the input stream.

Each logical line must contain a complete option (and its value, if any), or a complete
field/pattern pair, or a field/pattern/message triple.

Comments are stripped during the parsing of the field, pattern, and message values. The
comment start symbol is not recognized inside quoted strings, so it can be freely used in
such strings.

Comments on logical lines that were input as multiple physical lines via the backslash-
newline convention must appear on the last physical line; otherwise, the remaining
physical lines will become part of the comment.

Pattern strings must be enclosed in quotation marks; within such strings, a backslash
starts an escape mechanism that is commonly used in UNIX software. The recognized escape
sequences are:

\a alarm bell (octal 007)

\b backspace (octal 010)

\f formfeed (octal 014)

\n newline (octal 012)

\r carriage return (octal 015)

\t horizontal tab (octal 011)

\v vertical tab (octal 013)

\ooo character number octal ooo (e.g \012 is linefeed). Up to 3 octal digits may
be used.

\0xhh character number hexadecimal hh (e.g., \0x0a is linefeed). xhh may be in
either letter case. Any number of hexadecimal digits may be used.

Backslash followed by any other character produces just that character. Thus, \% gets a
literal percent into a string (preventing its interpretation as a comment), \" produces a
quotation mark, and \\ produces a single backslash.

An ASCII NUL (\0) in a string will terminate it; this is a feature of the C programming
language in which bibclean is implemented.

Field/pattern pairs can be separated by arbitrary space, and optionally, either an equals
sign or colon functioning as an assignment operator. Thus, the following are equivalent:

pages "\"D--D\""
pages = "\"D--D\""
pages : "\"D--D\""
pages "\"D--D\""

Each field name can have an arbitrary number of patterns associated with it; however, they
must be specified in separate field/pattern assignments.

An empty pattern string causes previously-loaded patterns for that field name to be
forgotten. This feature permits an initialization file to completely discard patterns
from earlier initialization files.

Patterns for value strings are represented in a tiny special-purpose language that is both
convenient and suitable for bibliography value-string syntax checking. While not as
powerful as the language of regular-expression patterns, its parsing can be portably
implemented in less than 3% of the code in a widely-used regular-expression parser (the
GNU regexp package).

The patterns are represented by the following special characters:

<space> one or more spaces

a exactly one letter

A one or more letters

d exactly one digit

D one or more digits

r exactly one Roman numeral

R one or more Roman numerals (i.e. a Roman number)

w exactly one word (one or more letters and digits)

W one or more space-separated words, beginning and ending with a word

. one `special' character, one of the characters <space>!#()*+,-./:;?[]~, a
subset of punctuation characters that are typically used in string values

: one or more `special' characters

X one or more `special'-separated words, beginning and ending with a word

\x exactly one x (x is any character), possibly with an escape sequence
interpretation given earlier

x exactly the character x (x is anything but one of these pattern
characters: aAdDrRwW.:<space>\)

The X pattern character is very powerful, but generally inadvisable, since it will match
almost anything likely to be found in a BibTeX value string. The reason for providing
pattern matching on the value strings is to uncover possible errors, not mask them.

There is no provision for specifying ranges or repetitions of characters, but this can
usually be done with separate patterns. It is a good idea to accompany the pattern with a
comment showing the kind of thing it is expected to match. Here is a portion of an
initialization file giving a few of the patterns used to match number value strings:

number = "\"D\"" %% 23
number = "\"A AD\"" %% PN LPS5001
number = "\"A D(D)\"" %% RJ 34(49)
number = "\"A D\"" %% XNSS 288811
number = "\"A D\\.D\"" %% Version 3.20
number = "\"A-A-D-D\"" %% UMIAC-TR-89-11
number = "\"A-A-D\"" %% CS-TR-2189
number = "\"A-A-D\\.D\"" %% CS-TR-21.7

For a bibliography that contains only article entries, this list should probably be
reduced to just the first pattern, so that anything other than a digit string fails the
pattern-match test. This is easily done by keeping bibliography-specific patterns in a
corresponding file with extension .ini, since that file is read automatically.

You should be sure to use empty pattern strings in this pattern file to discard patterns
from earlier initialization files.

The value strings passed to the pattern matcher contain surrounding quotes, so the
patterns should also. However, you could use a pattern specification like "\"D" to match
an initial digit string followed by anything else; the omission of the final quotation
mark \" in the pattern allows the match to succeed without checking that the next
character in the value string is a quotation mark.

Because the value strings are intended to be processed by TeX, the pattern matching
ignores braces, and TeX control sequences, together with any space following those control
sequences. Spaces around braces are preserved. This convention allows the pattern
fragment A-AD-D to match the value string TN-K\slash 27-70, because the value is
implicitly collapsed to TN-K27-70 during the matching operation.

bibclean's normal action when a string value fails to match any of the corresponding
patterns is to issue a warning message something like this: "Unexpected value in ``year =
"192"''. In most cases, that is sufficient to alert the user to a problem. In some
cases, however, it may be desirable to associate a different message with a particular
pattern. This can be done by supplying a message string following the pattern string.
Format items %% (single percent), %e (entry name), %f (field name), %k (citation key), and
%v (string value) are available to get current values expanded in the messages. Here is
an example:

chapter = "\"D:D\"" "Colon found in ``%f = %v''" %% 23:2

To be consistent with other messages output by bibclean, the message string should not end
with punctuation.

If you wish to make the message an error, rather than just a warning, begin it with a
query (?), like this:

chapter = "\"D:D\"" "?Colon found in ``%f = %v''" %% 23:2

The query will not be included in the output message.

Escape sequences are supported in message strings, just as they are in pattern strings.
You can use this to advantage for fancy things, such as terminal display mode control. If
you rewrite the previous example as

chapter = "\"D:D\"" \
"?\033[7mColon found in ``%f = %v''\033[0m" %% 23:2

the error message will appear in inverse video on display screens that support ANSI
terminal control sequences. Such practice is not normally recommended, since it may have
undesirable effects on some output devices. Nevertheless, you may find it useful for
restricted applications.

For some types of bibliography fields, bibclean contains special-purpose code to
supplement or replace the pattern matching:

· CODEN, ISBN and ISSN field values are handled this way because their validation
requires evaluation of checksums that cannot be expressed by simple patterns; no
patterns are even used in these three cases.

· chapter, number, pages, and volume values are checked only by pattern matching.

· month values are first checked against the standard BibTeX month abbreviations,
and only if no match is found are patterns then used.

· year values are first checked against patterns, then if no match is found, the
year numbers are found and converted to integer values for testing against
reasonable bounds.

Values for other fields are checked only against patterns. You can provide patterns for
any field you like, even ones bibclean does not already know about. New ones are simply
added to an internal table that is searched for each string to be validated.

The special field, key, represents the bibliographic citation key. It can be given
patterns, like any other field. Here is an initialization file pattern assignment that
will match an author name, a colon, an alphabetic string, and a two-digit year:

key = "A:Add" %% Knuth:TB86

Notice that no quotation marks are included in the pattern, because the citation keys are
not quoted. You can use such patterns to help enforce uniform naming conventions for
citation keys, which is increasingly important as your bibliography data base grows.


When -no-prettyprint is specified, bibclean acts as a lexical analyzer instead of a
prettyprinter, producing output in lines of the form


Each output line contains a single complete token, identified by a small integer number
for use by a computer program, a token type name for human readers, and a string value in

Special characters in the token value string are represented with ANSI/ISO Standard C
escape sequences, so all characters other than NUL are representable, and multi-line
values can be represented in a single line.

Here are the token numbers and token type names that can appear in the output when
-prettyprint is specified:

2 AT
10 KEY

Programs that parse such output should also be prepared for lines beginning with the
warning prefix, %%, or the error prefix, ??, and for ANSI/ISO Standard C line number
directives of the form
# line 273 "texbook1.bib"
which record the line number and file name of the current input file.

If a -max-width nnn command-line option was specified, long output lines will be wrapped
at a backslash-newline pair, and consequently, software that processes the lexical token
stream should be prepared to collapse such wrapped lines back into single lines.

As an example of the use of -no-prettyprint, the UNIX command pipeline
bibclean -no-prettyprint mylib.bib | \
awk '$2 == "KEY" {print $3}' | \
sed -e 's/"//g' | \
will extract a sorted list of all citation keys in the file mylib.bib.

A certain amount of processing will have been done on the tokens. In particular,
delimiters equivalent to braces will have been replaced by braces, and braced strings will
have become quoted strings.

The LITERAL token type is used for arbitrary text that bibclean does not examine further,
such as the contents of a @Preamble{...} or a @Comment{...}.

The UNKNOWN token type should never appear in the output stream. It is used internally to
initialize token type variables.


bibclean's support for the Scribe bibliography format is based on the syntax description
in the Scribe Introductory User's Manual, 3rd Edition, May 1980. Scribe was originally
developed by Brian Reid at Carnegie-Mellon University, and is now marketed by Unilogic,

The BibTeX bibliography format was strongly influenced by Scribe, and indeed, with care,
it is possible to share bibliography files between the two systems. Nevertheless, there
are some differences, so here is a summary of features of the Scribe bibliography file

(1) Letter case is not significant in field names and entry names, but case is preserved
in value strings.

(2) In field/value pairs, the field and value may be separated by one of three
characters: =, /, or space. Space may optionally surround these separators.

(3) Value delimiters are any of these seven pairs: { } [ ] ( ) < > ' ' " " `

(4) Value delimiters may not be nested, even though with the first four delimiter pairs,
nested balanced delimiters would be unambiguous.

(5) Delimiters can be omitted around values that contain only letters, digits, sharp
(#), ampersand (&), period (.), and percent (%).

(6) Outside of delimited values, a literal at-sign (@) is represented by doubled at-
signs (@@).

(7) Bibliography entries begin with @name, as for BibTeX, but any of the seven Scribe
value delimiter pairs may be used to surround the values in field/value pairs. As
in (4), nested delimiters are forbidden.

(8) Arbitrary space may separate entry names from the following delimiters.

(9) @Comment is a special command whose delimited value is discarded. As in (4), nested
delimiters are forbidden.

(10) The special form


permits encapsulating arbitrary text containing any characters or delimiters, other
than ``@End{comment}''. Any of the seven delimiter pairs may be used around the
word ``comment'' following the ``@Begin'' or ``@End''; the delimiters in the two
cases need not be the same, and consequently, ``@Begin{comment}''/``@End{comment}''
pairs may not be nested.

(11) The key field is required in each bibliography entry.

(12) A backslashed quote in a string will be assumed to be a TeX accent, and braced
appropriately. While such accents do not conform to Scribe syntax, Scribe-format
bibliographies have been found that appear to be intended for TeX processing.

Because of this loose syntax, bibclean's normal error detection heuristics are less
effective, and consequently, Scribe mode input is not the default; it must be explicitly


BIBCLEANEXT File extension of bibliography-specific initialization files. Default: .ini.

BIBCLEANINI Name of bibclean initialization files. Default: .bibcleanrc.

BIBINPUTS Search path for bibclean and BibTeX input files. This is a colon-separated
list of directories that are searched in order from first to last. It is not
an error for a specified directory to not exist.

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