attach a specific .bib to a paper in zotero

Hi folks, mathscinet gives quality .bib files for mathematical papers. I have several papers in my database for which the exported .bib from zotero (based on the information I have in the database) doesn't match what I would get if I use the .bib file from mathscinet directly. Here is an example of such a .bib from mathcinet:

@incollection {MR3643545,
AUTHOR = {Bihlo, Alexander and Haynes, Ronald D.},
TITLE = {A stochastic domain decomposition method for time dependent
mesh generation},
BOOKTITLE = {Domain decomposition methods in science and engineering
SERIES = {Lect. Notes Comput. Sci. Eng.},
VOLUME = {104},
PAGES = {107--115},
PUBLISHER = {Springer, Cham},
YEAR = {2016},
MRCLASS = {65M50},
MRNUMBER = {3643545},

Can I attach this .bib file to my zotero paper so that the automatic export of my library in .bib format will reproduce this?

  • When I import/export the above with BBT, I get
    author = {Bihlo, Alexander and Haynes, Ronald D.},
    booktitle = {Domain Decomposition Methods in Science and Engineering {{XXII}}},
    date = {2016},
    mrclass = {65M50},
    mrnumber = {3643545},
    pages = {107-115},
    publisher = {{Springer, Cham}},
    series = {Lect. {{Notes Comput}}. {{Sci}}. {{Eng}}.},
    title = {A Stochastic Domain Decomposition Method for Time Dependent Mesh Generation},
    volume = {104}
    Which is close, and in some ways, I would argue, better:

    • BBT puts titles in TitleCase -- which is how bibtex/biblatex expects them to be. You can suppress this in BBT but you really shouldn't.
    • BBT uses double braces ({{...}}) instead of single braces ({...}) -- the reasons for that are technical details of bibtex generation, but semantically, for this reference, they mean/do the same
    • BBT applies brace protection to things like Notes Comput -- you want this; you may not have experienced problems with this yet, but that's a peculiarity of the bibtex style that you use, not because the above reference would work everywhere (I think IEEE recapitalizes unless you put stuff in this way).
    • Single-dash for the pages field -- see discussion here. If you have arguments for or against, if you join that discussion, we can change the BBT behavior to what is deemed appropriate
    • Publisher is not a name-type field but a literal-list field. This is one where your original reference might actually be better. Zotero doesn't have a way to do lists for publishers, so BBT exports a literal list with a single item Springer, Cham. If you meant that to be two items Springer and Cham, there's ways to do this but it won't round-trip in a simple way. If you actually meant Springer, Cham as a single entity, then BBT actually does it right and the above reference is technically wrong, but many styles will adjust for it and generate the same in the bibliography.
    If your question is "can Zotero round-trip all bibtex without changes", the answer is "no".
  • Thanks. Since I have some of the bibliographic information in the database already. Is it possible to "add" the .bib file from mathscinet to the paper?
  • I'm not entirely sure what that sentence means. "Add" the bib file in what sense? What are you using to write the paper?
  • Or do you mean "import into Zotero and use in a Word document"? In that case, you would just select that text above, copy it to the clipboard, choose "Import from clipboard" in Zotero, and use it as you would normally in Word.
  • Sorry - I wasn't clear. I export a master .bib file from my whole library periodically. When I reference a particular paper I often then notice that the bibliographic information is either incomplete or wrong. For example, I noticed that I was missing the "Series" information for the reference above. Since I can get usually complete .bib entries from mathscinet it would be nice to drag and drop the mathscinet .bib file "onto" a paper in my library and have zotero overwrite the bibliographic information it has with the new information that I am providing. This would be quicker than manually comparing the information currently in zotero with the new information, figuring out what is missing and then manually adding or changing the information inside of zotero.
  • No, that's not possible, because Zotero doesn't remember the source items, so it has no concept of "this is the same reference, just newer" for imports. What you can do is import it and then use the existing item-merge facility in Zotero. That will usually bring such items together so they can be easily merged.
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