Bibdesk Preview_biber_biblatex Chicago

I have recently been working to establish an entirely new workflow for my academic life–a workflow that uses free, open-source software instead of pricey, closed solutions. Part of this has been shifting away from proprietary bibliography management solutions (such as EndNote) toward applications like BibDesk. I use the Chicago Manual of Style in my work, and, since I have moved all of my word processing to LaTeX, I implement the style with biblatex-chicago and biber. But BibDesk doesn’t use these settings by default in its preview pane and it’s necessary to do a little fiddling to get things to work. It can be a little frustrating if you are approaching it for the first time, and so I thought I’d share how I got things to work.

In the BibDesk preferences, I had to change just a few of the settings.

  1. Generate previews using TeX should already be checked, and you should already have TeX installed.

  2. It’s necessary to change the path from using bibtex to use biber. The path I used was /usr/texbin/biber instead of /usr/texbin/bibtex. If you don’t know the path of biber, you can run which biber from the command line and it will tell you.

  3. You can change the BibTeX style to biblatex-chicago for your own purposes, but it won’t make any difference in the setup of the template for now.

  4. The most work involves changing the previewtemplate.tex file. (Just click edit next to TeX template.)

FROM:

\documentclass[letterpaper]{article}

\pagestyle{empty}
\textwidth = 6.5in
\voffset = -105pt
\hoffset = -120pt
\renewcommand{\refname}{}

% The following command is provided for LaTeX2RTF compatibility with amslatex.
\newif\iflatextortf
\iflatextortf
\providecommand{\bysame}{\_\_\_\_\_}
\fi

\begin{document}
\nocite{<<CiteKeys>>}   
\bibliography{<<File>>}   
\bibliographystyle{<<Style>>}  
\end{document}

TO:

\documentclass[letterpaper]{article}

\pagestyle{empty}
\textwidth = 6.5in
\voffset = -105pt
\hoffset = -120pt
\renewcommand{\refname}{}

\usepackage[notes,backend=biber]{biblatex-chicago}

\addbibresource{<<File>>.bib} % you have to add ``.bib'' here because,
                              % for some reason, it won't find the
                              % file without it

% The following command is provided for LaTeX2RTF compatibility with amslatex.
\newif\iflatextortf
\iflatextortf
\providecommand{\bysame}{\_\_\_\_\_}
\fi

\begin{document}

\nocite{<<CiteKeys>>}
\printbibliography[heading=none] % I don't want a heading on my previews

\end{document}

What’s changed?

  • I added \usepackage[notes,backend=biber]{biblatex-chicago}. If you’ve got a set of options you like, you can include them here.
  • I added \addbibresource{<<File>>.bib}. \addbibresource{<<File>>.bib} must be before \begin{document}, and I had to add .bib after <<File>>to ensure that biber finds the file.
  • I replaced \bibliography{<<File>>} with \printbibliography[heading=none]. This outputs the bibliography without a header.
  • I removed \bibliographystyle{<<Style>>} entirely, but my guess is that you could put <<Style>> somewhere into the biblatex-chicago options to switch between notes and author-date.

That got it working for me, but, as always, you might have to make a few changes on your end to get things running just as you like them. I purposefully haven’t added any other packages yet (such as MinionPro or babel) because I wanted to keep things simple to set it up.

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Clark R. Donley
PhD Candidate in Philosophy