Preparation of the Bibliography

This document gives important formatting and content-checking guidelines.

How to format the bibliography of your final version

Full search is optimized when fields such as author, title, journal, or MSC are made explicit. Therefore, please use structural markup, as provided for by either BibTeX or amsrefs,

  @article {MR99k:35067,
      AUTHOR = {Pucci, Patrizia and Serrin, James},
       TITLE = {Uniqueness of ground states for quasilinear elliptic
                equations in the exponential case},
     JOURNAL = {Indiana Univ. Math. J.},
    FJOURNAL = {Indiana University Mathematics Journal},
      VOLUME = {47},
        YEAR = {1998},
      NUMBER = {2},
       PAGES = {529–539},
        ISSN = {0022-2518},
       CODEN = {IUMJAB},
     MRCLASS = {35J65 (34B15)},

and not presentation markup, as in

  Pucci, Patrizia; Serrin, James. \textit{Uniqueness of ground
  states for quasilinear elliptic equations in the exponential
  case}. Indiana Univ. Math. J.  \textbf{47} (1998), no. 2, 529–539.
  1. Here is a sample bibliography using BibTeX. One thorough (and updated) online resource for BibTeX is BibTeXing. (If you use BibTeX, be sure to send us the source file, whose name ends on the suffix "bib" — e.g., "myfile.bib".)
  2. If you check your bibliography using "Mr. Lookup" (more on this later), you have a choice as to how to format the output — either MR citation or BibTeX. Choose BibTeX, which gives you valid source, as shown in our first example.

An alternative to BibTeX is amsrefs, which is an extension package for LaTeX. The bibliography file should use


as a wrapper. Here is a sample entry using amsrefs:

  \begin{bibdiv}[Optional title]
  {Optional introductory text}
      author={Bouchitt{\'e}, Guy},
      author={Fonseca, Irene},
      author={Mascarenhas, Luisa},
      title={A global method for relaxation},
      journal={Arch. Rational Mech. Anal.},
      pages={51\ndash 98},
      review={MR 99j:49020},

If you check your bibliography using MRef (more on this later), you may select amsrefs for the output, which will give you valid source — then, if need be, highlight the results and paste them on your bibliography.

Marking up certain fields: The author and journal fields

Some fields merit special attention because they often contain errors.

In the author field, always cite the lastname — surname, or family name — first. Here is an example using only one author:

  (in BibTeX)
     author = "Lamport, Leslie",
  (in amsrefs)
     author = {Lamport, Leslie},

In BibTeX use the word and to separate any two consecutive authors. In amsrefs give each author a separate line. Here is an example using multiple authors:

  (in BibTeX)
     author = "Dyson, F.W. and Eddington, A.S. and Davidson, C.R.",
  (in amsrefs)
     author = {Dyson, F.W.},
     author = {Eddington, A.S.},
     author = {Davidson, C.R.},

Journals have standard short names. For example, the Transactions of the American Mathematical Society may be referred to as Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. — but not as Trans. of the AMS. The standard short names for mathematics journals can be found in Abbreviations of names of journals.

Online tools to ensure completeness and accuracy in your bibliography

The American Mathematical Society maintains an online tool, "MR. Lookup", which helps authors complete and verify their bibliographies by looking up potential matches in the MathSciNet database.

Another online tool, also from the American Mathematical Society, is MRef. You type in the textbox a bibliographic entry in text form, and MRef outputs valid source in various formats: amsrefs, TeX, BibTeX...

Finally, an excellent authoring tool is bibweb, a utility for automatically retrieving bibliographical information from the American Mathematical Society's MathSciNet. Bibweb works very well in the Unix (Linux) platform, which normally includes a perl installation (perl is required). When you check your bibliography using bibweb, the output is automatically generated in BibTeX. Bibweb is a command-line tool.

How to include permanent links to online documents

Typically, authors may link a bibliographic entry to a URL, such as "http://x.y.z/file.pdf". This section describes how to find existing links and even how to re-write them, so that these links will point to the desired document in spite of it having been moved to a different URL.

Finding existing links

Here we discuss how to find links to a Mathematical Reviews item or to a paper published by the Indiana University Mathematics Journal. The Mathematical Reviews identifier, if it exists, is always supplied by "MR. Lookup" or by "MRef" or by "bibweb". Labelled "MRNUMBER", it resolves into a specific URL. These two optional fields — MRNUMBER and URL — may be included in the bibliography as follows:

  (in BibTeX)
      MRNUMBER = {2001k:30059},
      url = {http://www.ams.org/mathscinet-getitem?mr=2001k:30059},
  (in amsrefs)
      MRNUMBER = {2001k:30059},
      url = {http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/cogaff/},

Linking to an IUMJ paper is very easy. The Journal uses an eight-digit identifier, composed of a four-digit year followed by a four-digit article id:

Thus, for example, "20042515" corresponds to article Id # 2515, which was published in 2004. This link is non-unique, so the user will see a menu of the set of possible articles:

Should you link to the abstract or to the full-text version, usually a PDF? It is best to link to the abstract, because abstracts are freely available to subscribers and non-subscribers alike.

where oai stands for "Open Archives Initiative".