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Guide to Writing Your Thesis in LaTeX

The bibliography and list of references.

The Graduate School requires a Bibliography which includes all the literature cited for the complete thesis or dissertation. Quoting from the Graduate School’s Guidelines for the Format of Theses and Dissertations :

“Every thesis in Standard Format must contain a Bibliography which lists all the sources used or consulted in writing the entire thesis and is placed at the very end of the work. The complete citations are arranged alphabetically by last name of the author. Individual citations are not numbered. No abbreviations in titles of published works will be accepted. The full title of a book, journal, website, proceedings, or any other published work must be italicized or underlined. Citations must follow standards set by the style manual that the student is using. The bibliography for URI theses is not broken into categories.”

The List of References is not required by the Graduate School, but is the style commonly used in Engineering, Mathematics, and many of the Sciences. It consists of a numbered list of the sources used or consulted in writing the thesis in the order that they are referenced in the text. There can be either one List of References for the entire thesis, or a List of References at the end of each chapter.

Both the Bibliography and the List of References will be generated by the urithesis LaTeX class. All you need to do is add information about your sources to the references.bib file, which is a database containing all of the necessary information about the references, then cite the reference in your thesis using the \cite{} command.

Generating the Bibliography and References

The bibliography and list of references are generated by running BibTeX. To generate the bibliography, load the file thesisbib.tex into your editor, then run BibTeX on it.

If each chapter has its own list of references, you will need to run BibTeX on each chapter to update its list of references. If there is one list of references for the whole thesis (because you used the oneref option, you will only need to run BibTeX on the top level file thesis.tex .

How to Add a Bibliography Entry

When we want to refer to a source in the thesis, we place an entry for that source in the file references.bib , then cite the source in the thesis with the \cite{LABEL} command. The syntax for an entry in the references.bib file is of the form:

ENTRYTYPE is the type of bibliographic entry such as Book , Article , or TechReport , that this entry describes. At the end of this page is a list of all possible entry types .

LABEL is a unique string that is used to refer to this entry in the body of the thesis when using the \cite{LABEL} command.

The FIELDNAMEn entries are the fields that describe this entry, (ie. author, title, pages, year, etc.). Each entry type has certain required fields and optional fields. See the list of all entry types for a description of the available fields.

As an example, suppose we have a paper from a conference proceedings that we want to cite. First we make an entry in the our references.bib file of the form:

We then cite this source in the text of our thesis with the command \cite{re:toolan:as03} . This will generate a Bibliography entry that looks something like:

and a List of References entry that looks something like:

Types of List of References

The Graduate School requires that the bibliography is always at the end of the thesis and sorted alphabetically by author, therefore there is no options that affect it. The list of references is optional, therefore there are a few different ways that it can created.

By default a separate list of references appears at the end of each chapter, and are sorted by the order that they are cited in that chapter. The option oneref (see options ) will create a single list of references for the whole thesis, which due to the requirements of the Graduate School, will appear after the last chapter and before any appendices.

The option aparefs will cite references using the APA style, which is the last name of the author and year of publication, such as (Toolan, 2006), instead of the default IEEE style, which is a number, such as [1]. This option will also sort the references alphabetically by author, instead of in order of citation. The options oneref and aparefs can be used together to create a single list of references using the APA style.

Supported Bibliography Entry Types

The following is a list of all the entry types that can be used. Click on the desired type to see a detailed description of how to use that type.

  • Article – An article from a journal or magazine
  • Book – A book with an explicit publisher
  • InBook – A part of a book, such as a chapter or selected page(s)
  • InCollection – A part of a book having its own title
  • Booklet – Printed and bound works that are not formally published
  • Manual – Technical documentation
  • InProceedings – An article in a conference proceedings
  • Proceedings – The entire proceedings of a conference
  • MastersThesis – A Master’s thesis
  • PhDThesis – A Ph.D. dissertation
  • TechReport – A report published by a school or other institution
  • Unpublished – A document that has not been formally published
  • Electronic – An internet reference like a web page
  • Patent – A patent or patent application
  • Periodical – A magazine or journal
  • Standard – Formally published standard
  • Misc – For use when nothing else fits

Articles that have not yet been published can be handled as a misc type with a note. Sometimes it is desirable to put extra information into the month field such as the day, or additional months. This is accomplished by using the BIBTEX concatenation operator “#“:

Example .bib using this type:

Books may have authors, editors or both. Example .bib using this type:

Inbook is used to reference a part of a book, such as a chapter or selected page(s). The type field can be used to override the word chapter (for which IEEE uses the abbreviation “ch.”) when the book uses parts, sections, etc., instead of chapters

Incollection is used to reference part of a book having its own title. Like book , incollection supports the series, chapter and pages fields. Also, the type field can be used to override the word chapter.

Booklet is used for printed and bound works that are not formally published. A primary difference between booklet and unpublished is that the former is/was distributed by some means. Booklet is rarely used in bibliographies.

Technical documentation is handled by the manual entry type.

References of papers in conference proceedings are handled by the inproceedings or conference entry type. These two types are functionally identical and can be used interchangeably. Example .bib using this type:

It is rare to need to reference an entire conference proceedings, but, if necessary, the proceedings entry type can be used to do so.

Master’s (or minor) theses can be handled with the mastersthesis entry type. The optional type field can be used to override the words “Master’s thesis” if a different designation is desired:

The phdthesis entry type is used for Ph.D. dissertations (major theses). Like mastersthesis , the type field can be used to override the default designation. Example .bib using this type:

Techreport is used for technical reports. The optional type field can be used to override the default designation “Tech. Rep.” Example .bib using this type:

The unpublished entry type is used for documents that have not been formally published. IEEE typically just uses “unpublished” for the required note field.

The electronic entry type is for internet references. IEEE formats electronic references differently by not using italics or quotes and separating fields with periods rather than commas. Also, the date is enclosed within parentheses and is placed closer to the title. This is probably done to emphasize that electronic references may not remain valid on the rapidly changing internet. Note also the liberal use of the howpublished field to describe the form or category of the entries. The organization and address fields may also be used. Example .bib using this type:

The nationality field provides a means to handle patents from different countries

The nationality should be capitalized. The assignee and address (of the assignee) fields are not used, however, they are provided. The type field provides a way to override the “patent” description with other patent related descriptions such as “patent application” or “patent request”:

The periodical entry type is used for journals and magazines.

The standard entry type is used for formally published standards. Alternatively, the misc entry type, along with its howpublished field, can be used to create references of standards.

Misc is the most flexible type and can be used when none of the other entry types are applicable. The howpublished field can be used to describe what exactly (or in what form) the reference is (or appears as). Possible applications include technical-report-like entries that lack an institution, white papers and data sheets.

Additional Comments

Because we are effectively creating multiple bibliographies, (one for the actual bibliography, and one for each list of references), the two LATEX commands \bibliographystyle{} and \bibliography{} are not used. They have been redefined to do nothing, and the equivalent of these commands are done automatically when necessary.

When there is a reference that should be included in the bibliography, but does not need to be explicitly referenced in the thesis, use the \nocite{} command. This command works like the \cite{} command, except it does not put the citation in the list of references, only in the bibliography. The \nocite{} command must appear after the first \newchapter{} command, or it will be ignored.

When using the option aparefs , and a citation does not have an author, (such as often occurs with a web page), the key field can be used to specify what to use in the citation instead of the author’s name.

About the Bibliography Format

The bibliography format used by the urithesis class is based on the IEEE format. See the article “How to Use the IEEEtran BIBTEX Style” by Michael Shell for more details.

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Overleaf for LaTeX Theses & Dissertations: Home

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Tips and tools for writing your LaTeX thesis or dissertation in Overleaf, including templates, managing references , and getting started guides.

Managing References

BibTeX is a file format used for lists of references for LaTeX documents. Many citation management tools support the ability to export and import lists of references in .bib format. Some reference management tools can generate BibTeX files of your library or folders for use in your LaTeX documents.

LaTeX on Wikibooks has a Bibliography Management page.

Find list of BibTeX styles available on Overleaf here

View a video tutorial on how to include a bibliography using BibTeX  here

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How to get started writing your thesis in LaTeX

Writing a thesis or dissertation in LaTeX can be challenging, but the end result is well worth it - nothing looks as good as a LaTeX-produced pdf, and for large documents it's a lot easier than fighting with formatting and cross-referencing in MS Word. Review this video from Overleaf to help you get started writing your thesis in LaTeX, using a standard thesis template from the Overleaf Gallery .

You can upload your own thesis template to the Overleaf Gallery if your university provides a set of LaTeX template files or you may find your university's thesis template already in the Overleaf Gallery.

This video assumes you've used LaTeX before and are familiar with the standard commands (see our other tutorial videos  if not), and focuses on how to work with a large project split over multiple files.

Add Institutional Library contact info here.

Contact Overleaf   or email [email protected]

5-part Guide on How to Write a Thesis in LaTeX

5-part LaTeX Thesis Writing Guide

Part 1: Basic Structure corresponding  video

Part 2: Page Layout corresponding  video

Part 3: Figures, Subfigures and Tables   corresponding video

Part 4: Bibliographies with Biblatex corresponding video

Part 5: Customizing Your Title Page and Abstract corresponding video

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  • Bibliography management with bibtex
  • 1 Advisory note
  • 2 Introduction
  • 3.1 A note on compilation times
  • 4.1 Some notes on using \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) and .bib files
  • 5.1 Multiple authors in \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\)
  • 5.2 Multiple-word last names
  • 5.3 I tried to use % to comment out some lines or entries in my .bib file, but I got lots of error messages instead?
  • 6.1 Edit the .bib file as plain text
  • 6.2 Help from GUI-based .bib editors
  • 6.3 Export from reference library services
  • 6.4 I’ve already got a reference list in a Microsoft Word/HTML/PDF file; can I somehow reuse the data without re-typing everything?
  • 7.1 Further reading

Advisory note

If you are starting from scratch we recommend using biblatex because that package provides localization in several languages, it’s actively developed and makes bibliography management easier and more flexible.

Introduction

Many tutorials have been written about what \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) is and how to use it . However, based on our experience of providing support to Overleaf’s users, it’s still one of the topics that many newcomers to \(\mathrm{\LaTeX}\) find complicated—especially when things don’t go quite right; for example: citations aren’t appearing; problems with authors’ names; not sorted to a required order; URLs not displayed in the references list, and so forth.

In this article we’ll pull together all the threads relating to citations, references and bibliographies, as well as how Overleaf and related tools can help users manage these.

We’ll start with a quick recap of how \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) and bibliography database ( .bib ) files work and look at some ways to prepare .bib files. This is, of course, running the risk of repeating some of the material contained in many online tutorials, but future articles will expand our coverage to include bibliography styles and biblatex —the alternative package and bibliography processor.

Bibliography: just a list of \bibitems

Let’s first take a quick look “under the hood” to see what a \(\mathrm{\LaTeX}\) reference list is comprised of—please don’t start coding your reference list like this because later in this article we’ll look at other, more convenient, ways to do this.

A reference list really just a thebibliography list of \bibitems :

By default, this thebibliography environment is a numbered list with labels [1] , [2] and so forth. If the document class used is article , \begin{thebibliography} automatically inserts a numberless section heading with \refname (default value: References ). If the document class is book or report, then a numberless chapter heading with \bibname (default value: Bibliography ) is inserted instead. Each \bibitem takes a cite key as its parameter, which you can use with \cite commands, followed by information about the reference entry itself. So if you now write

together with the thebibliography block from before, this is what gets rendered into your PDF when you run a \(\mathrm{\LaTeX}\) processor (i.e. any of latex , pdflatex , xelatex or lualatex ) on your source file:

Citing entries from a thebibliography list

Figure 1: Citing entries from a thebibliography list.

Notice how each \bibitem is automatically numbered, and how \cite then inserts the corresponding numerical label.

\begin{thebibliography} takes a numerical argument: the widest label expected in the list. In this example we only have two entries, so 9 is enough. If you have more than ten entries, though, you may notice that the numerical labels in the list start to get misaligned:

thebibliography with a label that’s too short

Figure 2: thebibliography with a label that’s too short.

We’ll have to make it \begin{thebibliography}{99} instead, so that the longest label is wide enough to accommodate the longer labels, like this:

thebibliography with a longer label width

Figure 3: thebibliography with a longer label width.

If you compile this example code snippet on a local computer you may notice that after the first time you run pdflatex (or another \(\mathrm{\LaTeX}\) processor), the reference list appears in the PDF as expected, but the \cite commands just show up as question marks [?] .

This is because after the first \(\mathrm{\LaTeX}\) run the cite keys from each \bibitem ( texbook , lamport94 ) are written to the .aux file and are not yet available for reading by the \cite commands. Only on the second run of pdflatex are the \cite commands able to look up each cite key from the .aux file and insert the corresponding labels ( [1] , [2] ) into the output.

On Overleaf, though, you don’t have to worry about re-running pdflatex yourself. This is because Overleaf uses the latexmk build tool , which automatically re-runs pdflatex (and some other processors) for the requisite number of times needed to resolve \cite outputs. This also accounts for other cross-referencing commands, such as \ref and \tableofcontents .

A note on compilation times

Processing \(\mathrm{\LaTeX}\) reference lists or other forms of cross-referencing, such as indexes, requires multiple runs of software—including the \(\mathrm{\TeX}\) engine (e.g., pdflatex ) and associated programs such as \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\), makeindex , etc. As mentioned above, Overleaf handles all of these mulitple runs automatically, so you don’t have to worry about them. As a consequence, when the preview on Overleaf is refreshing for documents with bibliographies (or other cross-referencing), or for documents with large image files (as discussed separately here ), these essential compilation steps may sometimes make the preview refresh appear to take longer than on your own machine. We do, of course, aim to keep it as short as possible! If you feel your document is taking longer to compile than you’d expect, here are some further tips that may help.

Enter \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\)

There are, of course, some inconveniences with manually preparing the thebibliography list:

  • It’s up to you to accurately format each \bibitem based on the reference style you’re asked to use—which bits should be in bold or italic? Should the year come immediately after the authors, or at the end of the entry? Given names first, or last names first?
  • If you’re writing for a reference style which requires the reference list to be sorted by the last names of first authors, you’ll need to sort the \bibitem s yourself.
  • For different manuscripts or documents that use different reference styles you’ll need to rewrite the \bibitem for each reference.

This is where \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) and bibliography database files ( .bib files) are extremely useful, and this is the recommended approach to manage citations and references in most journals and theses. The biblatex approach, which is slightly different and gaining popularity, also requires a .bib file but we’ll talk about biblatex in a future post.

Instead of formatting cited reference entries in a thebibliography list, we maintain a bibliography database file (let’s name it refs.bib for our example) which contains format-independent information about our references. So our refs.bib file may look like this:

You can find more information about other \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) reference entry types and fields here —there’s a huge table showing which fields are supported for which entry types. We’ll talk more about how to prepare .bib files in a later section.

Now we can use \cite with the cite keys as before, but now we replace thebibliography with a \bibliographystyle{...} to choose the reference style, as well as \bibliography{...} to point \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) at the .bib file where the cited references should be looked-up.

This is processed with the following sequence of commands, assuming our \(\mathrm{\LaTeX}\) document is in a file named main.tex (and that we are using pdflatex ):

  • pdflatex main
  • bibtex main

and we get the following output:

BibTeX output with plain bibliography style

Figure 4: \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) output using the plain bibliography style.

Whoah! What’s going on here and why are all those (repeated) processes required? Well, here’s what happens.

During the first pdflatex run, all pdflatex sees is a \bibliographystyle{...} and a \bibliography{...} from main.tex . It doesn’t know what all the \cite{...} commands are about! Consequently, within the output PDF, all the \cite{...} commands are simply rendered as [?], and no reference list appears, for now. But pdflatex writes information about the bibliography style and .bib file, as well as all occurrences of \cite{...} , to the file main.aux .

It’s actually main.aux that \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) is interested in! It notes the .bib file indicated by \bibliography{...} , then looks up all the entries with keys that match the \cite{...} commands used in the .tex file. \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) then uses the style specified with \bibliographystyle{...} to format the cited entries, and writes a formatted thebibliography list into the file main.bbl . The production of the .bbl file is all that’s achieved in this step; no changes are made to the output PDF.

When pdflatex is run again, it now sees that a main.bbl file is available! So it inserts the contents of main.bbl i.e. the \begin{thebibliography}....\end{thebibliography} into the \(\mathrm{\LaTeX}\) source, where \bibliography{...} is. After this step, the reference list appears in the output PDF formatted according to the chosen \bibliographystyle{...} , but the in-text citations are still [?].

pdflatex is run again, and this time the \cite{...} commands are replaced with the corresponding numerical labels in the output PDF!

As before, the latexmk build tool takes care of triggering and re-running pdflatex and bibtex as necessary, so you don’t have to worry about this bit.

Some notes on using \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) and .bib files

A few further things to note about using \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) and .bib files :

  • You may have noticed that although refs.bib contained five \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) reference entries, only two are included in the reference list in the output PDF. This is an important point about \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\): the .bib file’s role is to store bibliographic records, and only entries that have been cited (via \cite{...} ) in the .tex files will appear in the reference list. This is similar to how only cited items from an EndNote database will be displayed in the reference list in a Microsoft Word document. If you do want to include all entries—to be displayed but without actually citing all of them—you can write \nocite{*} . This also means you can reuse the same .bib file for all your \(\mathrm{\LaTeX}\) projects: entries that are not cited in a particular manuscript or report will be excluded from the reference list in that document.
  • \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) requires one \bibliographystyle{...} and one \bibliography{...} to function correctly—in future posts we’ll see how to create multiple bibliographies in the same document. If you keep getting “undefined citation” warnings, check that you have indeed included those two commands, and that the names are spelled correctly. File extensions are not usually required, but bear in mind that file names are case sensitive on some operating systems—including on Overleaf! Therefore, if you typed \bibliographystyle{IEEetran} (note the typo: “e”) instead of \bibliographystyle{IEEEtran} , or wrote \bibliography{refs} when the actual file name is Refs.bib , you’ll get the dreaded [?] as citations.
  • In the same vein, treat your cite keys as case-sensitive, always. Use the exact same case or spelling in your \cite{...} as in your .bib file.
  • The order of references in the .bib file does not have any effect on how the reference list is ordered in the output PDF: the sorting order of the reference list is determined by the \bibliographystyle{...} . For example, some readers might have noticed that, within my earlier example, the first citation in the text latex2e is numbered [2], while the second citation in the text ( texbook ) is numbered [1]! Have \(\mathrm{\LaTeX}\) and \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) lost the plot? Not at all: this is actually because the plain style sorts the reference list by alphabetical order of the first author’s last name . If you prefer a scheme where the numerical citation labels are numbered sequentially throughout the text, you’ll have to choose a bibliography style which implements this. For example, if instead we had used \bibliographystyle{IEEEtran} for that example, we’d get the following output. Notice also how the formatting of each cited item in the reference list has automatically updated to suit the IEEE’s style:

IEEEtran bibliography style output

Figure 5: IEEEtran bibliography style output.

We’ll talk more about different bibliography styles, including author–year citation schemes, in a future article. For now, let’s turn our attention to .bib file contents, and how we can make the task of preparing .bib files a bit easier.

Taking another look at .bib files

As you may have noticed earlier, a .bib file contains \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) bibliography entries that start with an entry type prefixed with an @ . Each entry has a some key–value \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) fields , placed within a pair of braces ( {...} ). The cite key is the first piece of information given within these braces, and every field in the entry must be separated by a comma :

As a general rule, every bibliography entry should have an author , year and title field, no matter what the type is. There are about a dozen entry types although some bibliography styles may recognise/define more; however, it is likely that you will most frequently use the following entry types:

  • @article for journal articles (see example above).
  • @inproceedings for conference proceeding articles:
  • @book for books (see examples above).
  • @phdthesis , @masterthesis for dissertations and theses:
  • @inbook is for a book chapter where the entire book was written by the same author(s): the chapter of interest is identified by a chapter number:
  • @incollection is for a contributed chapter in a book, so would have its own author and title . The actual title of the entire book is given in the booktitle field; it is likely that an editor field will also be present:
  • you will often find it useful to add \usepackage{url} or \usepackage{hyperref} in your .tex files’ preamble (for more robust handling of URLs);
  • not all bibliography styles support the url field: plain doesn’t, but IEEEtran does. All styles support note . More on this in a future post;
  • you should be mindful that even web pages and @misc entries should have an author , a year and a title field:

Multiple authors in \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\)

In a .bib file, commas are only used to separate the last name from the first name of an author—if the last name is written first. Individual author names are separated by and . So these are correct:

But none of the following will work correctly —you’ll get weird output, or even error messages from \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\)! So take extra care if you are copying author names from a paper or from a web page.

Multiple-word last names

If an author’s last name is made up of multiple words separated by spaces, or if it’s actually an organisation, place an extra pair of braces around the last name so that \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) will recognise the grouped words as the last name:

Alternatively, you can use the Lastname, Firstname format; some users find that clearer and more readable:

Remember: Whether the first or last name appears first in the output (“John Doe” vs “Doe, John”), or whether the first name is automatically abbreviated “J. Doe” or “Doe, J.” vs “John Doe” “J. Doe”), all such details are controlled by the \bibliographystyle .

I tried to use % to comment out some lines or entries in my .bib file, but I got lots of error messages instead?

% is actually not a comment character in .bib files! So, inserting a % in .bib files not only fails to comment out the line, it also causes some \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) errors. To get \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) to ignore a particular field we just need to rename the field to something that \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) doesn’t recognise. For example, if you want to keep a date field around but prefer that it’s ignored (perhaps because you want \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) to use the year field instead) write Tdate = {...} or the more human-readable IGNOREdate = {...} .

To get \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) to ignore an entire entry you can remove the @ before the entry type. A valid reference entry always starts with a @ followed by the entry type; without the @ character \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) skips the lines until it encounters another @ .

How/where do I actually get those .bib files?

Edit the .bib file as plain text.

Because .bib files are plain text you can certainly write them by hand—once you’re familiar with \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\)’s required syntax. Just make sure that you save it with a .bib extension, and that your editor doesn’t surreptitiously add a .txt or some other suffix. On Overleaf you can click on the “Files…” link at the top of the file list panel, and then on “Add blank file” to create a fresh .bib file to work on.

Pro tip: Did you know that Google Scholar search results can be exported to a \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) entry? Click on the “Cite” link below each search result, and then on the “\(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\)” option search. You can then copy the \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) entry generated. Here’s a video that demonstrates the process. Note that you should always double-check the fields presented in the entry, as the automatically populated information isn’t always comprehensive or accurate!

Help from GUI-based .bib editors

Many users prefer to use a dedicated \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) bibliography database editor/manager, such as JabRef or BibDesk to maintain, edit and add entries to their .bib files. Using a GUI can indeed help reduce syntax and spelling errors whilst creating bibliography entries in a \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) file. If you prefer, you can prepare your .bib file on your own machine using JabRef, BibDesk or another utility, and then upload it to your Overleaf.

Pro tip: If you’d like to use the same .bib for multiple Overleaf projects, have a look at this help article to set up a “master project”, or this one for sharing files from Google Drive (the instructions apply to other cloud-based storage solutions, such as Dropbox).

Export from reference library services

If you click on the Upload files button above the file list panel, you'll notice some options: Import from Mendeley, and Import from Zotero. If you’re already using one of those reference library management services, Overleaf can now hook into the Web exporter APIs provided by those services to import the .bib file (generated from your library) into your Overleaf project. For more information, see the Overleaf article How to link your Overleaf account to Mendeley and Zotero .

For other reference library services that don’t have a public API, or are not yet directly integrated with Overleaf, such as EndNote or Paperpile , look for an “export to .bib ” option in the application or service. Once you have a .bib file, you can then add it to your Overleaf project.

I’ve already got a reference list in a Microsoft Word/HTML/PDF file; can I somehow reuse the data without re-typing everything?

It used to be that you would have to hand-code each line into a \bibitem or an @article{...} entry (or another entry type) in a .bib file. As you can imagine, it’s not exactly a task that many people look forward to. Fortunately, these days some tools are available to help. They typically take a plain text file, e.g.

and attempt to parse the lines, converting it into a structured bibliography as a \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) .bib file. For example, have a look at text2bib or Edifix . Be sure to go through the options of these tools carefully, so that they work well with your existing unstructured bibliography in plain text.

Summary and further reading

We’ve had a quick look at how \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\) processes a .bib bibliography database file to resolve \cite commands and produce a formatted reference list, as well as how to prepare .bib files.

Happy \(\mathrm{Bib\TeX}\)ing!

Further reading

For more information see:

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  NPS Thesis Template v2.7 (rel. 3 April 2023): Code Examples (Using template version ≤  2.6? Click here:  IEEE  or  INFORMS )

The following codes are customized for NPS theses and are not intended for use with any other publisher or template. The NPS thesis LaTeX template comes prepackaged with a BibTeX tool and a bib file containing the examples below.

  • << Previous: Zotero Examples
  • Next: BibTeX Code ≤ v2.6 >>
  • Last Updated: Feb 9, 2024 12:23 PM
  • URL: https://libguides.nps.edu/citation

how to cite a phd thesis bibtex

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how to cite a phd thesis bibtex

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Thesis / Dissertation

Cite a thesis or dissertation (unpublished, published online, or accessed through a database). Use other forms to cite books , journal articles , reports , and conference proceedings .

Guide to BibTeX Type MasterThesis

BibTeX is a reference management tool that is commonly used in LaTeX documents. The "masterthesis" BibTeX type is used for master's theses. In this guide, we will explain the required and optional fields for the "masterthesis" BibTeX type.

Required Fields ​

The "masterthesis" BibTeX type requires the following fields:

  • author : The author of the thesis.
  • title : The title of the thesis.
  • school : The name of the institution that awarded the degree.
  • year : The year the degree was awarded.

Optional Fields ​

In addition to the required fields, the "masterthesis" BibTeX type also has a number of optional fields that can be used to provide additional information. These fields include:

  • type : The type of the thesis, such as "Master's thesis".
  • address : The location of the institution.
  • month : The month the thesis was submitted.
  • note : Any additional information about the thesis.

Here is an example of how to use the "masterthesis" BibTeX type:

In this example, the BibTeX entry defines a master's thesis authored by Jane Doe titled "A Study of Example". The degree was awarded in 2022 by the University of Example, and the thesis was submitted in June in Example City, CA. The type of the thesis is specified as "Master's thesis", and a note is included that provides a URL for the thesis.

  • Required Fields
  • Optional Fields

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Cite a Thesis in BIBTEX

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Authority - Author: Source of the information

  • Who is the author? What are their credentials or qualifications?
  • What makes the author qualified to write on this topic?
  • Is there clearly defined contact information for the author?

Authority - Publisher: Source of the information

  • Who is the publisher? Is it a non-profit, government agency, or organization? How might this affect their point of view?
  • What makes the publisher qualified to generate works on this subject?
  • What can the URL tell you about the publisher? For instance, .gov may signify that it is a government agency.

Relevance : Importance of the information to your topic

Currency : timeliness of the information.

  • When was the information published? When was it last updated? Does it reflect the most current information available?
  • How does your topic fit in with this source’s publication date? Do you need current information to make your point or do older sources work better?

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  • Does the source present one or multiple viewpoints on your topic?
  • Does the source present a large amount of information on the topic? Or is it short and focused?
  • Are there any points you feel may have been left out, on purpose or accidentally, that affect its comprehensiveness?
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Popular BibTeX generic citation style style Citation Examples

How to cite a book in bibtex generic citation style style.

Use the following template to cite a book using the BibTeX generic citation style citation style.

Reference List

Place this part in your bibliography or reference list at the end of your assignment.

In-text citation

Place this part right after the quote or reference to the source in your assignment.

How to cite a Journal in BibTeX generic citation style style

Use the following template to cite a journal using the BibTeX generic citation style citation style.

How to cite Film or Movie in BibTeX generic citation style style

Use the following template to cite a film or movie using the BibTeX generic citation style citation style.

How to cite an Online image or video in BibTeX generic citation style style

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How to cite a Website in BibTeX generic citation style style

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How to cite a Dictionary entry in BibTeX generic citation style style

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How to cite an E-book or PDF in BibTeX generic citation style style

Use the following template to cite an e-book or pdf using the BibTeX generic citation style citation style.

How to cite an Edited book in BibTeX generic citation style style

Use the following template to cite an edited book using the BibTeX generic citation style citation style.

How to cite an Email in BibTeX generic citation style style

Use the following template to cite an email using the BibTeX generic citation style citation style.

How to cite an Encyclopedia article in BibTeX generic citation style style

Use the following template to cite an encyclopedia article using the BibTeX generic citation style citation style.

How to cite an Interview in BibTeX generic citation style style

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How to cite a Magazine in BibTeX generic citation style style

Use the following template to cite a magazine using the BibTeX generic citation style citation style.

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How to cite a Podcast in BibTeX generic citation style style

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How to cite a Song in BibTeX generic citation style style

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Citation guides

All you need to know about citations

How to cite a PhD thesis in APA

APA PhD thesis citation

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To cite a PhD thesis in a reference entry in APA style 6th edition include the following elements:

  • Author(s) of the thesis: Give the last name and initials (e. g. Watson, J. D.) of up to seven authors with the last name preceded by an ampersand (&). For eight or more authors include the first six names followed by an ellipsis (…) and add the last author's name.
  • Year of publication: Give the year in brackets followed by a full stop.
  • Title of the PhD thesis: Only the first letter of the first word and proper nouns are capitalized.
  • URL: Give the full URL where the document can be retrieved from.

Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of a PhD thesis in APA style 6th edition:

Author(s) of the thesis . ( Year of publication ). Title of the PhD thesis (PhD thesis). Retrieved from URL

If the thesis is available from a database, archive or any online platform use the following template:

  • Author(s) of the thesis: Give the last name and initials (e. g. Watson, J. D.) of up to 20 authors with the last name preceded by an ampersand (&). For 21 or more authors include the first 19 names followed by an ellipsis (…) and add the last author's name.
  • Publication number: Give the identification number of the thesis, if available.
  • Name of the degree awarding institution: Give the name of the institution.
  • Name of Platform: Give the name of the database, archive or any platform that holds the thesis.
  • URL: If the thesis was found on a database, omit this element.

Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of a PhD thesis in APA style 7th edition:

Author(s) of the thesis . ( Year of publication ). Title of the PhD thesis ( Publication number ) [PhD thesis, Name of the degree awarding institution ]. Name of Platform . URL

If the thesis has not been published or is available from a database use the following template:

  • Location: Give the location of the institution. If outside the United States also include the country name.

Author(s) of the thesis . ( Year of publication ). Title of the PhD thesis (Unpublished PhD thesis). Name of the degree awarding institution , Location .

If the thesis is not published, use the following template:

Author(s) of the thesis . ( Year of publication ). Title of the PhD thesis [Unpublished PhD thesis]. Name of the degree awarding institution .

APA reference list examples

Take a look at our reference list examples that demonstrate the APA style guidelines for a PhD thesis citation in action:

A PhD thesis found in an online platform

Confait, M. F . ( 2018 ). Maximising the contributions of PhD graduates to national development: The case of the Seychelles ( PhD thesis ). Retrieved from https://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses/2060
Confait, M. F . ( 2018 ). Maximising the contributions of PHD graduates to national development: The case of the Seychelles [ PhD thesis , Edith Cowan University ]. Edith Cowan Online Repository . Retrieved from https://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses/2060

An unpublished PhD thesis

Bowkett, D . ( 2015 ). Investigating the ligandability of plant homeodomains ( Unpublished PhD thesis ). University of Oxford , London, UK .
Bowkett, D . ( 2015 ). Investigating the ligandability of plant homeodomains [ Unpublished PhD thesis ]. University of Oxford .

apa cover page

This citation style guide is based on the official Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association ( 6 th edition).

More useful guides

  • APA Referencing: Theses
  • How do I reference a PhD dissertation or MA thesis in APA style?
  • APA Citation Style: Theses and Dissertations

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BibTeX mastersthesis template

The mastersthesis entry type is intended to be used for a Master's thesis.

Minimal template

Minimal template with required fields only for a BibTeX mastersthesis entry.

Full template

Full template including required and optional fields for a BibTeX mastersthesis entry.

Carnegie Mellon University

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Machine learning-Enabled Multi-scale Process Monitoring and Development for Metal Additive Manufacturing

 The variability in the printing outcome of additive manufacturing of metals is a major obstacle that hinders the reliance on the quality of printed parts and thus the potential for full production. In-situ monitoring coupled with machine learning can save labor-intensive costs and time-consuming ex-situ work by enabling accelerated process design that targets consistent printing quality. To that end, this dissertation proposes smart monitoring approaches at the melt-pool scale and part scale through high-speed imaging and IR thermal imaging for the process development, identification of defects formation, and analysis of the humping-up phenomenon as one of the major surface defects.

We start by looking into the global effect of heat accumulation and monitoring the process at the part scale by using IR thermal imaging as the most convenient thermal monitoring. An unsupervised machine learning-based method is developed to detect heat accumulation in real-time without the need to spend a long time labeling millions of images. Furthermore, we have developed an approach to generate thermal distribution given the laser toolpath by using generative deep learning. We have investigated the effect of the parameters of the scanning strategy on thermal distribution. Finally, we zoom into the process and track the molten pool of metal as the laser moves to dive into the local aspects of the process. 

Degree Type

  • Dissertation
  • Mechanical Engineering

Degree Name

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

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COMMENTS

  1. bibtex

    @phdthesis {Alsolami2012Auth, title = {An examination of keystroke dynamics for continuous user authentication}, school = {Queensland University of Technology}, author = {Alsolami, Eesa}, year = {2012}, %other attributes omitted } And it gets rendered as: [2] Eesa Alsolami.

  2. Guide to BibTeX Type PhdThesis

    school = {University of Example}, type = {PhD thesis} } In this example, the BibTeX entry defines a PhD thesis authored by John Smith titled "An Analysis of Example". The degree was awarded in 2022 by the University of Example, and the thesis was submitted in June in Example City, CA.

  3. BibTeX template: phdthesis

    Full template Full template including required and optional fields for a BibTeX phdthesis entry. @phdthesis { citekey, author = "", title = "", school = "", year = "", type = "", address = "", month = "", note = "", annote = "" } Download BibTeX file | Copy to clipboard Organize your papers in one place. Try Paperpile. No credit card needed

  4. How to Write a Thesis in LaTeX (Part 4): Bibliographies with ...

    To cite a source in the text we use one of the biblatex citation commands. The simplest is the \cite command which prints the citation without any brackets unless you are using the numeric or alphabetic styles.

  5. Guide to Writing Your Thesis in LaTeX: Bibliography

    All you need to do is add information about your sources to the references.bib file, which is a database containing all of the necessary information about the references, then cite the reference in your thesis using the \cite {} command. Generating the Bibliography and References

  6. Citing a Thesis in BIBTEX

    BIBTEX Citation Generator >. Cite a Thesis. Citation Machine® helps students and professionals properly credit the information that they use. Cite sources in APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian, and Harvard for free.

  7. PDF BibTeX Templates

    References [1] A. B. Cummings, D. Eftekhary, and F. G. House. The accurate deter-mination of college students' coe cients of friction. Journal of Sketchy Physics, 13(2):46{129, 2003. [2] I. J. Kuss. On the Importance of Kissing Up to Your Boss. Books, Cambridge MA, 5 edition, 1995. Dilbert [3] L. M. Napster.

  8. LibGuides: Overleaf for LaTeX Theses & Dissertations: Home

    BibTeX is a file format used for lists of references for LaTeX documents. Many citation management tools support the ability to export and import lists of references in .bib format. Some reference management tools can generate BibTeX files of your library or folders for use in your LaTeX documents.

  9. Bibliography management with bibtex

    Just make sure that you save it with a .bib extension, and that your editor doesn't surreptitiously add a .txt or some other suffix. On Overleaf you can click on the "Files…" link at the top of the file list panel, and then on "Add blank file" to create a fresh .bib file to work on.

  10. BibTeX Code

    Learn how to cite articles, books, reports, theses, government documents, etc. for NPS theses, papers, and publications BibTeX Code for Thesis Template v2.7. Naval Postgraduate School. Dudley Knox Library Ask a ... Pescatarians and daisies: A match made in sushi heaven. Master's thesis, Garden of Sushi School of Sushi, Maui, HI, ProQuest ...

  11. Cite a Thesis / Dissertation

    Cite a thesis or dissertation (unpublished, published online, or accessed through a database). Use other forms to cite books, journal articles, reports, and conference proceedings. Title Required Contributors Recommended Add organization Type of text Recommended Year of submission Recommended University Recommended DOI PDF Add annotation

  12. How to cite a published PhD dissertation in BibTex using ...

    • 7 yr. ago millenniumpianist How to cite a published PhD dissertation in BibTex using @phdthesis? Unanswered @phdthesis {phdthesis, author = {Person Name}, title = {Dissertation Title}, school = {University of Somewhere}, year = 2014, } I have the following entry.

  13. Guide to BibTeX Type MasterThesis

    phdthesis Guide to BibTeX Type MasterThesis BibTeX is a reference management tool that is commonly used in LaTeX documents. The "masterthesis" BibTeX type is used for master's theses. In this guide, we will explain the required and optional fields for the "masterthesis" BibTeX type. Required Fields

  14. BibMe: Generate BIBTEX thesis citations for your bibliography

    BIBTEX Citation Generator >. Cite a Thesis. BibMe Free Bibliography & Citation Maker - MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard.

  15. BibTeX PhDbiblio-url bibliography style [examples]

    Usage. \documentclass [a4paper,10pt] { article } \begin { document } This is an example of a paragraph with in-text citations using the PhDbiblio-url BibTeX style. Here is a reference to a journal article with a single author \cite { article1 }, to a journal article with two authors \cite { article2 } and three authors \cite { article3 }, and ...

  16. Bibtex Citation Generator

    How to cite a Blog in BibTeX generic citation style style. Use the following template to cite a blog using the BibTeX generic citation style citation style. Reference List. Place this part in your bibliography or reference list at the end of your assignment. Template:

  17. Help On BibTeX phdthesis entry

    phdthesis entry. A PhD thesis. Format: @PHDTHESIS{citation_key, required_fields [, optional_fields] } Required fields: author, title, school, year Optional fields ...

  18. APA: how to cite a PhD thesis [Update 2023]

    Guides 📙 APA 📝 Theses 6th edition 7th edition How to cite a PhD thesis in APA Published Unpublished If the thesis is available from a database, archive or any online platform use the following template:

  19. BibTeX template: mastersthesis

    BibTeX template files for @mastersthesis: • author • title • school • year. The quick BibTeX guide All you ever need to know about ... BibTeX Format Templates. BibTeX mastersthesis template. The mastersthesis entry type is intended to be used for a Master's thesis. Minimal template. Minimal template with required fields only for a ...

  20. Machine learning-Enabled Multi-scale Process Monitoring and Development

    The variability in the printing outcome of additive manufacturing of metals is a major obstacle that hinders the reliance on the quality of printed parts and thus the potential for full production. In-situ monitoring coupled with machine learning can save labor-intensive costs and time-consuming ex-situ work by enabling accelerated process design that targets consistent printing quality. To ...