Creating a BibTeX file is one of the more tedious aspects of writing a paper. The NASA ADS system helps a lot by making bibliography data available and easy to find, but there’s still the matter of copying and pasting it into your local database. Since I find that process annoying, I wrote BibSlurp, a set of emacs functions to speed it along.

BibSlurp enables you to query nasa ads without leaving emacs. As an example, typing M-x bibslurp-query-ads RET white rees RET brings up the following buffer: (the search string is sent directly to ADS, so things like ^white rees or ^white 1978 will also work as expected.)


Let’s say I want to add the second paper to my .bib database. All I have to do is hit 2 RET. After waiting for the appropriate files to download, BibSlurp responds with the message saved bibtex entry to kill ring.


From here, hitting q takes me back to my .bib file, where I can yank the entry with C-y: (note that bibslurp automatically generates a label for the entry)


If I’m not sure which paper I want, I can pull up the abstract by hitting 2 a. From there, q takes be back to the search results.



If you like, you can find BibSlurp on github. Note that there are two branches: the ‘master’ branch has the version described here, and there’s an older version which uses the lynx browser to parse and display the html. The older branch is probably more robust, but the output is pretty ugly and it requires you to have the lynx browser installed (which is worthwhile, anyways).

The ‘master’ branch of bibslurp is available on MELPA. I would recommend installing it that way. Adding the following code to your .emacs file should enable you to install bibslurp using M-x package-install bibslurp RET.

;; Use package.el. You'll need to add MELPA to your archives:
(require 'package)
(add-to-list 'package-archives
'("melpa" . "") t)

If you don’t want to use MELPA, or if you want to use the ‘old-lynx’ branch, you’ll need to install the file manually. Once this file is somewhere visible to emacs, you can add the following to your .emacs to make it work.

;; make sure file is visible to emacs (if needed)
(add-to-list 'load-path "/path/to/bibslurp.el")
;; load the file
(require 'bibslurp)

I hope you find BibSlurp useful. If you find any bugs, or if you have any suggestions for improvements, please me know — you can either open an issue on github, or e-mail me directly. Patches and pull requests are also very welcome.

© 2015 Michael McCourt

last modified: 2015-01-07 23:37:33 (mkmccjr)

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