Using BibTeX with Multimarkdown: is it possible?

Multimarkdown supposedly supports using a BibTeX file to define references. It appears that the way to use it would be to define a metadata field in the Markdown file like this,

BibTeX: yourbibfile

with the file yourbibfile.bib placed in the same directory as the Markdown document, and then using the Multimarkdown citation syntax such as [#somecitation]. I tried this in DEVONthink 3.7.2 but haven’t managed to make it work. I know that DEVONthink does not support all Multimarkdown features, but I can’t tell if it’s not working for me because I’m doing something wrong, or because it’s not supported in DEVONthink. If it is supported, could someone explain in detail how to make it work?

DEVONthink does at least not contain any dedicated support for this, therefore not sure if it’s doable at all. How does your Markdown document look like?

My test consisted of the following simple document:

bibtex: references

# This is a heading

This is a reference: [#wm2014]

The file references.bib was present in the same group and in valid BibTeX format (which I know for sure – I’m a longtime LaTeX/BibTeX user). I also tried putting the references.bib file in my home directory and referring to it with an absolute pathname in the metadata line of the .md file, but no luck.

So this morning I tried the actual MultiMarkdown applications on macOS, both Composer (free version) and Converter Pro, and discovered … they do not process the BibTeX input either. Surprised, I then searched on GitHub and found a directory of test cases by the author of MultiMarkdown, copied the files to my computer, tried them as input to the applications, and found that their own BibTeX test case does not work in the Mac applications either.

Thinking that the problem may be that the macOS apps in the Apple App Store are for an older version of MultiMarkdown syntax, I then downloaded and tried the release 6.6.0 version from GitHub and tried it with the same input files. And no luck either. The HTML output produced by mmd does not expand the references.

Finally, searching the source code and studying what it does around places where “bibtex” is mentioned in the code, I can’t find any evidence that it actually does anything with Bibtex at all. I didn’t study every line of the code, obviously, but If the code in src/html.c is any indication, it … ignores the value of the bibtex metadata keyword :frowning:

You’re absolutely right, it’s not supported by HTML. Maybe by another format as MultiMarkdown can export various formats? However, only HTML is currently used in DEVONthink (and probably most Mac apps using it).

1 Like

Yes, I was just wondering the same thing while you were typing that :-). The BibTeX stuff may be intended only for the case where the mmd converter is used to produce LaTeX, and not when producing HTML. (I should test that, but even if it worked that way, it would be useless for any scenario where I would use it, so it’s not worth the time. I do wish their documentation made that more clear so I didn’t waste so much time on this.)

1 Like