New CVS features: RTF/PDF/LaTeX output & CLI

  • New CVS features: RTF/PDF/LaTeX output & CLI


    this is just to keep everybody updated about the ongoing refbase development. We have added a few new features to the refbase CVS version[1] which may be worth checking out:

    1. refbase can now output citations as RTF, PDF, LaTeX or structured/plain text.

    Theoretically, copy & paste of formatted citations from your browser into your office app should work fine but this process is often error-prone and proved to be unreliable on certain systems.

    The direct output of cited references as RTF or LaTeX file should significantly ease the integration with office applications (such as MS Word, or LaTeX GUIs) since it ensures the correct output of accented or greek characters and preserves font styling information (such as italic, super-/subscript text, etc).

    You can try these new citation output formats at one of our online demo databases (which is based on the latest CVS version): [2]

    The citation output formats are available via the "return as" drop down next to the "Cite" button below the search results.

    Note that you can also include links within your own web pages that will dynamically query a refbase database and return found results directly as a RTF/PDF/LaTeX file download. Examples are provided in our refbase wiki: [3]

    2. We've added new sort orders that output citations sorted by resource type (i.e., peer-reviewed publications, monographs, book contributions, theses, etc). These sort orders are available via the "sort by" drop down next to the "Cite" button below the search results.

    3. We've started to develop an "ODF XML" export format which will export selected records to spreadsheet format[4]. You'll be able to open this file in and use it as a bibliographic database.

    4. refbase now comes with a command line client written in Perl which allows you to search a refbase online database from the command line and retrieve results in various formats.

    It supports all currently supported citation formats (HTML, RTF, PDF, LaTeX, structured text, plain text) and export formats (Endnote, RIS, BibTeX, MODS XML, SRW XML, XML).

    This shell script should ease integration of a refbase database with custom command line workflows. E.g., the script could be used to retrieve references at regular intervals (say once a week or month) using a cron job and do stuff with the data, e.g.:

    - import the raw data into a local database
    - incorporate the data as citations into a custom web page
    - generate monthly statistics
    - format a quarterly PDF newsletter (which is typeset from LaTeX source files)


    [1] Installation/Updating instructions are available at

    [2] export of records is currently not working with that database since there's an issue with my ISP's server configuration

    [3] note that SF incorrectly formats some of the HTML links, i.e., you can't click these links but need to copy & paste them into your browser's location bar

    [4] support for XML has not been finished yet