Push Export / Auto-Export

When exporting using Better BibTex you will be offered a new export option: Keep updated. Checking this option registers the export for automation; any changes to the collection after you’ve completed the current export will trigger an automatic re-export to update the bib file. You can review/remove exports from the BBT preferences. While I’ve gone to some lengths to make sure performance is OK, don’t go overboard with the number of auto-exports you have going. Also, exporting only targeted selections over your whole library will get you better performance. You can set up separate exports for separate papers for example if you have set up a collection for each.

git support

BBT auto-export works nicely with git services (such as Overleaf, which is where I use it myself; the instructions for setting up Overleaf for git can be found here – note these instructions are for Overleaf V1 projects, not V2 projects, which will get git support only late 2018), but any git service (gitlab, github, etc) should work exactly the same. I’m toying with various online services here.

To activate git support, first clone the repo that holds your article/thesis/whatnot, run git config zotero.betterbibtex.push true in a command shell in that repo, and set up an auto export to that directory; at each update, BBT will now also push your library to the git service. For the technically curious, that means it does:

  1. git pull
  2. Performs the export
  3. git add <your library file>
  4. git commit -m <your library file>
  5. git push

Note that the nature of git commit/push is not file-bound; if you made edits to other files, and added those, they will be committed and pushed along. If you want to be super-careful, the best way to go about it is to have a separate clone of your repo that BBT auto-exports to, and then another repo that you do your own edits in. I don’t use it myself this way, but you have been warned.

Pull Export

You can fetch your library as part of your build, using curl (for example by using the included zoterobib.yaml arara rule), or with a BibLaTeX remote statement like


You can then fetch your bibliography on the url http://localhost:23119/better-bibtex/collection?[collectionID].[format], where collectionID is:

  • the ID you get by right-clicking your collection and selecting “Show collection key”
  • the path “/[library id]/full/path/to/collection” (the library id is the first number from the key you get in the option above; it’s always ‘0’ for your personal library)

or any multiple of those, separated by a ‘+’ sign.

The format is either ‘bibtex’ or ‘biblatex’, and determines the translator used for export.

You can add options to the export as URL parameters:

  • &exportCharset=<charset>
  • &exportNotes=[true|false]
  • &useJournalAbbreviation=[true|false]

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