I am thinking about a collaborative effort, where several people would need to insert data; for different reasons, it would be most convenient that this data is in bibtex format (the references format for latex).

Now, I know JabRef reference manager as a GUI that people may be willing to give a try; and I also know it refers to Bibtex .bib files as "databases". However, is anyone aware of a method, where a "database" (essentially exportable as a .bib file) is managed online - and several users could access it, and make edits in it (where all edits would be tracked per user, similar to subversion)?

I would essentially recommend subversion for this - however, come collaborators are not to keen on command-line svn or the existing GUIs; so, I though, if:

  • One can use jabref itself to authenticate to a remote database and make edits there; or
  • One can authenticate and make edits through a webpage (say PHP application)

... then these options could be slightly more acceptable for people who are otherwise not keen on working with command-line tools like subversion.

Are there any tools around that would facilitate this kind of use of the bibtex format?

Many thanks in advance for any answer,


Ok, found some options after browsing:

  • PHP/MySQL application called PHP BibTeX Database Manager; cannot find any screenshots of it; but I guess it can manage different users, and it can export to a bib file.

  • There is also a way to have jabref communicate to an online MySQL database directly; but one would have to set up sql user level of authentication - and I'm pretty sure a log like in svn is not kept. Anyways, it is discussed in "[texworks] JabRef Bibtex and php MySql insert \cite[]{}":

    Here is a thing of interest, that others might adapt and use.

    If you use JabRef ( http://jabref.sourceforge.net/ ) to maintain your biblios, and have MySql and php (CLI) then here is a system I personally use.

    JabRef lets me set up an MySql database very simply.

    (i) Just use your MySql management tool of choice, and make a database called jabref (no tables neeeded) (ii) In Jab Ref open your biblio (iii) File/Connect to External SQL database (iv) File/Export to External Database

    (I use this with then a latter JabRef File/ Import From External Database to mainatain my references through other interfaces as well.)

Well, it seems like what I want is possible - at least in bits and pieces; but cannot really confirm existence of an application to collaborative online editing of the sorts... So, I'm still interested in hearing about alternatives :)


Do you look for a tool like I, librarian? You may try th online demo:

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