biblook - lookup entries in a bibliography file
biblook basename [savefile]
biblook permits rapid lookup in a BibTeX bibliography database, using a
compact binary index file prepared by bibindex(1).
At the prompt, the user can enter any of the following commands:
? or h[elp]
Display a brief help message.
f[ind] [not] <field> <words>
Find the entries containing the given words in any field with a
prefix matching the <field> argument. For example, ‘a’ matches
both ‘author’ and ‘address’, and ‘au’ matches ‘author’ only. If
the <field> argument is ‘-’ (or any string with no letters or
numbers), match any field.
If ‘not’ appears before the <field>, the sense of the search is
reversed. The symbols ‘~’ and ‘!’ can be used in place of
Each word is a contiguous sequence of letters and digits. Case
is ignored; accents should be omitted; apostrophes are not
required. Single characters and a few common words are also
ignored. There is basic support for pattern matching using the
characters ? and *, which match respectively a single character
and a multi-character string, including the null string. Thus,
‘algorithm??’ matches ‘algorithmic’, ‘algorithmes’, and
‘Algorithmen’; and ‘*oint*’ matches ‘point’, ‘points’,
‘pointer’, ‘endpoint’, ‘disjoint’, etc. However at present
patterns beginning with ? cannot be used, as the parser mistakes
them for a help request.
and [not] <field> <words>
or [not] <field> <words>
Intersect (resp. union) the results of the given search with the
previous search. Several of these commands may be combined on a
single line. Commands are handled in the order in which they
appear; there is no precedence. Unlike other commands, and like
‘not’, these must be spelled out completely. ‘&’ can be used in
place of ‘and’, and ‘|’ can be used in place of ‘or’.
Display the results of the previous search.
Save the results of the previous results into the specified
file. If <filename> is omitted, the previous save file is used.
If no save file has ever been specified, results are saved in
the file specified on the command line. If no such file is
specified, ‘save.bib’ is used. If the save file exists, results
are appended to it.
Display the definition of the abbreviation <abbrev>.
Several commands can be combined on a single line by separating them
with semicolons. For example, the following command displays all STOC
papers cowritten by Erdo"s without ‘Voronoi diagrams’ in the title:
f b stoc* | b symp* theory comp* & au erdos & ~t voronoi diagrams ; d
Search path for BibTeX database files named on the command line.
If BIBLOOKPATH is not set, biblook defaults to BIBINPUTS. If
neither variable is set, the files are assumed to be in the
bibclean(1), bibindex(1), bibtex(1), latex(1), tex(1)
Jeff Erickson <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Bill Jones <email@example.com>, and
Rafael Laboissiere <firstname.lastname@example.org> with significant
contributions from Nelson Beebe, Sariel Har-Peled, and Erik
The most current version of biblook and bibindex is archived at the URL