When managing References, seem to me to be two-ish, options:

Either for each Project, I maintain a database of the relevant resources (In say a bibtex file), and for each new piece of work I start a new one.

Or I maintain a single "Monolithic" collection of resources (still in a bibtex file), for everything I do, and I carry that around with me for years.

There are some in-betweens, such as having a Monolithic Collection, which I copy references from at the start of a project into a Project Collection, which I then use (and update) during the project, then copy either all or some of it back into the main collection.

What are the Pros and Cons of each approach? Am I thinking about this in the wrong way?

  • 1
    More or less the same question: Should I keep all my .bib files in a single folder, or one with each .tex file? Commented Apr 13, 2015 at 6:59
  • I think the difference, is that bibtex is just used as a example in this question. But it actually the point of the other question. So the answers to that question talk about things that are bibtex dependent (eg to do with the way latex interacts with the path to the bibtex file). Commented Apr 13, 2015 at 13:37
  • I'd argue the other question uses BibTeX as an example for presenting advantages and disadvantages that can also be found in equivalent systems. To use your example (even though paths do not seem to be mentioned in the other question), relative paths are not very LaTeX-specific; linking a central storage for bibliography entries from a document under version control almost always means that other people pulling the document sources might lack access to the central bibliography storage. As far as I see, this seems to apply to virtually all points in the other question (?) Commented Apr 13, 2015 at 13:44

1 Answer 1


I usually go with a single database, arranged in folders and/or tags. So the references are present one time, and then I just move them around according to what I need to do.

If you have separate databases, you risk to duplicate records, and save the same reference many times.

This also depends on the type of system you use: Zotero and Mendeley (the tools I mostly use) go with the single-db solution arranged in folders and tags, whereas EndNote allows to create separate libraries.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .