I've just recently learned about BibTeX, rather than manually making a bibliography at the end of everything I write. Now I'd like a reliable source for the citation info.

At school I can use MathSciNet through my university's account, but at home I cannot access that. I have been using Google Scholar to find citation info in BibTeX format but I find that very frequently the year listed is wrong, so I need to dig up the article and double check everything. Just to take the most recent example Lectures in Hyperbolic Geometry by Benedetti and Petronio is listed as having been printed in 2012, but in my copy of the book it says 1992.

Perhaps it is giving me dates of reprints or something, but that is no good either. Having the date of the original publication is important when surveying the historical context of one's work, which is especially relevant to what I'm writing lately.

Is there a more reliable database for BibTeX-formatted citation info on math articles, which can be accessed for free?

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    At many universities there is a way to login to MathSciNet through the university library system, so as to "present the proper credentials". I'd recommend looking around on your univ's library's site. In any case, currently, much of that content is not "free", otherwise. Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 23:23
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    You should really always dig up the article and double-check everything.
    – JeffE
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 3:33
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    @JeffE That makes me feel better about having taken the time to do that. I would also add that this "digging up" is just a matter of being organized because one should have already seen any article one is referencing. I started a directory where I save a copy of everything I might reference.
    – j0equ1nn
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 11:29

2 Answers 2


For mathematical articles I'm not aware of any citation database of (nearly) as good quality as MatSciNet --- your university is probably also paying a significant subscription fee for it.

As Paul Garrett already mentioned, you can probably access it from home via your university's library. There is actually an even simpler method (at least with a laptop): while at your university you can "pair your device" to automatically have access under your university account for 90 days, when you need to repair it. See the green/blue icon in the top-left corner of MathSciNet, linking to http://www.ams.org/pairing/pair_my_device.html

If you have a desktop at home, you might also do this though a VPN or library site of the university, and then you're set for the next 90 days.

  • MathSciNet is a wonderful service. At the same time, there are occasional errors in the information there, so it is always worthwhile to verify citations back to the original source when possible. Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 0:45
  • Great tip! I do mainly work on a desktop computer at home, but a brief search of my school's website showed a way of logging in to MathSciNet using the barcode on the back of my school ID.
    – j0equ1nn
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 0:57

The AMS has a site MRef through which anyone can freely get citation information, in BibTeX among other formats, for everything in MathSciNet's database.

  • That sounds good in theory, but upon trying to use it I can't get it to return anything other than "No Unique Match Found."
    – j0equ1nn
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 16:36
  • @j0equ1nn: You probably need to put in more information. It works consistently for me using just: authors' first initials and last names; complete title; and journal name (full or abbreviated). Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 16:50
  • I know that's disappointlingly much to need to give, but it still saves work compared to producing BibTeX entries by hand. Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 16:51
  • Right on, it will still come in handy. My only trouble would be that it is often time consuming to find out what journal an article is from. This is particularly an issue for the many many articles I downloaded from the arXiv. But combining this with the Google Scholar resource would probably yield an effective method.
    – j0equ1nn
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 16:55

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