addbib - create or extend bibliographic database

ADDBIB(1) BSD General Commands Manual ADDBIB(1)


addbib — create or extend bibliographic database


addbib [−p promptfile] [−a] database


When this program starts up, answering ‘y’ to the initial “Instructions?” prompt yields directions; typing ‘n’ or RETURN skips them. addbib then prompts for various bibliographic fields, reads responses from the terminal, and sends output records to a database. A null response ⟨just RETURN⟩ means to leave out that field. A minus sign ⟨-⟩ means to go back to the previous field. A trailing backslash allows a field to be continued on the next line. The repeating “Continue?” prompt allows the user either to resume by typing ‘y’ or RETURN, to quit the current session by typing ‘n’ or ‘q’, or to edit the database with any system editor ⟨vi, ex, edit, ed⟩,

The −a option suppresses prompting for an abstract; asking for an abstract is the default. Abstracts are ended with a CTRL-d. The −p option causes addbib to use a new prompting skeleton, defined in promptfile. This file should contain prompt strings, a tab, and the key-letters to be written to the database.

The most common key-letters and their meanings are given below. addbib insulates you from these key-letters, since it gives you prompts in English, but if you edit the bibliography file later on, you will need to know this information.


Author’s name


Book containing article referenced


City (place of publication)


Date of publication


Editor of book containing article referenced


Footnote number or label (supplied by refer)


Government order number


Header commentary, printed before reference


Issuer (publisher)


Journal containing article


Keywords to use in locating reference


Label field used by −k option of refer


Bell Labs Memorandum (undefined)


Number within volume


Other commentary, printed at end of reference


Page number(s)


Corporate or Foreign Author (unreversed)


Report, paper, or thesis (unpublished)


Series title


Title of article or book


Volume number


Abstract — used by roffbib, not by refer


ignored by refer

Except for ‘A’, each field should be given just once. Only relevant fields should be supplied. An example is:


Bill Tuthill


Refer — A Bibliography System


Computing Services






UNX 4.3.5.


optional file to define prompting


indxbib(1), lookbib(1), refer(1), roffbib(1), sortbib(1)


Written by Al Stangenberger & Bill Tuthill.

BSD December 12, 2005 BSD

Updated 2023-02-15 - |