Writing a Law PhD with Latex (8)

Thu 03 July 2014 | tags: Latex, Free Software, PhD, Social Sciences, Oscola, -- (permalink)

The references.bib file

To use literature, cases, legislation and similar things, we will need to enter it into a file called references.bib in the main text folder.

Let's look at some typical entries:

    author = "Arend, Anthony Clark and Beck, Robert J",
    publisher = "Routledge",
    title = "International Law and the Use of Force: Beyond the UN Charter Paradigm",
    date = "1993"

    author = "Habermas, J{\"u}rgen",
    publisher = "Polity Press",
    title = "Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action",
    date = "1990"

    author = "{de B{\'u}rca}, Gr{\'a}inne",
    journaltitle = "Harvard International Law Journal",
    pages = "1--49",
    title = "The European Court of Justice and the International Legal Order After \emph{Kadi}",
    volume = "51",
    date = "2010"

The format for that is quite simple. The first line tells Biber (the programme that puzzles the references together) what kind of a reference this is, and what identifier it has in the document. In this case, we are entering two books and a journal article to the references. You can use whatever you want for the identifier, as long as it is unique and as long as you can remember it easily. As you can see in the example, I simply use the first authors name and the year of publication. If the author published two things in the same year, I would use something like "deburca10b".

You can see that the syntax for special characters is slightly different than in normal Latex - the curly brackets are around the whole sequence to allow the umlaut in J├╝rgen and the Irish spelling for Grainne de Burca. Multiple authors, as in the first book, are simply separated with the word "and", also for more than two (eg Simma, Bruno and Khan, Daniel-Erasmus and Nolte, Georg and Paulus, Andreas).

Everything else should be obvious at least for books and articles. Biber will put it together nicely in Oscola format, and it knows what to write in quotation marks, what in italic, when to abbreviate first names, when to replace the ten authors specified with "et al" and so on. The "pages" part in the article is used in the bibliography and when no page number is specified in the reference.

Instead of quotation marks, you can also use curly brackets. Many library websites often allow you to export the Bibtex citation, which you can simply copy and paste into your document, and it's no problem if they write it in this format:

    author = {Alvarez, Jos{\'e} E},
    title = {The Schizophrenias of R2P},
    journaltitle = {ASIL Newsletter},
    volume = {23},
    date = {2007}

For articles in edited books, simply specify the book itself first and then enter a cross-reference from the article:

    location = "Berlin, Heidelberg, New York",
    title = "{Legitimacy in International Law}",
    editor = "Wolfrum, R{\"u}diger and R{\"o}ben, Volker",
    publisher = "Springer",
    date = "2008"

    author = "Wolfrum, R{\"u}diger",
    pages = "1--24",
    title = "{Legitimacy in International Law from a Legal Perspective}",
    crossref = "wolfrum-collection"

    author = "Bodansky, Daniel",
    pages = "309--317",
    title = "{The Concept of Legitimacy in International Law}",
    crossref = "wolfrum-collection"

Online sources can be quoted using the following schema, with date being the day the source was published and urldate being the day you accessed it last:

    author = "Tzanakopouos, Andreas",
    title = "Kadi and the Solange Argument in International Law",
    journaltitle = "EJIL: Talk!",
    url = {http://www.ejiltalk.org/kadi-and-the-solange-argument-in-international-law-2/},
    urldate = "2013-04-05",
    date = "2013-01-15"

Using the references in the text

Using the references is fairly easy. We already point Biber towards the references.bib file, so we can use the references quite easily. The standard way would be using the \footcite command for single references, and the cite command for more than one reference inside a \footnote. The reference itself should be in curly brackets, and the \footcite command allows us to give a prefix and a suffix in square brackets. The prefix is sometimes needed for something like "See" and can simply be left out if not needed, the suffix will usually be a page or paragraph number:

A legitimate international organisation is entitled to rule on the matters it is
created for and possesses a `worthiness to be recognized' as a political

For Thomas Franck, Hyde's `agnosticism' can be ignored on the international stage, as there is no `coercive
sovereign always lurk[ing] in the background'.\footcite[710]{franck88}

The reasons for that are quite obvious: the often cited phenomenon of
globalisation is to blame.\footnote{\cite[366]{roeben08}; \cite[913]{kumm04}.}