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14 Bibliography and Citations in ODT export

The ODT export back-end uses JabRef to produce Bibliography and Citations.

org’ doesn’t have a standard markup for bibliography and citation references. This is true for this export backend as well. So, the syntax described in the next section is specific to the ODT backend, and doesn’t carry over to other backends.

Bibliography and Citation-specific Keywords in ODT export

An ‘org’ file with bibliography and citations look like

#+BIB_FILE: "novices.bib"

Some text content


Path to the bibliography file


Citation style to use. You can choose one of the following options

  • "Numeric"
  • "Chicago (full-note)"
  • "Chicago (author-date)"

Bibliography is inserted here.

How to cite?

The ODT backend recognizes following citation references

\cite{}’ snippets
Pandoc’s Berkeley-style Citations15

The semi-official Org-mode citation syntax was designed by Richard Lawrence with additions by contributors on the emacs-orgmode mailing list. It is based on John MacFarlane’s pandoc Markdown syntax. It’s dubbed Berkeley syntax due the place of activity of its creators, both philosophers at UC Berkeley.

Simple in-text citation

This is the simplest form of citation. It consists of the citation ID prefixed by ‘@’.

@WatsonCrick1953 showed that DNA forms a double-helix.
In-text citation list

Citations presented in the text unparenthesized are called in-text citations. The syntax for these citations is


where the initial ‘PREFIX’ and final ‘SUFFIX’ are optional. At least one ‘INDIVIDUAL-REFERENCE’ must be present. The colon and semicolons here are literal and indicate the end of the ‘TAG’ and the end of a ‘PREFIX’ or ‘INDIVIDUAL-REFERENCE’ respectively.

An ‘INDIVIDUAL-REFERENCE’ has the format:


The ‘KEY’ is obligatory, and the prefix and suffix are optional.

A ‘PREFIX’ or ‘SUFFIX’ is arbitrary text (except ;, ], and citation keys).

[cite: See; @Mandelkern1981; and @Watson1953]
Parenthetical citation

Citations surrounded by parantheses. The syntax is identical to in-text citations, except for the additional parentheses enclosing the initial cite tag.

[(cite): See; @Mandelkern1981; and @Watson1953]     

14.1 Configure JabRef with ‘Chicago.ODF’ custom export

Set up JabRef with ‘Chicago.ODF’ custom export

Install Jabref16.

Navigate to ‘package-user-dir’, and locate the ‘JabrefExportChicagoODF-1.2.2.tar17. Extract it to get a set of ‘layout’ files.

Launch JabRef GUI. Navigate to ‘Options -> Manage custom exports’, and add an entry for each of the layout files as below.

Export nameMain layout fileExtension

Table 14.1: How to setup JabRef-5.0’s ‘Manage custom exports


Figure: Screenshot of JabRef-5.0’s ‘Manage custom exports

Verify that the Chicago ODF plugin is successfully registered. In a terminal, do

/opt/jabref/bin//JabRef -n -h

Ensure that the ‘Available export formats’ mentions the ‘Chicago.ODF’.

Available export formats: html, simplehtml, docbook5, docbook4, din1505,
bibordf, tablerefs, listrefs, tablerefsabsbib, harvard, iso690rtf,
iso690txt, endnote, oocsv, ris, misq, bibtexml, oocalc, ods, MSBib,
mods, xmp, pdf, Chicago.ODF.abstract, Chicago.ODF.biblio,
Chicago.ODF.footend, Chicago.ODF.footend.short, Chicago.ODF.note,
Chicago.ODF.reference, Chicago.ODF.text
Configure Emacs

Tell Emacs about ‘JabRef’’s executable.

Use this if you have ‘JabRef’ executable.

 '(org-jabref-command '("/opt/jabref/bin/JabRef" "-n")))

(require 'ox-jabref)

Use this if you have JabRef as a ‘jar’ file.

 '(org-jabref-command '("java -jar ~/Downloads/JabRef-2.9.2.jar" "-n")))

(require 'ox-jabref)

14.2 Example

  author = "Michel Goossens and Frank Mittelbach and Alexander Samarin",
  title = "The {\LaTeX}\space companion",
  publisher = "Addison-Wesley",
  year = 1994

  author = "Helmut Kopka and Patrick W. Daly",
  title = "A guide to {\LaTeXe}: document preparation
           for beginners and advanced users",
  publisher = "Addison-Wesley",
  year = 1995

  author = "Nicola L. C. Talbot",
  title = "{\LaTeX}\space for Complete Novices",
  volume = 1,
  publisher = "Dickmaw Books",
  series = "Dickimaw {\LaTeX}\space Series",
  note = "\url{\baseurl/latex/novices/}",
  year = 2012

  author = "Nicola L. C. Talbot",
  title = "Using {\LaTeX}\space to Write a Ph.D. Thesis",
  volume = 2,
  publisher = "Dickmaw Books",
  series = "The Dickimaw {\LaTeX}\space Series",
  note = "\url{\baseurl/latex/thesis/}",
  year = 2012
#+bib_file: "./biblatex-examples/novices.bib"
#+odt_jabref_citation_style: "Chicago (author-date)"

: Nicola L. C. Talbot in his book [cite:@novices; p. 97] says,

"If you have a large number of citations in your document, it's best
to use an external bibliographic application, such as =bibtex= or
=biber=. However, that is beyond the scope of this book.  See,
instead, /A Guide to LaTeX/ \cite{kopka95}, /The LaTeX Companion/
\cite{goossens94} or [[][Using LaTeX to Write a PhD Thesis]]


14.3 Sample Outputs

Sample output with #+ODT_JABREF_CITATION_STYLE: "Numeric"
Sample output with #+ODT_JABREF_CITATION_STYLE: "Chicago (full-note)"
Sample output with #+ODT_JABREF_CITATION_STYLE: "Chicago (author-date)"



See section titled Berkeley-style citations at




See Jabref Plugin for export to Chicago Manual of Style in OpenDocument format. This a port of Jabref’s Plugin for export to Chicago Manual of Style in RTF format.

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