Bibliographic database on Writer

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Apache OpenOffice offers a bibliographic database solution based on Base. Unlike external solutions, this bibliographic database do not help the user to gather information, but it is quite capable in organizing the information and on including the references on a document: even if it need some customization before obtaining good results, the bibliographic database is a useful tool that deserves more attention.

Working on the bibliographic database implies working on two different levels: the database and the bibliographic index. It is then highly recommended to read the Indexes and Tables entry on the Writer's guide first.

The database

Tools → Bibliography database


As it is possible to see on the screenshot, many entries are preloaded on the database (mainly outdated) as an example. It is possible to delete any entry by Edit → Delete Record.

To create a new entry it is enough to place the cursor on an empty line or to insert a new one with Insert → Record and then fill the needed fields on the lower part of the window.

The available options are quite clear, so we will not detail them. As a note, it is important to choose a good Short name because that short name will be used to identify the entry when inserting the reference on the document.

Inserting the References on a Document

On a Writer document, Isert → Indexes and Tables → Bibliography Entry


When inserting the entry on the document, it will be displayed through its short name: we will be able to change this later.

As it is possible to see on the screen shot, it is possible to insert the entry from the bibliographic database or from a local source included on the document (the option From document content): by selecting this second option, the button  New  will become active: with a click on it, a window will open asking for the information for a new entry. This entry will not be copied on the database, will only live on the document.



The Bibliographic Index

Insert → Indexes and Tables → Indexes and Tables → Index tab and under Type select Bibliography. By selecting Number entries the short names will be replaced by numbers. Here it is also possible to select which kind of brackets we want around the entry. Unfortunately it is not possible to automatically apply a character style to the entries: this must be done by hand.


The Entries tab is quite similar to the corresponding tab on the table of content indexes and the way to modify the Structure elements is almost the same (instead of buttons, there is a drop down menu with the available elements). The main difference is that now we have several categories (Article, Book, Thesis...) and that each of these categories have several available elements (author, year, page...). As with normal indexes, each element accept a character style: you can set the index to show on italics the book name and on bold the page numbers, for example.

On this Entries tab it is also possible to select how the index entries will be sorted: by document position (default) or by Content. Sorting by Content it is possible to set different sort keys.

The other three tabs (Styles, Columns, Background) work are identical to the corresponding tabs on normal indexes.


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