Mendeley, bibtex and the web page citation fiasco

Here is a work-around for the insufficiently-functioning Mendeley bibtex export for web page/URL citations. The issue is that a) the URL is exported as ‘url =’ and not ‘howpublished =’ and b) there is no ‘last accessed’ (aka ‘last viewed’ or ‘last checked’) field…

This little workflow and command line might help someone.

  1. Create a separate collection for your webpage citations
  2. Move all webpage citations into the new collection and delete them from you default bibliography collection
  3. Mark all items of the webpage collection and go to File->Export…
  4. Choose webpage_temp.bib as your export target in your LaTeX tree
  5. Run the following command below
  6. Edit the new file webpages.bib and check that all the “Last Accessed” descriptors are OK (Mendeley does not export the “Last Accessed” field into bibtex; therefore a fixed date is used in there…)
  7. Use webpage.bib in your LaTeX file (example of how it looks below)

The command line is:

cat webpages_temp.bib | \
sed "s/url =/howpublished =/g" | \
sed "s/{http/{\\\url{http/g" | \
sed "s/howpublished.*}/& [Online. Last accessed: 2011-11-06]}/g" > webpages.bib

Here is an example of how it looks in the document (alpha style):

I use this little script in the make file for the LaTeX compilation. Works for me : )

The entry before the script (as it came from Mendeley):

@misc{Ishida2011,
author = {Ishida, Richard},
booktitle = {W3C},
keywords = {cultural name differences,name ambiguity,name structure},
title = {{Personal names around the world}},
url = {http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-personal-names},
year = {2011}
}

The same entry after the script:

@misc{Ishida2011,
author = {Ishida, Richard},
booktitle = {W3C},
keywords = {cultural name differences,name ambiguity,name structure},
title = {{Personal names around the world}},
howpublished = {\url{http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-personal-names} [Online. Last accessed: 2011-11-06]},
year = {2011}
}

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