Help & FAQ

What is BibMe?

BibMe is an automated citation creator and bibliography generator. It can save you loads of time building and formatting your references, time that is understandably valuable and would be better served working on your paper. Don't want to spend countless hours typing in information about your educational references, or looking through the style manuals' rules? No problem! BibMe can find your source from external databases, fill in the information, and then accurately format the citation. Or, if you have the source in front of you, you can enter your entries in manually. Students can also learn how to properly cite their references by consulting the style manual guidelines (and plenty of example citations) on the "Citation Guide" page.

Where does the information used in Auto-fill Mode come from?

Among our sources of data are:

Is BibMe current with the most recent formatting style guides?

We make as much of an effort as possible to keep BibMe updated with the guidelines specified by the most recent editions of each style guide. Each of BibMe's format styles is current as of the manual editions listed below:

The APA manual was re-published in a 6th edition in 2009. We have acquired the new manual and are planning to update BibMe with the revised guidelines before the end of the 2010 spring semester.

What web development technologies and techniques did you use to build BibMe?

BibMe was built using the Ruby on Rails framework, and uses asynchronous Javascript for visual effects. BibMe also makes use of the Scriptaculous and Prototype Javascript libraries.

How do competing websites and services compare to BibMe?

  BibMe EasyBib NoodleBib RefWorks
Is a free service available? Yes Yes Yes (single citation only) No
Free bibliography formats supported MLA, APA, Chicago, & Turabian MLA MLA and APA N/A
Subscription-required bibliography formats supported N/A APA, Chicago, & Turabian N/A Over 800 formats (including MLA, APA, & Chicago)
Is Auto-filling entries supported? Yes Yes No No
Can I create a free personal account for saving bibliographies? Yes Yes No No
Can I export my bibliography to a word processor? Yes (RTF) Yes (RTF) Yes Yes (RTF, DOC, TXT, OBT)

What is the pane on the right side of the "Bibliography Maker" page for?

The pane on the right-hand side of the "Bibliography Maker" page is reserved space to show you the items you've added to your current bibliography. This section is called "My Bibliography." You can name or rename your bibliography by clicking on the pencil icon next to the bibliography title (by default, your bibliography's name will be "Untitled @", followed by the date and time you created it). From the "My Bibliography" pane, you can export your bibliography to a word processor, such as Microsoft Word, in the .rtf format by clicking "Download." If you have an account with BibMe, you can save your bibliography for later by clicking "Save to Account." Or if you need to scrap your current bibliography and start from scratch, simply choose "Start New Bibliography." In this section, you can also find some suggested sources that may be relevant to your research and may help you with your work.

How do I add an item to my bibliography?

On the "Bibliography Maker" page, click the colored tab for the source you need to add. If your source is not listed on its own tab, click the "Other" tab and check if it is listed in the drop-down list. For most tabs, there are two ways of adding your source to your bibliography: Auto-fill mode and Manual entry mode.

*Auto-fill mode allows you to search for your source by entering a keyword (e.g. title, author). Once you select your source from the search results, BibMe will fill in as much information as possible. It will then display the form fields with this information pre-filled into them, in case you would like to modify any of the fields. If there is any information BibMe cannot Auto-fill, an alert will display and the appropriate fields will be highlighted, indicating which fields you must correct.

Manual entry mode allows you to enter the entire entry on your own by manually inserting information into all of the fields. This is very handy if you cannot find your source from the Auto-fill mode search results, or you have your source in front of you and it is more convenient to type everything yourself.

*Auto-fill mode is available for book, magazine, newspaper, journal, and film.

There's too many search results. How can I find my source?

If you get too many results, try adding another keyword to your search query to limit results (for example, if you enter the title and get too many hits, add the author's name into the search field). If you are searching for a book, you can enter its ISBN number in the search field and find the exact source you need to cite.

How many bibliographies can I save?

By registering an account, you will be able to save as many bibliographies as you'd like. You can access these bibliographies by clicking the "My Saved Bibliographies" link from the navigation bar.

Why is a bibliography that I didn't choose to save listed on the "My Saved Bibliographies" page?

Whenever you start working on a new bibliography, BibMe automatically saves your progress. This is to ensure you don't lose your work if you encounter a technical problem (e.g. computer freezes, power outage). In any case, we still include a "Save to Account" button to accommodate those people comfortable with the concept of "saving".

What can I do with my saved bibliographies?

Once you have saved a bibliography to your account, you can open it at a later time by visiting the "My Saved Bibliographies" page and clicking the name of your bibliography in the My Saved Bibliographies box. A preview of your bibliography will load on the page, and you can further interact with it by clicking a button from the black toolbar. "Open & Edit" will load the bibliography in the website's "Bibliography Maker" page, allowing you to add, delete, and edit citations. "Share" will make your bibliography publicly viewable by generating a web address for it. "Download" will let you save your bibliography to an .rtf file, while "Rename" will allow you to change the name of your bibliography and "Delete" will erase it from your account.

What do tags do?

Once you have saved a bibliography to your account, you can "tag", or categorize individual citations. This will allow you to not only find individual citations easily, but it will also allow you to filter all your citations from all your bibliographies by a specific tag. To tag a citation, first visit the "My Saved Bibliographies" page and click on the name of a bibliography to load it. All of the citations in this bibliography will have an "Edit Tags" link next to them. If you click this link, a text field will appear, allowing you to type in whatever keywords you would like to tag your citation by. If you enter multiple tags, separate them by commas. Once you click "Save Tags", the tags you entered will appear not only beside your citation, but also within the My Tags box on the left side of the page.

Clicking on the name of any tag within the My Tags box will filter all of your citations (across all saved bibliographies) by this tag. Once you have this filtered list of tagged citations, you can do two things with it: clicking the "Save Tagged Citations as Bibliography" link will save the filtered list of tagged citations as a new bibliography, while clicking "Download Tagged Citations" will export this list into an ".rtf" file for use in a word processor.

I forgot my password. Can I reset it?

Yes. Beneath the log in form fields, you will find the "Forgot Your Password?" link. If you click it, you will be redirected to a page that requests the email address that you registered your account with. After your submit this information, you will be sent an email message containing a link that will redirect you to the "Reset Password" page. Here, you can enter a new password (one that you can hopefully remember better!).

How do I edit my account information?

When you are logged in, your name will display on the banner as a link. Clicking this link will load a form you can use to update your personal information. All changes to your profile require you to enter your current password for validation purposes. If you wish to update your password, you must first enter your current one.

Why isn't all the information I entered for a reference outputted in my citation?

Not every formatting style requires every piece of information that you entered. If at least one of the formatting styles requires a certain piece of information, BibMe makes it mandatory, in order for you to switch between formatting styles at will and still maintain a complete, error-free citation.

"x" information about my source is not available, but BibMe requires me to enter it. Why is that and is there a solution?

There are many reasons for this. First of all, if at least one of the formatting styles requires a certain piece of information, BibMe makes it mandatory, in order for you to switch between formatting styles at will and still maintain a complete, error-free citation. But more significantly, many of the style guides do not give comprehensive explanations as to what information is required, what is optional, and what is unnecessary. Many of the guidelines given for citations are open-ended. In some cases, only sample citations are given in the manuals, forcing us to interpret the guidelines ourselves. When in doubt, we err on the side of caution and make a piece of information mandatory. This is to ensure that our interpretation of the formatting guidelines does not interfere with you getting a reliable, correct citation. If BibMe is forcing you to enter information that is not available to you, enter in "dummy data" and remove it from your bibliography after you download it into an .rtf file.

Where can I learn how to properly cite a reference and follow the style manuals' guidelines?

The "Citation Guide" page provides the guidelines and standards commonly used today for citing bibliographical references in the MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian formats. The "Citation Guide" gives a brief overview of the rules that BibMe follows in generating your bibliographies, as well as plenty of example citations to aid you.

How can I report a bug or make a feature request?

You can send us an email at email address and we'll get back to you promptly. We love hearing from our users, so let us know what's on your mind!

Can I download my bibliography in BibTeX?

Unfortunately, we do not support this feature at this time, but we are very interested in implementing it at some point in the future. Stay tuned for any updates on our blog.