biblook(1) lookup entries in a bibliography file


biblook basename [savefile]


biblook permits rapid lookup in a BibTeX bibliography database, using a compact binary index file prepared by bibindex(1).

At the prompt, the user can enter any of the following commands:

? or h[elp]
Display a brief help message.
f[ind] [not] <field> <words>
Find the entries containing the given words in any field with a prefix matching the <field> argument. For example, `a' matches both `author' and `address', and `au' matches `author' only. If the <field> argument is `-' (or any string with no letters or numbers), match any field.
If `not' appears before the <field>, the sense of the search is reversed. The symbols `~' and `!' can be used in place of `not'.
Each word is a contiguous sequence of letters and digits. Case is ignored; accents should be omitted; apostrophes are not required. Single characters and a few common words are also ignored. There is basic support for pattern matching using the characters ? and *, which match respectively a single character and a multi-character string, including the null string. Thus, `algorithm??' matches `algorithmic', `algorithmes', and `Algorithmen'; and `*oint*' matches `point', `points', `pointer', `endpoint', `disjoint', etc. However at present patterns beginning with ? cannot be used, as the parser mistakes them for a help request.

and [not] <field> <words>
or [not] <field> <words>
Intersect (resp. union) the results of the given search with the previous search. Several of these commands may be combined on a single line. Commands are handled in the order in which they appear; there is no precedence. Unlike other commands, and like `not', these must be spelled out completely. `&' can be used in place of `and', and `|' can be used in place of `or'.

Display the results of the previous search.

s[ave] [<filename>]
Save the results of the previous results into the specified file. If <filename> is omitted, the previous save file is used. If no save file has ever been specified, results are saved in the file specified on the command line. If no such file is specified, `save.bib' is used. If the save file exists, results are appended to it.

w[hatis] <abbrev>
Display the definition of the abbreviation <abbrev>.


Several commands can be combined on a single line by separating them with semicolons. For example, the following command displays all STOC papers cowritten by Erdo"s without `Voronoi diagrams' in the title:

f b stoc* | b symp* theory comp* & au erdos & ~t voronoi diagrams ; d


Search path for BibTeX database files named on the command line. If BIBLOOKPATH is not set, biblook defaults to BIBINPUTS. If neither variable is set, the files are assumed to be in the current directory.


Jeff Erickson <[email protected]>, Bill Jones <[email protected]>, and Rafael Laboissiere <[email protected]> with significant contributions from Nelson Beebe, Sariel Har-Peled, and Erik Schoenfelder.

The most current version of biblook and bibindex is archived at the URL "".