# [texhax] Re: unused bibliography entries

Jan-Martin Wagner jmartin at j13.physik.uni-jena.de
Tue Oct 14 16:40:26 CEST 2003

On 12 July 2003 I wrote:

>> I have a question concerning references: How to get a complete
>> correspondence between the \cite commands in the text and the
>> \bibitem entries in the bibliography?
>> As far as I know, standard LaTeX only detects missing \bibitem
>> entries and in that case issues a warning ("There were undefined
>> references").

Robin Fairbairns replied (same day):

> because that's the only information that latex is in a position to
> maintain.

We continued:

>> Now, I'm looking for the opposite: Is it possible to automatically
>> check that *all* \bibitem entries are referred to by corresponding
>> \cite commands? How to make LaTeX issue a warning like "There were
>> unused bibliography entries"?

> the best way is not to start from where you are: use bibtex, which
> will build a thebibliography environment for you, from your
> bibliographic database.
> the alternative is trial-and-error removing suspect entries from your
> thebibliography environment, and recompiling twice to see if a warning
> appears.
> unless you want to write an alternative set of citation commands that
> remember whether any given citation has been used.

Now, I just came across the "drftcite.sty" package by Donald Arseneau
which does the checking I was looking for:

»Drftcite keeps track of which references were cited, and issues
warnings for bibliography items that were never cited in the text.«

I thought that could be interesting to know.

Jan-Martin Wagner

(jmartin at ifto.physik.uni-jena.de)