SORTBIB(1) User Commands SORTBIB(1)


sortbib - sort a bibliographic database


sortbib [-s KEYS] database...


sortbib sorts files of records containing refer key-letters by user-
specified keys. Records may be separated by blank lines, or by `.[' and
`.]' delimiters, but the two styles may not be mixed together. This
program reads through each database and pulls out key fields, which are
sorted separately. The sorted key fields contain the file pointer, byte
offset, and length of corresponding records. These records are delivered
using disk seeks and reads, so sortbib may not be used in a pipeline to
read standard input.

The most common key-letters and their meanings are given below.

Author's name

Book containing article referenced

City (place of publication)

Date of publication

Editor of book containing article referenced

Footnote number or label (supplied by refer)

Government order number

Header commentary, printed before reference

Issuer (publisher)

Journal containing article

Keywords to use in locating reference

Label field used by -k option of refer

Bell Labs Memorandum (undefined)

Number within volume

Other commentary, printed at end of reference

Page number(s)

Corporate or Foreign Author (unreversed)

Report, paper, or thesis (unpublished)

Series title

Title of article or book

Volume number

Abstract -- used by roffbib, not by refer

Ignored by refer

By default, sortbib alphabetizes by the first %A and the %D fields, which
contain the senior author and date.

sortbib sorts on the last word on the %A line, which is assumed to be the
author's last name. A word in the final position, such as `jr.' or `ed.',
will be ignored if the name beforehand ends with a comma. Authors with
two-word last names or unusual constructions can be sorted correctly by
using the nroff convention `\0' in place of a blank. A %Q field is
considered to be the same as %A, except sorting begins with the first,
not the last, word. sortbib sorts on the last word of the %D line,
usually the year. It also ignores leading articles (like `A' or `The')
when sorting by titles in the %T or %J fields; it will ignore articles of
any modern European language. If a sort-significant field is absent from
a record, sortbib places that record before other records containing that

No more than 16 databases may be sorted together at one time. Records
longer than 4096 characters will be truncated.


Specify new KEYS. For instance, -sATD will sort by author,
title, and date, while -sA+D will sort by all authors, and
date. Sort keys past the fourth are not meaningful.


addbib(1), indxbib(1), lookbib(1), refer(1), roffbib(1), attributes(7)


Records with missing author fields should probably be sorted by title.

September 14, 1992 SORTBIB(1)