Mhra Bibliography Style Latex


I use LaTeX for writing academic papers – it takes care of the formatting and referencing, so I can concentrate on generating the content. This page is intended to document my experiences with setting up LaTeX for generating PDFs which meet the style guide required for Common Awards (the academic side of the Church of England’s ordination training).

LaTeX is a type-setting suite, which can create typeset documents from a simple marked up text file. It takes care of all the formatting, page breaks, line spaces, margins, and so on, based on the style of document you instruct it to create. There is some abiguity over which reference formats are allowed – the template below does MHRA, but I think it’s moving to Harvard. It should be straightforward to adapt. The only gotcha is that submissions go through TurnItIn, which can be a bit sniffy about pdflatex, so I had to add to generate PDFs with the correct ligature encoding.

It will assume that you already know how to produce a document in LaTeX (or are willing to learn), and can structure your files and folders sensibly! There are many and varied tutorials on the web for how to use LaTeX, e.g.

If you need convincing, I typed the following text into my template LaTeX File:

An example document, complete with a long citation of Johnson,\cite{Johnson10}
and a shorter (subsequent) one with page numbers.
\citetitle[pp.\@ 1--4]{Johnson10}

Notice also that ``reflection'' is recognised by copy and paste, so it plays nicely with \textit{TurnItIn}.

\textbf{Word Count: xx words}

ran LaTex, and and this is what came out of the other end: Student-A-TMM1234-A2


This is the easy bit –  download and install ProTeXt as per the instructions on the proTeXt project page.

There are a couple of extra packages which are also needed, but I think these arrive by magic once included in a document.


I maintain a single BibTex file that’s broadly categorised (“Old Testament”, “Mission”, etc), and lives in the root (top) folder of my ordination training storage space.
All the books/articles which I have read go in here, so I can easily and consistently cite them in my essays.

This is an extract from my bibliography:

  Author = "Luke Timothy Johnson",
  Title = "The Writings of the {N}ew {T}estament",
  Shorttitle="New Testament",
  Publisher="Fortress Press",
  Address = "Minneapolis",

The above entry will create footnote citations that look like this:

1 Luke Timothy Johnson, The Writings of the New Testament, 3rd edition (Minneapolis:  Fortress Press), p. N.
2 Johnson, New Testament, p.  N.

And then in the bibliography:
Johnson, Luke Timothy, The Writings of the New Testament, 3rd edition (Minneapolis: Fortress Press).

Hopefully you can start to see the advantage of this approach – all I have to do is to in my essay, and these beauties will magically appear, styled according to the reference guidelines, as per the example at the top of the page.

Notes on BibTex

  1. Lines starting % are comments, and are ignored.
  2. Spaces don’t matter.
  3. The first line (““) is the citation key, and is how you will reference this book in your essays.
  4. You must always include of these fields, except for Edition, which is optional.
  5. The braces force the capital letters of New Testament, as sometimes LaTex changes the case.
  6. There are lots of entry types. I have only shown a entry, but you also have articles, collections, web pages, …

LaTeX pragma

I had lots of fun and games getting the styles to work correctly, and have settled on a standard template document which sets me off!

It looks like the following (you can also download it as a LaTeX file via this link: Student-A-TMM1234-A2 — note this will come down as “.txt”, so will need to renamed “.tex”)

The highlighted sections are the bits I have to change when writing a specific essay – everything else just stays the same.

% This fontenc ensures ligature's are compatible with text exports.
\lhead{Prof. Theophilus}
\rhead{Essay on a Theological Topic}
\rfoot{1 January 2000}

titleformat=italic,% Titles in italic title
commabeforerest,% A comma after title
citefull=first,% The first citing in full form
oxford,% The oxford style
super,% Footnotes
see,% An extra optional argument as a prenote idem


\def\PreTrib{} \def\PostTrib{} % We'll do our own parens, thanks!


\def\V#1 {\raisebox{.5ex}{\scriptsize#1}}


TMM1234 --- Theology For Beginners \\
Assignment 1 --- Essay on a Theological Topic
\\ Prof. Theophilus}
\author{Name: A. Student}
\date{Due: Noon, 1 January 2000 }



An example document, complete with a long citation of Johnson,\cite{Johnson10}
and a shorter (subsequent) one with page numbers.
\citetitle[pp.\@ 1--4]{Johnson10}

Notice also that ``reflection'' is recognised by copy and paste, so it plays nicely with \textit{TurnItIn}.

\textbf{Word Count: xx words}


\bibliographystyle{jox} %instead of the normal one, this is jurabib oxford style


Notes on LaTex

  1. % indicates the start of a comment, and everything after it is ignored.
  2. Spaces don’t matter.
  3. The block after sets up the page headers and footers.
  4. The bit is setting up the citation format. These are the magic runes that get it close enough to count.
  5. does the title page.
  6. The reference is to the aforementioned bibliography file. It tells BibTex to look for a file called 3 directories up.

Running PdfLaTeX, BibTex, PdfLaTeX, PdfLaTeX produces the delightful PDF above.

Word Counts

Just a quick mention of word counts. I use ProTeXt’s analysis as the basis of my word count. It will count every word which isn’t a LaTeX command or a comment, but will count words inside the command. For instance will add 3 words to the total word count. This of course means that out of the box it isn’t an exact word count of the actual words in the document, because some commands can result in more or fewer words in the output than the command held. It should be noted that no word count system actually counts every word in the document in any case – for instance the page number on each page doesn’t contribute to the page count, and (more significantly) neither does the bibliography normally.

This cuts both ways in my template; for example the bibliography will count as two words “theology” and “jox”, whereas by standard it would count as none. On the other hand references will also only count as a single word. That is to say, will count as a single word by ProTeXt’s reckoning (“Johnson10”), but in terms of words in the PDF at the end there will be an additional 14 words in a footnote the first time, and an additional 3 thereafter. On the other hand, if you were using Harvard, it would only add two words “(Johnson, 2010)”. Likewise, the page headers and footers will count once, not once per page.

How you take this into account depends greatly on your (and your institutions) intepretation of the rules and principles of the word count, and that’s not for me to say! I just wanted to highlight it as something to be aware of, particular if you use custom commands/definitions, which might introduce a significant mismatch.

This article, which follows on from my previous article on LaTeX, aims to introduce historians to using the bibliographical aspects of LaTeX. Organising a bibliography by hand can be a real pain, especially when you have to tailor your citation style to where you are aiming for publication. This can lead to writing the bibliography multiple times in different styles. Even using bibliographical database software such as Zotero or Endnote, this can be a pain. However, there is a better way: let LaTeX take care of it.

There is a better way: let LaTeX take care of it.

From the outset, LaTeX has been able to perform bibliography management; however, over the years numerous packages have been developed to enhance the basic bibliography. These packages range from those that add more citation styles to those that completely rethink how bibliographies should be interpreted. Here we introduce BibLaTeX Chicago. This LaTeX package enhances the BibLaTeX package, which is one of the more popular bibliography interpreter packages, by providing the 15th and 16th editions of Chicago Manual of Style.

This article will have two sections:

  1. A basic introductory guide to creating a LaTeX document.
  2. An overview of using BibLaTeX Chicago.

Introduction to LaTeX

We begin by covering the basics of writing in LaTeX (for a more in depth guide see the excellent guide by ShareLaTeX) before diving straight into using BibLaTeX Chicago. The LaTeX document can be divided into two sections, the preamble which tells LaTeX about how you want to set-up the document, including which additional packages LaTeX should use, and the main document which is the text to include. The main document is framed by the commands \begin{document} and \end{document}.

In LaTeX, there are a set of special characters which alter the behaviour of subsequent characters. We will briefly cover two of these special characters. The first of these is the backslash. The backslash marks the start of a sequence that is to be treated as a command, such as \begin{} which marks the beginning of a section. The second important character is the percentage symbol. This symbol marks the beginning of a comment, whereby the following text on the line only adds information to the writer and is not interpreted by LaTeX. This leads to the problem of how to include a backslash or percentage symbol in the text. The usual way to display these symbols is to proceed them with a backslash.


The preamble appears before the main document frame. There are a few important features that the preamble must contain.

To begin creating a LaTeX document, you first tell it which document class and which additional options you wish to use. The document class is essentially the style guide LaTeX uses when creating your document. There are hundreds of options for the document class to choose from. If you are using a premade thesis template, they will most likely have set this up for you with their own custom class. Here we will set-up our LaTeX document using the scrartcl class from the Koma script package.

Now type this into the document:


Following the class declaration, we will load two packages, both of which are automatically installed with a typical TeX Live LaTeX install. LaTeX packages modify the behaviour and add further capabilities to LaTeX. The two packages we will load are inputenc and graphicsx. Packages are loaded into the document using the \usepackage{} or \requirepackage{} commands.

These commands are essentially equivalent and are both seen in various LaTeX documents. Their only difference is in how they handle errors. The name of the package you wish to load is entered between the curly brackets. If the package accepts options to customise its behaviour these are added in between square brackets before the curly brackets.

We will first set up the text encodings of the document by calling the inputenc package. There are a variety of ways in which text characters can be encoded on a computer. Here we will set the encodings option to UTF-8, this is one of the more common text encodings. This line should always be included in a document. If in doubt, set it to utf8 and see what happens.

In this example we will include a figure. LaTeX does not know what to do with figures by default. The graphicsx package is included which tells LaTeX what to do with an image.

\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc} \usepackage{graphicx}

The title and author information for the document are set in the preamble so they can be included in the metadata for the document. However, they will only appear in the document if you tell LaTeX to include them in the main text. Additionally with many of the document classes you can include a date field. This is usually set by default to the current date.

\title{Bibliographies for Historians} \author{Richard Gunning} %date{March 2015}

That concludes setting up the preamble section. Our document now knows everything it needs to compile the document.

Main Document

The main document section is where you write the text which you want to appear in the final document. This section is started by \begin{document} and closed by \end{document}. In this example we will start by putting the title and author information at the start of the page. To do this we use the command \maketitle.

\begin{document} \maketitle

Now we will add a section header called “Section 1” and add some basic text to this section. There are several levels within a document. The template will do different things with each of these levels. The levels are:

  1. chapter
  2. section
  3. subsection
  4. paragraph

In this document, the highest level will be a section.

LaTeX will automatically treat consecutive lines of text as part of the same paragraph. To separate paragraphs you must leave a blank line in between, or start a paragraph with \paragraph{}.

\section{Section 1} There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

We will now insert a figure into our document. The \begin{figure} command starts a figure environment. This essentially groups the different elements (image(s), caption(s)) that go into the figure together. The [h!] option tells the LaTeX to force the figure to go here. By default LaTeX attempts to find the best placement for the figure. Other options are t or b, which tell LaTeX to put the figure at the top or bottom of a page. A figure will always be placed where it fits in the document best, i.e. it will avoid breaking paragraphs.

\begin{figure}[h!] \centering % This command tells Latex to center align everything in the figure environment \includegraphics[scale=1.7]{universe.jpg} % This command is where you tell Latex which figure file to use and how big it should be. \caption{The Universe} % Here we add a caption to the figure, placed below the image. \label{fig:universe} % This label is not visible. It allows us to reference this image later using the name fig:universe \end{figure}

Finally, for this basic introduction to LaTeX, we will add a second section where we will demonstrate referencing the figure and sections. Adding the \label{} command with a unique name to a section environment enables you to reference that section at a later time. In the previous example we labelled the figure “fig:universe”. Now whenever you want to reference that figure you just call the reference command, \ref{}, with the same unique name. The same can be done to reference sections.

\section{Section 2} \label{section:section2} We will now reference the figure \ref{fig:universe}. This points to the label in the figure environment. We can also label sections so that we can reference them. The label command will always link to the environment it is in, so a figure if placed between \begin{figure} and \end{figure}, and a section if following a \section command. We will now reference section \ref{section:conclusion}.

The final step for creating our document is to tell the document where the end is. We will add the line


to the end of the file.

With that we have created a working document which will compile into a PDF with no errors.

BibLaTeX Chicago

In the next stage of this document I will present a worked example of using BibLaTeX Chicago Manual of Style.

This part of the text goes into the beginning of your LaTeX file, after you have sent your document class.

The BibLaTeX style asks for several packages to be included to work properly, although it works with just csquotes and Babel. Babel adds multilingual support to LaTeX. Csquotes adds context sensitive quotation facilities. Knowing the details of what they do is not too important, but it is necessary to include these:

\usepackage{etex} \usepackage{etoolbox} \usepackage{keyval} \usepackage{ifthen} \usepackage{url} \usepackage[american]{babel} \usepackage[babel]{csquotes}

The next step is to include the BibLaTeX package, telling it to use Chicago style. BibLaTeX Chicago defaults to using the 16th edition of Chicago Manual of Style, but this can be overridden to the 15th edition if required (change notes to notes15). There are two equivalent methods of loading BibLaTeX Chicago. The notes style of Chicago Manual of Style used here puts citations as footnotes.




For a full list of options suppliable to BibLaTeX Chicago, see the manual.

The next important step is to tell LaTeX to use your bibliography file. This can be done using the \addbibresource{} or \bibliography{} commands pointing them to your .bib file.


BibLaTeX uses a style-independent text-based file format for lists of bibliographic items, such as articles, books, and theses. BibTeX bibliography file names usually end in .bib. A BibLaTeX database contained in a .bib file is formed by “entries” (each corresponding to a bibliographical item, e.g. a journal paper or a conference paper) and each entry is formed by “fields” (e.g., “author”, “year”, “title”). Entries have the following format.

@book{adams1995hitchhiker, title={The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy}, author={Adams, D.}, isbn={9781417642595}, url={}, year={1995}, publisher={San Val}, pages={1--900} }

Importantly, the first bit of text after the curly bracket is the entry key, so in this case it is {adams1995hitchhiker. This key is used to reference the item later. For multiple bibliography items it is usually best to get a bibliography manager such as Zotero to generate the file.

The last options we will include in the preamble tells LaTeX how the to section the bibliography. Here we are setting the bibliography to sit at the section level.


Adding Citations

Calling citations within a LaTeX document is relatively easy. I will focus on adding footnote citations using the \autocite{} command. For the basic command, all that is required is to add the bib entry key between the curly brackets.

``I always thought something was fundamentally wrong with the universe'' \autocite{adams1995hitchhiker}.

However, sometimes it may be required to add more than just the basic citation to the footnote. The \autocite{} command accepts two sets of options both in square brackets. The first set of square brackets adds the text that will precede the citation. The second set of square brackets sets a page range. In Chicago Manual of style, page numbers are added after the citation without p or pp. Setting page ranges like this overrides any page ranges in the bibliography file.

Here we will cite pages 1 to 2 \autocite[see][1--2]{adams1995hitchhiker}.

What if you want to reference several works in a single footnote? BibLaTeX Chicago adds a \autocites command. This will accept an unlimited number of citations to include in a single footnote. This command is a bit more complex with its options.

Following the autocites command name are two sets of round brackets. These contain the text that precedes and proceeds the whole footnote. Next are two sets of square brackets followed by a pair of curly brackets. These have the same function as above and add prenote text and page numbers to individual references. You can add as many sets of square and curly brackets as required for your footnote.

Use the \autocites{} command \autocites(This goes before everything)(This goes after everything)[Before the first citation][Page]{Nobody06}[Before the second citation][Page]{adams1995hitchhiker}

Another way of adding citations in footnotes is by using \Cite{} command from within the \footnote{} command. This command allows you write whatever you would like in the footnote, placing the citation(s) where you choose.

\footnote{You can write anything here and include a cite command wherever you want \Cite{Nobody06}}

Adding the Bibliography

Finally, we will add the bibliography to the document. A bibliographical file can contain unused entries. By default, these will not be included into the bibliography. To add unused references to the bibliography, include the command \nocite{} with either a specific citation key, comma separated list of citation keys, or a star indicating all entries.

The actual bibliography is included into the document using the \printbibliography command. This command can take further options in square brackets trailing the command. For this example, we will add a second bibliography which only lists the books cited in the document.

\printbibliography % Now if we only want to include some of the bibliography items of a specific type, or split the bibliography by type we can do this. % Here we define a bibliography heading of books, which will be a subsubsection \defbibheading{Books}{\subsubsection*{Books}} % This command can be moved to the preamble \printbibliography[heading=Books,type=book] % This command then tells LaTeX to use the Books bibliography heading, which we've just defined as a subsubsection which only contains items of type book

With the commands shown in this introduction to using BibLaTeX Chicago, we have worked through the various steps involved in creating a LaTeX document and adding citations. A full worked example of this guide can be found here. One of the biggest issues in the humanities is the lack of LaTeX citation styles to choose from. This is a result of the lack of historians making active use of LaTeX. It is hoped that this guide will encourage more historians to begin using LaTeX. As a result of this programmers will develop the tools required by historians. As with my previous article, if you have any questions regarding BibLaTeX, don’t hesitate to get in contact through the comments.






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