Zettelkasten Forum

Question: How to manage citations in your Zettel notes using MultiMarkdown and BibDesk?

@ctietze said:
Since Rene advocates the Pandoc way here, let me chime in with MultiMarkdown:


I picked (and still prefer) MMD over Pandoc for Zettel notes because it's easy to make the notes self-contained by defining the citekey and its contents at the bottom of the note.

See Manage Citations for a Zettelkasten
from 2013 for some screenshots.

@ctietze, I have a few questions related to MultiMarkdown and BibDesk I would be very grateful if you could reply to:

  1. Do you use MMD for all your notes (why/why not)?
  2. When it comes to the settings in BibDesk, which you nicely describe here, I can see on this image that your Cite Command Style is set to \citet, where I have \cite. I don't know what difference that make, but it seems I cannot edit it manually. Could you help me out here?
  3. When you find a paper you would like to read, in for example Google Scholar, how do you go about adding the metadata and pdf to BibDesk? Are there any shortcuts add-ons to uses? I have so far used Emacs and helm-bib-tex, but I have had a very manual cut-and-paste workflow there when adding new references, so would be very happy to get some support here to get started quickly with BibDesk. I have one folder with all my pdfs and they are all named [citekey].pdf.


  • Good you split this off, deleted the duplicate from https://forum.zettelkasten.de/discussion/95/techniques-pdf-annotation to avoid confusion

    1. MMD is a superset of Markdown, so yes :) Note headers are now not MMD metadata blocks anymore but simple level-1-headings. Still valid Markdown/MMD.
    2. My current settings use \cite, too. I don't remember exactly, but I think it was a deliberate change form \citet when I found out how to set up LaTeX/BibLaTeX to use the format I want. You should be able to click into the text box in the BibDesk settings and just remove the "t" (or add it back in). Otherwise, sounds like a bug you should report.
    3. I don't work with papers much, so I'm fine with copy & paste. Still, I look for .bib file downloads (which are offered surprisingly often) directly on the website of publications, or of my local University's library. My PDF naming scheme is the same, btw.

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

  • Thanks for your quick reply, @ctietze! :)

  • @ctietze Stupid question maybe, but in order to write in MMD, is it necessary to use the file extension .mmd?

  • The short answer: No, you don't need to.

    The long answer: File extensions are used by macOS to determine which default app to open the file with when you run the open command in the Terminal or double-click the file in Finder. So if you have e.g. MMD Composer associated with .mmd files only and want easy interoperability, it could make sense to default to that extension.

    I only use .md to help e.g. Emacs and TextMate figure out which syntax to highlight. I don't distinguish between MMD/MD in these apps and go for MMD by default because it included MD.

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

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