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BibTeX was created by [[Oren Patashnik]] and [[Leslie Lamport]] in []. BibTeX makes it easy to cite sources in a consistent manner, by separating bibliographic information from the presentation of this information. This same principle of separation of content and presentation/style is used by LaTeX itself, by [[XHTML]] and [[Cascading Style Sheets|CSS]], etc.
BibTeX style files, for which the suffix <code>.bst</code> is common, are written in a simple, stack-based programming language that describes how bibliography items should be formatted. The BibTeX program <code>bibtex</code> will then format bibliographic items according to a style file, typically by generating TeX or LaTeX formatting commands. However, style files for generating [[HTML]] output also exist.
A <code>.bib</code> file might contain the following entry, which describes [[Abramowitz and Stegun|a mathematical handbook]]:
Formulas, Graphs, and Mathematical Tables",
isbn = "0-486-61272-4"