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LaTeX

I am a big fan of the typesetting system LaTeX and recommend its use for any type of academic writing. Regardless of the discipline. it is especially great for referencing and bibliography management. But also the result will just look much nicer than your Word document (or this website).

Course Materials

From time to time, I am teaching a LaTeX course to the philosophy students of the University of Turin (but it is open to anybody) and I explain why you should stop writing your papers in MS Word and use LaTeX instead. People also ask me about the course materials and so I have decided to make them available here for download. You can use them freely and modify/develop them with a CC BY-NC license.

Collaborating on LaTeX Documents

Some of my colleagues use the Overleaf server, but I advise against it and recommend the installation of LaTeX on your computer. The reasons are that Overleaf has restrictive terms and conditions (e.g., on the number of projects you can simultaeously work on), that updating the bibliography and other supplementary files is a mess, and that its internal debugging mechanism hides problems with your source code. Also, you cannot work offline. Unless you need to work simultaneously on the same parts of the document, it is almost always better to use a filesharing system like Dropbox or Box, and to split the LaTeX file if necessary.

Referencing and Bibliography Management

For managing the bibliography, I recommend the use of JabRef. It is rather simple and low-level, but it won't mess up your bibliography as Mendeley and Zotero sometimes do. Also, it has some advanced functions, like automatic extraction of the full reference details from the DOI, that greatly simply your life.

A note for advanced users: regarding the notorious bibtex vs. biber and natbib vs. biblatex controversy, I am a fervent supporter of the combo biber/biblatex. You should do the same (and you can still continue to use your old files with natbib commands). The handouts explain why.

Below some of my .bib reference files---feel free to use them without asking. Ted Sider also has good .bib files with an emphasis on topics in modal logic and metaphysics.

Enjoy!