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var citationJs = require("citation-js")

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citation-js v0.3.4

Citation.js converts formats like BibTeX, Wikidata JSON and ContentMine JSON to CSL-JSON to convert to other formats like APA, Vancouver and back to BibTeX.


Citation.js converts formats like BibTeX, Wikidata JSON and ContentMine JSON to CSL-JSON to convert to other formats like APA, Vancouver and back to BibTeX.

NPM version NPM total downloads Build Status Dependency Status codecov license

Thanks to JS.ORG for providing the domain:


Table of Contents

Get Started



Install the package (citation-js) like this:

npm install citation-js


npm i citation-js

To use the Cite constructor, require() the module like this:

const Cite = require('citation-js')


To install the CLI, do this:

npm install --global citation-js


npm i -g citation-js

Run the CLI like this:

citation-js  [options]


  -h, --help                      output usage information
  -V, --version                   output the version number
  -i, --input <path>              Input file
  -u, --url <url>                 Input url
  -t, --text <string>             Input text
  -o, --output <path>             Output file (omit file extension)
  -R, --output-non-real           Do not output the file in its mime type, but as a string
  -f, --output-type <option>      Output structure type: string, html, json
  -s, --output-style <option>     Ouput scheme. A combination of --output-format json and --output-style citation-* is considered invalid. Options: csl (Citation Style Lanugage JSON), bibtex, citation-* (where * is any formatting style)
  -l, --output-language <option>  Output language. [RFC 5646]( codes


Download citation.js (citation.min.js), include it in you page, and you can require('citation-js') to get the Cite contructor.

<script src="path/to/citation.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
  const Cite = require('citation.js')


const Cite = require('citation-js')
const data = new Cite('Q21972834')

const output = data.get({
  format: 'string',
  type: 'html',
  style: 'citation-apa',
  lang: 'en-US'


To test this code, go to RunKit.



Use the object constructor Cite() to parse input and get output.


Make a Cite object like this:

var example = new Cite( <data>, <options> )
  1. In the first parameter you pass the input data. Input types
  2. In the second parameter you pass the options.


  • output: Default output options, used when calling Cite#get().
  • maxChainLength: Max number of parsing iterations (before giving up). Default: 10.
  • generateGraph: Generate a parsing chain graph. Holds info on how an entry was parsed. Default: true.
  • forceType: Force parsing as a certain type, if the type checking methods fail (or are slow, and you already know what the input type is, etc.).

Input types

Input type doesn't have to be specified. The identifiers below are used by internal functions.

  • api/doi: URL in the form of http[s]://$DOI where $DOI is the DOI
  • string/doi: A DOI surrounded by whitespace
  • list/doi: A whitespace-separated list of DOIs
  • array/doi: An array of strings of type string/doi
  • There's no url/doi, because that's equivalent to api/doi through DOI Content Negotiation
  • There's no object/doi, because the API output is CSL-JSON (it currently does need some minor changes, see CrossRef/rest-api-doc#222).
  • url/wikidata: URL with Wikidata Entity ID. Gets and parses the entity data
  • list/wikidata: List of Wikidata Entity IDs, separated by spaces, newlines or commas. Gets and parses the entity data
  • string/wikidata: Single Wikidata Entity ID. Gets and parses the entity data
  • array/wikidata: Array of strings of type string/wikidata
  • api/wikidata: Wikidata API URL. Gets and parses the entity data
  • object/wikidata: Wikidata Entity data. Parses the entity data
  • string/bibtex: BibTeX string. Parses the data
  • object/bibtex: BibTeX JSON. Nothing special, or standardised. Parses the data
  • string/bibtxt: Bib.TXT string. Parses the data
  • object/contentmine: Actually BibJSON, all references to ContentMine will be removed when the parser is fully done. Parses the data
  • object/csl: CSL-JSON. Adds the data
  • array/csl: Array of CSL-JSON. Adds the data
Intermediary formats

These formats are not input-ready, but are rather parsed and re-evaluated, e.g. html/else (DOM element) to string/json to json/csl.

  • string/json: JSON or JavaScript Object string. Parses and re-evaluates the data
  • jquery/else: jQuery element. Fetches and re-evaluates the contents
  • html/else: HTML DOM element. Fetches and re-evaluates the contents
  • url/else: URL. Fetches and re-evaluates the file
  • array/else: JavaScript array. Re-evaluates every element in the array


When using the Cite#get() function, your output depends on the options you pass. If you don't pass any options, the values you passed as default are used. When you didn't pass default options, standard options are passed.


  • format: The output format: "real" (default) or "string"
  • type: The output type. See Type
  • style: The output style. See Style
  • lang: The language of the output. See Locales
  • prepend: Function taking source CSL-JSON as input or constant string to prepend to each element
  • append: Same, but appending


  • string: String representation of JSON/HTML/String (doesn't do much in the last example)
  • real (default): Actual JSON Object, HTML DOM Element (if possible, else string anyway) or a string


  • json (default): Output as JSON. Not possible together with style: 'citation-*'
  • html: Output as HTML
  • string: Output as string


  • csl (default): Outputs raw CSL-JSON data
  • bibtex: Outputs a BibTeX string, or BibTeX-JSON if type: "json"
  • bibtxt: Outputs a Bib.TXT string, or BibTeX-JSON if type: "json"
  • citation-*: Formatted citation, formatted with citeproc-js. * is a CSL Template name


The value passed to the append/prepend options is either

  1. a constant string or
  2. a callback taking a parameter entry, a CSL-JSON object, and returning HTML or plain text

that should either be appended or prepended to the corresponding entry in the outputted bibliography. Example:

const Cite = require('citation-js')
const data = new Cite('Q30000000')

const date = (new Date()).toLocaleDateString()

  type: 'html',
  style: 'citation-apa',
  prepend ({id}) {
    return `[${id}]: `
  append: ` [Retreived on ${date}]`

Or in older JavaScript:

var Cite = require('citation-js')
var data = new Cite('Q30000000')

  type: 'html',
  style: 'citation-apa',
  prepend: function (entry) {
    return '[' + + ']: '
  append: ' [Retrieved on ' + date + ']'

This prepends [$ID]: to each entry, where $ID is the ID of that entry, and appends [Retrieved on $DATE], where $DATE is today (constant for all entries).

Functionality only available when using citation-* styles

CSL Templates

Currently, the following CSL Templates are built-in in Citation.js:

  • apa (default)
  • vancouver
  • harvard1

Different CSL Templates can be registered like this:

var templateName = 'custom'
var template = '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?><style ...>...</style>' // The actual XML file

Cite.CSL.register.addTemplate(templateName, template)

var data = new Cite(...)
  format: 'string',
  type: 'html',
  style: 'citation-' + templateName,
  lang: 'en-US'

Replace templateName with the template name you want to use.

CSL Locales

Currently, the following CSL Locales are built-in in Citation.js:

  • en-US (default)
  • es-ES
  • de-DE
  • fr-FR
  • nl-NL

Different CSL Locales can be registered like this:

var language = 'en-GB'
var locale = '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?><locale ...>...</locale>' // The actual XML file

Cite.CSL.register.addLocale(language, locale)

var data = new Cite(...)
  format: 'string',
  type: 'html',
  style: 'citation-apa',
  lang: language


Cite instances have some more functions:

  • Cite#options(<options>): Change default options
  • Cite#set(<data>): Replace all data with new data
  • Cite#add(<data>): Add data
  • Cite#reset(): Remove all data and options
  • Cite#currentVersion(): Get current version number
  • Cite#retrieveVersion(<version number>): Retrieve a certain version of the object
  • Cite#retrieveLastVersion(): Retrieve the last saved version of the object
  • Cite#undo(<number>): Restore the n to last version (default: 1)
  • Cite#save(): Save the current object
  • Cite#sort(): Sort all entries on basis of their BibTeX label

Cite#set() and Cite#get() also have async variants (Cite#setAsync() and Cite#addAsync()), which return Promises.


Every Cite instance is an Iterator, so you can loop over an instance with for of:

const data = new Cite([{id: 1}, {id: 2}, {id: 3}])
const array = []

for (let item of data) {

array // [1, 2, 3]

Internal functions

Cite holds most internal functions, too. These are documented here and can be accessed like this:

Note that most get* functions expect CSL-JSON normalised with Cite.parse.csl: [Function: parseCsl].

{ [Function: Cite]
  async: [Function: async],
   { bibtex: 
      { json: [Function: getBibTeXJSON],
        text: [Function: getBibTeX],
        label: [Function: getBibTeXLabel],
        type: [Function: fetchBibTeXType] },
     bibtxt: [Function: getBibTxt],
      { htmlDict: [Object],
        textDict: [Object] },
     json: [Function: getJSON],
     date: [Function: getDate],
     name: [Function: getName],
     label: [Function: getLabel] },
   { style: [Function: fetchCSLStyle],
     locale: [Function: fetchCSLLocale],
     engine: [Function: fetchCSLEngine],
     item: [Function: fetchCSLItemCallback],
      { addTemplate: [Function: addTemplate],
        addLocale: [Function: addLocale],
        getTemplate: [Function: getTemplate],
        getLocale: [Function: getLocale],
        hasTemplate: [Function: hasTemplate],
        hasLocale: [Function: hasLocale] } },
   { input: 
      { type: [Function: parseInputType],
        data: [Function: parseInputData],
        chain: [Function: parseInput],
        chainLink: [Function: parseInputChainLink],
         { data: [Function: parseInputDataAsync],
           chain: [Function: parseInputAsync],
           chainLink: [Function: parseInputChainLinkAsync] } },
      { list: [Function: parseWikidata],
        json: [Function: parseWikidataJSON],
        prop: [Function: parseWikidataProp],
        type: [Function: fetchWikidataType],
         { json: [Function: parseWikidataJSONAsync],
           prop: [Function: parseWikidataPropAsync] } },
      { json: [Function: parseBibTeXJSON],
        text: [Function: parseBibTeX],
        prop: [Function: parseBibTeXProp],
        type: [Function: parseBibTeXType] },
      { text: [Function: parseBibTxt],
        textEntry: [Function: parseBibTxtEntry] },
     bibjson: [Function: parseContentMine],
      { id: [Function: parseDoi],
        api: [Function: parseDoiApi],
        async: { api: [Function: parseDoiApiAsync] } },
     date: [Function: parseDate],
     name: [Function: parseName],
     json: [Function: parseJSON],
     csl: [Function: parseCsl] },
   { attr: 
      { getAttributedEntry: [Function: getAttributedEntry],
        getPrefixedEntry: [Function: getPrefixedEntry],
        getWrappedEntry: [Function: getWrappedEntry] },
     deepCopy: [Function: deepCopy],
     fetchFile: [Function: fetchFile],
     fetchFileAsync: [Function: fetchFileAsync],
     fetchId: [Function: fetchId],
     TokenStack: [Function: TokenStack] },
  version: { cite: '0.3.0-14', citeproc: '1.1.169' },
  normalise: [Function: parseInput],
  normaliseAsync: [Function: parseInputAsync] }


Use the async API (recommended for Wikidata, URL, and DOI input) like this (with callback):

Cite.async(<DATA>, <OPTIONS>, function (data) {
  data // instance of Cite
  // Further manipulations...

Or with a promise, like this:

Cite.async(<DATA>, <OPTIONS>).then(function (data) {
  data // instance of Cite
  // Further manipulations...

Where <DATA> is the input data and <OPTIONS> is the input options. <OPTIONS> is optional in both examples.


More Docs

Further explanation can be found here.


NPM Demo

NPM Demo. Example code:

var Cite = require('citation-js')

var data = new Cite('Q21972834')

  format: 'string',
  type: 'html',
  style: 'citation-apa',
  lang: 'en-US'

// Should implicitly display

Browser Demos

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