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When a BibTeX database is maintained by "hand" (that is editing it using a text editor), chances may arise that over time get several different entries representing the same reference (duplicates).
Bib-it's Duplicate search functionality helps cleaning your BibTeX database
to make it more consistent (the goal is NO duplicates! :-).
Choose Entry -> Find duplicates. In the dialog that pops up chose
a the lower equality limit (if the limit is 80%,
in the result all duplicate pairs are more than 80 % equal according to
the fields used in the comparision (which are author, title, journal and year).
In the next dialog, it's recommended that you choose 'yes'.
REMARK: unfortunately, only entries with a year (year != null) are considered in the duplicate search and only entries with and only entries with the same year are compared (this is due to performance issues). This will hopefully be improved in later BibTeX releases.
In the duplicate search result tab the potential duplicate entries are presented.
The entries are grouped together (click the '+' sign in the leftmost column to expand the groups).
In the subsequent paragraphs the first entry in each group (that is the grouping entry, the entry which has the '+' in its leftmost column) will be known as the parent, and all the entries beneath this one (in the same group) will be known as the children of this parent.
The percents in the leftmost column of all children is the equality percent - a measure of how equal the child in question is compared to its parent entry.
To tidy up your BibTeX database, you normally look at each group in the result. For each group, you may deside which of these entries to keep and which of them you don't want to keep. Be careful upon deleting entries you don't want to keep - if you don't want to keep a parent you should first look at all its children and delete those of the children you don't want to keep before you delete the parent. When a parent is deleted, this parent and all its children are removed from the duplicate search result, but (as expected) only the parent you deleted is deleted from the BibTeX database. Any entry you delete from the duplicate search result is (logically) deleted from the BibTeX database.
To examine the information in the entries closer, you may wish to use the preview funcionality. Right-click any of the entries in the group (or alternatively choose 'Entry preview'), and you'll get a preview of all the entries in this group.