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biblatex-unified is an opinionated biblatex implementation of the Unified Stylesheet for Linguistics Journals. The stylesheet was developed by CELxJ, the Committee of Editors of Linguistics Journals.

The first implementation of the stylesheet for was sp.bst, developed for the house-style of the journal Semantics and Pragmatics (S&P). Bridget Samuels produced a revised version unified.bst, which has largely disappeared from the internet.

The current project is a ground-up re-implementation of the unified stylesheet in modern biblatex. It has been used by S&P in production for several years.

Please file an issue at github to let us know of any problems you encounter and any recommendations for improvement.


The biblatex-unified style consists of two files:

  • unified.bbx – for formatting the bibliography.
  • unified.cbx – for formatting in-text citations in the style of S&P.
    • Since the Unified Stylesheet does not give any guidelines for in-text citations, this file is optional and users can choose other citation styles, such as the authoryear-comp citation style that comes with biblatex.

Requirements and backward compatibility

Compiling documents with this style depends on a fairly recent installation that includes biblatex 2.0+. It is tested only with the biber backend. TexLive 2019 or later would be ideal.


Manual installation involves putting the two files unified.bbx and unified.cbx somewhere where your system can find them. This could be local in the same directory as your tex source file, or in your TEXMF "home" directory, or in the system TEXMF directories.

Configuring your .tex document to use the style

To use the style in conjunction with S&P's sp.cls, simply add the biblatex class option when importing sp.cls:


If you are not using the S&P document class, you can still use this style by adding the following to your preamble (after \documentclass{...} but before \begin{document}):


The unified citation style relies on hyperlinking between in-text citations and the bibliography. So, the hyperref package is required. It is automatically loaded by sp.cls but if you use a different document class and hyperref is not loaded by that class, you need to add \usepackage{hyperref} to your preamble as well.

If you were previously using natbib, remove \usepackage{natbib} and any accompanying \bibliographystyle{...} and \bibpunct{...} settings. You might also find it helpful to add natbib to the list of options (\usepackage[..., natbib]{biblatex}), to load biblatex's natbib compatibility module, which implements common natbib commands like \citet, \citep, \citealt, \citealp, etc.

Whether you're using sp.cls or a different document class, you'll need to change the usual commands to biblatex, in two places:

  1. Replace the \bibliography{your-bibfile} line in the backmatter with \printbibliography.
  2. Add the following command to your preamble: \addbibresource{your-bibfile.bib}
    • NB: the .bib extension must be included (unlike )


The full documentation and implementation notes can be found in biblatex-unified.pdf. The PDF can be regenerated by typesetting the tex source file with xelatex. The tex is actually itself generated from the underlying md markdown file via pandoc with the following incantation:

pandoc -f markdown -t latex biblatex-unified.md -s\ 
-o biblatex-unified.tex --highlight-style=kate

License and copyright

Copyright ©2022 Kai von Fintel.

This package is author-maintained. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this software under the terms of the Project Public License, version 1.3c.

This software is provided “as is,” without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.

Download the contents of this package in one zip archive (631.0k).

biblatex-unified – Bib implementation of the unified stylesheet for linguistics journals

Bib-unified is an opinionated Bib implementation of the Unified Stylesheet for Linguistics Journals

Bug trackerhttps://github.com/semprag/biblatex-sp-unified/issues
Version1.20 2022-11-08
LicensesThe Project Public License 1.3c
Copyright2022 Kai von Fintel
MaintainerKai von Fintel
Contained inTeX Live as biblatex-unified
MiKTeX as biblatex-unified
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