November 29, 2011

Using lyx to automate production of project proposals, expressions of interest, etc

At proMENTE social research we use lyx (www.lyx.org) and zotero (www.zotero.org) to produce our project proposals, expressions of interest, etc.
I just did some more work on this and thought I would document some useful steps and tricks.

Overall approach. Basically we have a single lyx file with all the material we need - information about the organisation, methods we use etc., combined with various bibliographies, project lists, and CVs included using pdfpages. Then we just hide what we don’t need for a particular proposal by using branches in lyx.

Using unicode bibtex files. We export out bibliographies from Zotero which produces unicode by default. We need this for all our special characters, especially čćžšđ etc. Lyx is not supposed to work with unicode characters in its bibtex files, but if you just set the encoding to utf8 in the document settings, it seems to always work, except for a few special characters like long hyphens which we can delete in Zotero. It also doesn’t work with Russian characters.

Using bibliography for project lists.We decided to use bibliographies to list our projects too. So we use zotero to store information on projects just as if they were publications.

Sectioned bibliographies. We need to break up our publication list into reports, book chapters etc. So we just select sectioned bibliography” in the document settings in lyx and then link to a series of blbtex files further down the document. These are all set to show all references”. This means in the main text at the start of the document we can cite our own publications and projects. 

Including CV pdfs. This is a nice benefit of lyx - we can include our CVs very simply using insert/file/external material/pdfpages. The only trick is to make sure the links are relative as we use dropbox to sync between different computers.

Fancy page headers. We use usepackage{fancyhdr} and usepackage{graphicx} in the document preamble to customise the appearance of headers and include a little logo on every page.

Fancy section headings. We use usepackage{xcolor} in usepackage{titlesec} in the document preamble to customise the appearance of section headers.

Removing title page. We decided not to use the title page at all, so renewcommand{maketitle}{} gets rid of it.


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