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When viewing entries in a database in ebib, some fields of some entries are marked with an asterisk (*). In my case, these are usually year or month field. I don't see a rhyme or reason to the types of entries, nor can I see any common error or mistake distinguishing these marked fields from other similar ones in either the same or other entries.

I know that the manual says + is used for multi-line entries, and these are certainly not those.

What does this asterisk mean?

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Citation from the section "String Definitions" in the info manual of Ebib:

Having defined ‘@string’ definitions, there must of course be a way to use them. Just giving a field a string abbreviation as value will not do, because Ebib puts braces around the value that you enter when it writes the ‘.bib’ file, so that BibTeX will not recognise the abbreviation, and will not expand it. BibTeX will only recognise an abbreviation if it appears in the ‘.bib’ file outside of any braces.

To accomplish this, you must mark a field’s value as special. A special field is a field whose value is not surrounded by braces when the database is saved, so that BibTeX recognises it as an abbreviation. To mark a field special, press ‘r’. An asterisk will appear before the field, indicating that has no braces. Pressing ‘r’ again will change the field back to normal. If you press ‘r’ on a field that does not have a value yet, Ebib will ask you for one.

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