Reference management advice
May 7, 2012 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Are there any online services to convert an article on a website into a bibtex file?

I recently found this website called EasyBib which I was quite excited by as I thought it was somehow related to BibTex. Sadly, it is not, but it made me wonder if an tools were out there providing the functionality that I desire. For example I wanted to cite this article:

I pasted the link into EasyBib, added some information that were not picked up automatically and then ended up with the following:

Hsu, Jeremy. "Secret Computer Code Threatens Science: Scientific American." Secret Computer Code Threatens Science: Scientific American. Scientific American, 13 Apr. 2012. Web. 07 May 2012. .

This was great, except there was no way of getting this information into BibTex that I could find. Are there any tools very similar to EasyBib that provide this service? I only need these for a modest number of sites as most provide metadata that I access using Zotero + Zot2Bib
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Many scientific journals' websites have this function for their own articles, but I don't know of anything that offers EasyBib's scraping functionality for other sources. Have you tried contacting EasyBib? Given what they already have, adding BibTeX export should be absolutely trivial, so they might just implement it for you on request.
posted by d. z. wang at 4:20 PM on May 7, 2012

Editing a .bib by hand is pretty easy. It's just plain text.

author={Jeremy Hsu},
title={{Secret Computer Code Threatens Science}},
journal={{Scientific American}},

seems like it should do it for your example.
posted by pmb at 6:16 PM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

pmb has it, but I think you might use the type "@online" instead of "@article".
posted by King Bee at 7:13 PM on May 7, 2012

I can't tell if you're asking about a way to add entries to a BibTeX bibliography by hand, or automatically based on info from the publisher's website. If the latter, I have no advice to offer (only commiseration). If the former, and you are looking for a more GUI-centered workflow than pmb's, the following two programs might be up your alley: These provide a window with fields labeled Author, Year, Title etc., and translate that information into the underlying text-based format. Both programs are F/OSS.
posted by dendrochronologizer at 10:50 PM on May 7, 2012

I suppose to some extent the satisfactoriness or otherwise of any solution depends on how much manual text-entry you are prepared to put up with. As you already use Zotero, you can automatically acquire at least the 'web page', article title, url, date accessed, and date added fields simply by right-clicking when viewing the page and choosing to take a Zotero 'snapshot' (whether in Zotero standalone or browser-based version). The rest you'll have to fill in. I'm surprised that Scientific American isn't more citation-friendly.
posted by davemack at 1:25 AM on May 8, 2012

Response by poster: Just to clarify, 90% of my citation management is an automated flow of zotero/zot2bib/bibdesk (I'm on a mac). I do realize that I can manually enter the information into my bibtex file, but I felt like there could be an easier way of organizing some websites that don't handle metadata properly. EasyBib does organize the metadata nicely for these 'lesser' sites; it just does not handle exporting to bibtex. I contacted EasyBib to see if they will consider including this feature as it sounds like there are not any other alternative web-based tools.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 6:01 PM on May 8, 2012

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