Help! Bibliography nightmare!
July 18, 2008 4:04 PM   Subscribe

Is there any bibliogaphy creation software that I can upload entire reference lists to? I have thousands of references, and every program I have seen seems to require entering each item one by one.

I made the huge mistake of keeping my references just as a list in Word while doing my PhD, and now that I am submitting papers for publishing I have to convert each refernce by hand for each different type of referencing requirement!!!!!
Is there software that can hanmdle converting entire lists - or tweaks to enable that?
posted by Nayano to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'd recommend BibTex, and script the conversion/lookup with Python!

(if you're a CS major or have geeky friends)
posted by tmcw at 4:17 PM on July 18, 2008

For better or worse, Endnote is the standard bibliographic tool. If you can munge your text file into the format outlined here, you can import it into Endnote pretty easily.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:26 PM on July 18, 2008

Seconding Endnote.
posted by anansi at 4:36 PM on July 18, 2008

I have done this with Endnote -- I also kept my bibliography in a Word file. It is possible to convert this, but fiddly, frustrating, and difficult. It is not always clear why it fails and I ended up entering quite a few by hand. The main problem is that your references don't always have exactly the same fields (or number of fields) in them. I found that you need to separate out journal articles, conference papers, and books/book chapters into separate files for this to work well. But it is worth the time investment for the pure joy of being able to generate references inline. I don't know of any bibliography software that could do this any better - an AI engine would need an awful lot of data to work out this sort of task and otherwise, well, software can't read your mind ...
... And that is sort of comforting ... :-)
posted by Susurration at 5:11 PM on July 18, 2008

Fourthing EndNote. And I agree about it being a standard.

If that's still a pain... does your institution give you access to Web of Science? Entering first author's last name and a few topic keywords will do the trick to find a paper. Then, you can add all the papers to a "marked list," and then export them to EndNote flawlessly.

Of course, this still entails going through each one of your references separately, but it's sure better than entering ALL the bibliographic information by hand.
posted by ssnickerer at 6:11 PM on July 18, 2008

I use Endnote. A way around entering citations by hand might be to copy and paste the title of each paper into Google Scholar*, go to the publisher's web page for the paper, and click on "export citation" (or the equivalent)**. (This is a couple of clicks/keyboard actions per reference, but much easier than manual entry for Endnote.) When I do this, the small file downloaded is opened by Endnote, and it just asks me which library I want to add it to and then creates the whole citation. Then I can drag and drop a pdf file on the citation to link the two; if I am browsing through Endnote and want to open a paper, I just click a paperclip icon and there it is. It's also possible to group references gmail-label-style. There's a plugin for Word that allows you to highlight the citation you want in Endnote, put the cursor at the appropriate place in Word, and hit Alt+2 -- and the citation is inserted in whatever style you have selected, and automatically renumbered if you add more citations earlier in your paper.

Clearly, I love Endnote.

*A side benefit of this is that any search results ranked higher than the paper you're looking for are likely of interest.

**This works really well for the physical sciences; not sure journals in other fields. ISI Web of Science (and probably Web of Knowledge?) also has an export feature.
posted by ecsh at 6:46 PM on July 18, 2008

If you're starting out with reference managmemt software, don't bother with Endnote, it's got a slew of problems - a very few people that use it love it, very many hate it, and it's turned many people who ought to know better off proper bibliographic management. I'd use some combination of Zotero (with Firefox 3), Google scholar and CB2bib to accomplish your goal.
posted by singingfish at 4:44 AM on July 19, 2008

I use EndNote -- but there is a workaround to entering them manually. You can actually connect to a database within EndNote and search for the authors and import the references directly. I use an old version, so if you buy EndNote, I would look up how to do this through Help or on your university's library website (that is where the info is for me.)

I would recommend doing individual libraries for each paper -- that way you are not completely overwhelmed by entering all 1000 references at once, and you only have to enter the critical references for now and you can update the rest when it is not crunch time. Good luck!
posted by sararah at 2:01 PM on July 19, 2008

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