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Creating Structured Text Files that EndNote can Import

Last Modified: 3rd Jan 2013
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Creating Structured Text Files that EndNote can Import

What do you do if your data is notin a format that EndNote can automatically import? You can do one of several things (or even a combination of these options):

* Rearrange the reference data using your word processor so that it is in a format that EndNote can import (as described in this section).

* Copy and paste each piece of data from its source into the proper fields in EndNote, as described on page 164.

* Enter the data manually by typing it into EndNote as described in Chapter 5.

Creating a file that EndNote can import can be a lot of work if your data is in an arbitrary or inconsistent format. If you only have a few references to import (less than 30 or 40), it might be faster and easier to re-type them or copy and paste the references than to try to put them into a format that EndNote can import.

However, if you have a very large bibliography, it might save time to first manipulate the data in a word processor as best you can, and then import the references into EndNote and clean up the references there. Even if the imported data doesn’t come through perfectly, it can be rearranged with EndNote’s various commands, drag-and-drop, and copy and paste.

This section describes two different formats that you can put your data into such that it can be imported into EndNote:

* A tab-delimited format (best if your data is in a database or spreadsheet that can export to a tab-delimited file)

* A tagged format (best for when your data is in a word processor document and looks like a bibliography)

Creating a Tab-Delimited Format

The Tab-delimited import option can import text files in which each reference is separated by a paragraph mark (¶), and the fields within a reference are separated by tabs. Most databases or spreadsheets can export a tab-delimited text file.

Preparing the Data Before Exporting

* Author Names:
Before you export data from a database or spreadsheet into a text file, we recommend that you separate multiple author names with a semicolon (;) or two forward slashes “//”, such as: McCartney, P.//Harrison, G.//Lennon, J. If you cannot easily do this in your database, you can do it after
exporting, or manually edit the data after it is in EndNote.

* Reference Types:
If possible, you should make sure that each of your references includes a field indicating the reference type. Use EndNote’s Reference Type names so that EndNote is able to recognize the formats. If you have only one type of reference (such as Journal Articles), it is not necessary to do this—the import settings can indicate that all references should be imported as journals by default.

If you cannot label each reference with the appropriate Reference Type name, you should export your data into separate files based on reference type. This makes it easy to preserve the original reference types of the references when importing the data files into EndNote.

Preparing the Data File for Import

Once the tab-delimited file(s) are generated, you must open each file in a text editor or word processor and add two lines to it. These lines tell EndNote what the default reference type is for the data, and how the data should be interpreted.

First Line: The Default Reference Type
The first line of the file must define the default reference type for the entire file. The format for the first line is an asterisk immediately followed by a valid EndNote reference type, followed by a paragraph mark (¶). For example,

*Journal Article <¶>

If you could not make separate files based on reference type, you can specify each reference type individually within one file. In this case, your first line must be the “*Generic” reference type. Then you can set up an additional column called “Reference Type,” and under it, have the actual EndNote reference type names. For example:

*Generic <¶>
Reference Type  <tab> Author               <tab> Year <tab> Title     <tab> Secondary Title <¶>
Journal Article <tab> Jones, J// Smith, S. <tab> 1994 <tab> Easy Pie  <tab> J. of Eating    <¶>
Book Section    <tab> Woo, W. //Lee, L.    <tab> 1995 <tab> Rain Hats <tab> J. of Clothing  <¶>
Report          <tab> Carlos, C.//Luis, R. <tab> 1991 <tab> Cat Talk  <tab> J. of Animals   <¶>

NOTE: The “<tab>” and “<¶>” characters are used to indicate where an actual tab and paragraph mark should be entered; the literal text “<tab>” and “<¶>” should not be typed.

Second Line: EndNote Field Names

The second line of the tab-delimited file must contain the actual field names used by EndNote into which you want the data imported. The order of the fields names does not matter, as long as they correspond to the order of the data in the rows beneath them and correspond to the names of the default reference type.

For example, if your default reference type is “*Journal Article,” then the field names in the second line of your file will be those of the Journal Article reference type:

*Journal Article<¶>
Author             <tab> Year <tab> Title     <tab> Journal        <tab> Volume <¶>
Jones, J// Shoe, S <tab> 1994 <tab> Easy Food <tab> J. of Eating   <tab> 1      <¶>
Woo, W //Lee, L    <tab> 1995 <tab> Rain Hats <tab> J. of Clothing <tab> 2      <¶>
Carlos, C//Luis, L <tab> 1991 <tab> Cat Talk  <tab> J. of Animals  <tab> 3      <¶>

NOTE: The field names must be separated by tabs, and a paragraph mark must follow the last field name.

Additional Considerations

* Only ANSI or ASCII text files can be imported. This means no font styles or text styles can be preserved during import.

* All field names and reference type names in the file must be identical to those in EndNote. See page 365 for a listing of all of the reference types and field names. If you have custom reference types, you may check them by choosing Preferences from the Edit menu, selecting Reference Types, and clicking the Modify Reference Types button.

* Multiple author names should be separated by semicolons (;) or by two forward slashes (//).

* Fields cannot contain tabs or paragraph marks. Let the lines of data “wrap” to the next line.

* Leading and trailing spaces are removed during importing.

* No upper/lower case conversion is made during importing.

* A reserved field name called “Unused” may be used for data that you do not want imported into EndNote.

Errors While Importing Tab-delimited Files

When you are ready to import this file into EndNote, choose Import from the File menu, and select Tab-Delimited as your import option. See “General Importing Instructions” on page 144 for detailed instructions on importing.

If EndNote cannot import a record or a field within a record, it will alert you to the error. There are three basic alerts:

* Bad Default Reference Type — The default reference type that you specified in the first line of the file is not a valid EndNote reference type name.

* Bad Field Name — A field name that you entered in line 2 of the file is not a valid EndNote field name.

* Missing Reference Type Information — There is no default reference type specified for the file and there is no reference type field defined for the references.

If you get one of these error messages during the import process, open the import file in your word processor, correct the problem, save the file as a text file, and try again.

Creating a Custom “Tagged” Format

If you have a large bibliography that you would like to import into EndNote, it may be possible to use your word processor’s Find and Replace commands to insert descriptive tags in front of some of the fields of data so that EndNote can accurately import the references. In addition to adding tags, you also need to make a filter to read your tags. (See page 161 for information about using a predefined EndNote Import format if you would rather not create your own filter.)

This section outlines the basic steps to convert a bibliography into a tagged text file.

Step I. Save a Copy of Your File

* Open your bibliography in a word processor and save a copy of the file with a new name (this is your backup).

* Remove everything but the reference data from the file.

Step II. Add Descriptive Field Tags

Use your word processor’s Find and Replace commands to search for unique delimiters between fields, and insert paragraph marks and descriptive field tags in front of specific fields. For this example, we will show a very simple case where only the start of each reference is tagged, and the filter does the rest of the work. This works well for reference lists that have clear delimiters separating the individual components of the reference
(author, year, title, etc.). In some cases, you may have better results making additional replacements in the text file before importing. The more tags you add to your data, the greater degree of accuracy you can get with the import filter.

Suppose your references look like this:

Jones, M. C. and Harrison, G. (1990) “Planet X” Icarus. Vol. 3 no. 4, pp. 11-23.

Billoski, T.V. (1990) “Greenhouse hypothesis” Extinction. Vol 2 no. 1 pp. 12-18.

The process of converting this bibliographic format to a tagged format would be something like this:

* Search for 2 paragraph marks (since the references are separated by 1 blank line), and replace with two paragraph marks and a tag “XX-” followed by a space.

The result is a tagged data file that looks like this:

XX- Jones, M. C. and Harrison, G. (1990) “Planet X” Icarus. Vol. 3 no. 4, pp. 11-23.

XX- Billoski, T.V. (1990) “Greenhouse hypothesis” Extinction. Vol. 2 no. 1 pp. 12-18.

Once you have made all the changes to tag as much of the data as necessary, save the file (as a plain ASCII or ANSI text file), and create an import filter to match the tags and formats of the references.

Step III: Create a Filter

Using EndNote, create a new filter to read your data file (see Chapter 17 for instructions on how to create a filter). The template of a filter for the above data file would look like this:

Step IV: Clean Up the Data

After you set up your file with tags and create a filter to import it, you should test and refine the filter by importing into a new library. Once your filter is working as you would like it, you can use it to import the data file into your real EndNote library.

If you can’t get the filter to import everything exactly as you want, you may have to do some manual editing to correct this either before or after importing the data into EndNote. You might find it useful to import into a test library, then use the Change and Move Fields commands in EndNote’s References menu and the Change Text command in EndNote’s Edit menu to clean up the data. Then transfer these references to your real library (using drag-and-drop, copy and paste, or the Import command).

Creating a Tagged “EndNote Import” File

The EndNote Import format is a tagged format based on the rules of Refer/BibIX format. In this format, each field of data (i.e., Journal, Volume, or Title) is preceded by an identifying tag: a percent sign (%) followed by a single capital letter. Entire references are separated by one blank line:

%0 Book
%A Geoffrey Chaucer
%D 1957
%T The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer
%E F. N. Robinson
%I Houghton
%C Boston
%N 2nd

%0 Journal Article
%A Herbert H. Clark
%D 1982
%T Hearers and Speech Acts
%B Language
%V 58
%P 332-373

%0 Thesis
%A Cantucci, Elena
%T Permian strata in South-East Asia
%D 1990
%I University of California, Berkeley
%9 Dissertation

Author Names in the EndNote Import Format

* Author names use the %A tag. This tag should repeat for each author, with the names listed one per line:

   %A Jones, Mary
   %A Simon, Jeff

* Author names can appear either as:
   Geoffrey Chaucer or Cohen, Sarah

* Either initials or full names are accepted.


Information on creating a structured text file for importing into Endnote by Duncan Branley can be found at:

Bibliographic Software Support Files
Importing a Pre-Existing Word Processed Bibliography into EndNote

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