Importing an existing reference collection into EndNote

Last Modified: 3rd Jan 2013
Category: Bibliography > EndNote
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EndNote CA0E How to bring in an existing list of references into EndNote. One of the most common questions asked by new and old users of our bibliographic packages is whether an existing list of references can be imported without having to manually type them all in. This article will discuss the various methods by which this can be achieved and show how your existing references can be manipulated into a format that can be imported into an EndNote library. As a rule of thumb, you should consider how many references you need to import. If you have less than a hundred then it may be quicker to enter these into your bibliographic software by either manually typing them in or copying and pasting sections into the appropriate fields from your existing system (this is particularly useful if you have abstracts). You should also decide whether your existing references are available online. For example, if you have a reference collection which is all about Creutzfeldt- Jakob Disease (CJD) then you could use the information in your existing reference list to locate the references online. The information in your existing list should be more than adequate to locate the relevant reference as you have the names of the authors, book and / or journal name. Using this method, you could perform a search of an online database e.g. PubMed to find all of the articles and import them. A number of online databases support Direct Export, Direct Connection or Exporting to Text Files which makes sending the references to EndNote much quicker than manually typing them in. This method can also identify new references which may be of interest to you. If you decide that your references are not available online, and that the number of references in your existing system is large enough, then you will want to consider the following. EndNote can import information stored in text files, however the text files must be laid out in a logical, consistent format. Generally speaking, people who have never used EndNote will have an existing list of references in one of two formats: 1. Word document 2. Database or Spreadsheet (Click on the above links to go the appropriate part of this article) 1. A Word document (e.g. Microsoft Word) A number of users have a document which contains a list of references which are already displayed in a bibliographic style e.g. Harvard or Vancouver. If your existing list of references is similar to the following example then this section is applicable to you: 1. Bullock C. and F. Khalid, Health issues related to customary consanguineous marriage among British Pakistanis. Health Promotion International, 1995. 10(3): p. 209-217. 2. Buriel R., Childrearing orientations in Mexican American families: the influence of generation and sociocultural factors. Journal of Marriage and the family, 1993. 55(4): p. 987-1001. 3. Chambers D. and S. Lawler, [Review] Representing the family. European Journal of Communication, 2002. 17(4): p. 520-523. 4. Chandra V., Children's work in the family: a sociological study of Indian children in Coventry and Lucknow. 2000, University of Warwick: Warwick. Each of the above references contains all of the information you need, however the important factor is the way in which the information is separated. If we take the following reference: 4. Chandra, V. Children's work in the family: a sociological study of Indian children in Coventry and Lucknow. 2000, University of Warwick: Warwick. You can see that each bit of information is separated by some form of punctuation i.e. - Author is separated from the title by a full stop - Title is separated from year by a full stop - The publisher is separated from the year by a comma etc.. This means that it will be relatively easy to set your bibliographic package to identify each part of the reference; however there are some steps to consider before we can create the text file for importing into your package. Firstly, each reference needs to have a consistent start character. At the moment, the list is numbered which is not suitable for importing. Using your word processor you should be able to select your entire reference list and change the numbers to another character e.g. an asterisk (*). You can use the bullet option to add this character, so that your reference list now appears as: * Bullock C. and F. Khalid, Health issues related to customary consanguineous marriage among British Pakistanis. Health Promotion International, 1995. 10(3): p. 209-217. * Buriel R., Childrearing orientations in Mexican American families: the influence of generation and sociocultural factors. Journal of Marriage and the family, 1993. 55(4): p. 987-1001. You can now use the File, Save As option in your word processor to save the file as a Text File. Now you can create a filter to import the information. Click here to go the appropriate part of this document. 2. Database or spreadsheet e.g. Microsoft Access, FileMaker, Excel or Word Table. If you have been using another package to store your references such as a spreadsheet or database application, then some work is needed to create a suitable text file for importing into your bibliographic software. EndNote prefers text files which have each part of the reference preceded by a tag, for example: TI: This is the title AU: Smith, J. JO: Journal name VO: 13 IS: 2 This type of format allows you to set EndNote to expect a certain type of information after the tag i.e. Any information preceded by the "AU: " identifier should be placed in the Author field of your bibliographic package. To create this output, you have a number of options. However, by far the easiest is to use the mail-merge functionality within your word processor to create a document containing each record from your database or spreadsheet with each part of the reference split into tags. Microsoft Word allows you to link to an external database (e.g. Access or Excel) and bring in the information to a template which will then create a master text file containing all of your references in the tagged format you require. The steps for this are as follows: 1. Launch your database or spreadsheet and make a note of the Column headings e.g Author, Date, etc... If your spreadsheet does not contain any column headings please add them so that you can identify the information in each column within your reference list. 2. Launch Microsoft Word and create a new document with a tag for each column heading e.g: TY: AU: TI: VO: IS: SP: EP: Make sure that you add a return after the last tag so that in the final merged file each record will be separated by a blank line. 3. Once you have added a tag for each column in your existing reference system you can use Microsoft Word's mail merge feature to add the data to each tag. The mail merge wizard will ask you to specify a database (your existing reference list) and will then provide you with the column headings from your database or spreadsheet. You can insert appropriate fields from your spreadsheet or database into Microsoft Word so that you can match up the tags to your data: TY: > AU: > TI: > VO: > IS: > SP: > EP: > 4. When you have inserted all of the fields into your Microsoft Word document, you can run the mail merge. This will create a new document which will contain all of the reference information from your existing reference system matched to the appropriate tag e.g: TY: Symposium Abstract AU: Baldini J.U.L. TI: Climatic and hydrolologic controls on annual carbonate deposition for a stalagmite from Brown's Folly mine, Wiltshire VO: 27 IS: 3 SP: 129 EP: TY: Symposium Abstract AU: Barker-Read G.R.; Farnfield R.A. TI: Exposure to Radon in Gilfield Mine [North Yorkshire] VO: 23 IS: 3 SP: 125 EP: Etc 5. Save the resulting document as a text file using the File, Save As function in Microsoft Word. You now have a properly formatted text file which is ready to import into your bibliographic package. The next step is to tell your bibliographic package how to deal with the text file you have created. Click here to go to the appropriate section of this document. CREATING AN IMPORT FILTER The steps to create an import filter depend on the type of text file you are using. This section covers both forms of text file which will have been created using the above steps, scroll down to Section B if you have a tagged text file. A. Bibliographic Style Launch EndNote and create a new library. Click on Edit, Import Filters, New Filter. You will be shown the following screen: Although you do not have to enter any information into this screen, it is always useful to keep a log of when the filter was created and any other information you feel important. Click on Templates on the left hand side of the window and you will be shown the following screen: This screen allows you to enter the way in which the information in your text file should be imported into EndNote. Our text file looks like: * Bullock C. and F. Khalid, Health issues related to customary consanguineous marriage among British Pakistanis. Health Promotion International, 1995. 10(3): p. 209-217. So the information we should enter into the above screen is: Notice how the information in the Field(s) section, exactly matches the layout of the text file i.e. the actual reference data is replaced by the fields into which the information should be placed, separated by the same punctuation as appears in the text file. Therefore the example reference for: * Bullock C. and F. Khalid, Health issues related to customary consanguineous marriage among British Pakistanis. Health Promotion International, 1995. 10(3): p. 209-217. Becomes: Author, Title. Journal, Year. Volume(Issue): p. Pages. You must use the Insert Field button to add each piece of information. If you type "Author" by hand rather than selecting it from the Insert Field drop-down list then EndNote will not recognize the field type and the filter will not work. Your text file may only use one format for displaying your data, however if you ha

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