Bleg: bibliography software

I have a bunch of citations indexed in ProCite and a ton of citations in MsWord format from existing papers. I’m looking for a program that will allow me to crunch them together and make a master list alphabetical by author’s name. So far, all the programs I’ve found require that the data be re-entered manually.

Any advice?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

6 thoughts on “Bleg: bibliography software”

  1. According to EndNote X2 (Mac) there is a way to create library from ProCite. I have no idea whether it will work, but the instructions "seem" to allow you to do what you want to do:

    Creating a Library from ProCite

    To use a ProCite database with EndNote, you must first export the references to a text file and then import from the text file into an EndNote library.

    To convert a ProCite database to an EndNote library:

    Export your ProCite references to a text file:

    a. Open ProCite and the database you want to convert.

    b. Go to the File menu and select Print Bibliography.

    c. Choose the output style "RIS-EndNote.pos" (you can download this output style from the support area of the ProCite website at

    d. On the Print Bibliography window, click Configure and go to the "Fields" tab.

    e. In the "Fields" window check all optional fields.

    f. Click OK, and then Save to save as a text file.

    Start EndNote and open or create the library to contain the imported references.

    From the File menu, select Import.

    Click Choose File and select the text file you created.

    Next to Import Option, select the ProCite (RIS) import filter.

    Click Import.

  2. I wouldn't try to do it all at once. I don't have ProCite (I'm an old-school hacker and coded my own database that will properly track both legal and scientific formats…), but this is the method I've used when converting others' databases for them:

    (1) Output the source database as a TXT — or, better yet, CSV, if that option is available — document. In the worst case, just create a Word document that consecutively goes through the database and puts one source per paragraph, then save as TXT. NOTE: You're going to lose italics and other formatting; those shouldn't be in your database in the first place, except where there's an embedded italic in a title that references another title.

    (2) Repeat for each other database (e.g., your Word file) that you want to merge.

    (3) Now comes the fun part: Use a spreadsheet to import each database. If you were able to make most/all of the files CSV, so much the better.

    (4) Now you can rearrange columns, etc., copy the spreadsheet files into a new master spreadsheet, and then do a master sort.

    Your problem demonstrates one of the critical weaknesses in Word (and other business-oriented word processors that have become standards, even in academia): They don't handle bibliographies and footnotes well. Don't get me started on how much effort it takes to properly alphabetize a Table of Authorities for a legal brief (so that the short form of a case, such as Iqbal, appears in the same order in the ToA)… and for that, there's a well-established workaround. There simply isn't a well-established workaround for alphabetizing by surname when the surname doesn't come first!

  3. Try zotero, which is a firefox plugin It is developed by George Mason university. Free, but incredibly powerful, blows endnote and procite out of the water. It can easily import procite bibliographies. The word doc will take more effort because the data is not tagged. But if you have the doi information, zotero will be able to retrieve the citations.

  4. getting from procite to zotero should simply be a matter of exporting from procite to CSV or BibTex and then importing into zotero. however turning a formatted citation in a Word document into a database entry is one of those "turn a sausage back into a pig" type issues. when i switched to using bibliographic software i did what oliveridley is suggesting; every time i wanted to cite something i went to the jstor or worldcat page for the item and had zotero scrape the cite.

    that said, if you're comfortable with regexp syntax you could probably write ones for anything that's a standard journal article cite and another for a standard book cite, but for anything irregular it's almost inevitably going to be faster to just hand enter the cite than to try to parse it formally.

  5. in my field (biology), Endnote has a market position that's simply overwhelming; everyone I know uses it. On the other hand, in my field almost every journal article gets indexed in Medline/Pubmed, which makes the task of the bibliography software pretty easy and means we users don't have to learn how to get much out of the software.

    One advantage (of sorts) that comes from Endnote's dominance is that it's pretty common for a University to buy a site license, and if you go to UCLA's campus-only software download website there's a good chance you can probably get the latest version for free (or, viewed from a different angle, you've already paid for it and so you might as well get the benefit). Since UCLA's site is closed to off-campus browsing (not just the downloads but the site itself) I can't really say whether this is the case for you.

  6. If the Word citations are all in the same format, it ought to be not too much trouble to write a perl/python/ruby script to munge them into a properly formtted file (tab delimited) for any other program to import.

    I've used perl to ressurect fairly complex databases out of web screen scrapes, pretty quickly, too.

    You ought to be able to find someone to do it there, pretty easily…contact someone in IT support where you are..I know that at our University we have several mailing lists where such requests go out and get answered pretty quickly for stuff like that.

    Other than that, I agree, Endnote is the most widely used citation manager where I work (which is life sciences)

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