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EndNote desktop guide: Getting references into your library (EndNote X9)


In this section we will look at populating your EndNote library with refrences. The first thing to note is that when you populate you library with references, you are not populating it with full text documents; that is a second step in the process of building your library which you can read about later.

Method 1: Import text file (the standard method)

This is the default method for importing references into EndNote. It is not as quick as exporting directly (see Method 4) but it is very reliable. The instructions below assume you know how to undertake a search in your database/s of choice and select references for export.

Stage 1

  1. Open a database or a tool that searches multiple databases e.g. Medline/EBSCOhost
  2. Undertake a search and identify the results that you want to export
  3. Save the references as a single file to your computer (not into EndNote, just onto the desktop for example). Use a recognised file format [if possible choose the .ris option, which is very common, but some databases export in a format specific to them e.g. .nbib in PubMed]

Stage 2

  1. Open your EndNote library
  2. Select the import option, File > Import > File
  3. Select the file you want to import
  4. Choose the appropriate Import option (based on the format in which you saved the file; you might need to select 'other filters' if the one you are looking for is not already displayed). [Note: this can correspond with the database you saved the references from e.g. if you save as .ris file, choose the Reference Manager RIS import option, but if you save as a .nbib file from PubMed, select PubMed as the import filter]. If you cannot see the filter, it might be necessary to import it from Clarivate’s support pages.
  5. Select ‘Import’

Screenshot of import file dialog box

Method 2: Online search

This feature is to be used when you know the reference you would like to import. It is not used for conducting your literature search as it does not have sufficient functionality and is used mostly with library catalogues (but you can also use with PubMed). Working from Local Library Mode:

  1. Select ‘online search’, Tools > online search
  2. Select the source you wish to search [e.g. BU library catalogue (Bournemouth U – note library mode changes to Online library ]
  3. Click 'Choose'
  4. Enter your search terms in the relevant search boxes (top centre pane) and click 'Search'
  5. When prompted with ‘Confirm Online Search’ select OK to import references to ‘Online references’
  6. Select the references you want to keep
  7. Click the Copy to Local Library icon to move the references to your local library

    Copy to local library screenshot

  8. Reference/s will be added to 'unfiled'
  9. When you shut down, choose if you want to delete the online search results

Method 3: Manual entry

This method of reference creation is used for items which do not appear in a catalogue that can be harvested. It is also used quite often for web pages.

  1. Select ‘New reference’, References > New Reference
  2. Select the correct reference type, e.g. Webpage
  3. Enter the necessary reference details, i.e. what you would need to appear in a reference [refer to the BU Harvard guide (or publisher guidelines) for which fields will be relevant for your reference type]

Note that the data for authors needs to be added in a particular way or EndNote cannot output the data in the correct style:

  • Enter the author's name: Last name, First name
  • Enter author's name in full
  • Leave the author field blank if unknown
  • Enter multiple authors on separate lines using the 'return' key
  • Enter a comma after corporate authors e.g. Nursing Midwifery Council,

Method 4: Direct export (the quickest but most problematic method)

This is the quickest method for getting references into your library, but it is very browser dependent. If you are having problems, please contact us.

  1. Open a database or a tool that searches multiple databases e.g. Medline/EBSCOhost
  2. Undertake a search and identify the results that you want to export.
  3. Using the database's export function, select the appropriate option e.g. Direct Export to EndNote

How the files are dealt with at this point will depend on your browser set up and you can modify this to some extent. When given the option as you try to export the references, open with ResearchSoft Direct Export Helper. If it is not available to you after installing EndNote (desktop version) or Cite While you Write (Word add-in) on your machine, you can install it from here .

Method 5: Capture reference from web page

The capture reference tool allows you to capture reference details from a  web page e.g. a BBC news story. To install the tool in your browser, log in to EndNote online (you will need an account) and go to the Downloads tab. Drag and drop the grey Capture Reference button to your browser toolbar. To use,

  1. Click on the button when in the page you wish to capture
  2. Use the radio button to select EndNote (desktop)
  3. Edit the metadata at that stage if you wish to
  4. Click 'Save To' to save the reference to your library

Method 6: Import locally saved PDFs

If you already have PDFs stored locally in your computer, you can import these into your library and hopefully the metadata (reference details) also. You will know if the metadata has been imported because fields, Title, Author etc. will be filled in correctly. If the import has only pulled in the PDF, the metadata will be jumbled up or non-existant. The success of importing the metadata is simply down to how the PDF was created. To import PDFs,

  1. Identify where your PDFs have been stored
  2. In EndNote, select File > Import > Folder
  3. Browse to the folder and if it has subfolders with PDFs you want to import, make sure the check box is ticked
  4. Click import

If the PDF is imported but not the metadata, you have two options;

  1. Delete the entry and import the metadata from a database/catalogue (and then attach the PDF singularly to the entry)
  2. Fill in the metadata manually (this method will take longer)

Method 7: Synchronise with an online library

If you already have an EndNote online account, and want to bring those references into a desktop library, you can do so by synchronising your desktop and online libraries. Have a look at our synchronising instructions for more information.

Remember this is a two way sync which will push references both ways, so if you only want to bring the references into your desktop library, export the references from your online library as a .ris file and then import this .ris file into your desktop library.