EndNote looks like the 1960s

I’ve just struggled through moving my library from Endnote 20 to Endnote 21. It’s such a tetchy program and looks like it comes from the 1960s. Why? Any ideas?

LOL this is a very funny way to describe the interface change, but I agree. I think the change from x9 to 20 was for the worse with the way it appears on the screen. The previous interface had more of an iTunes look and feel and EN21 feels like a Bloomberg Terminal.

According to Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EndNote
EndNote Version 1 was released as a ”Reference Database and Bibliography Maker” for Apple Macintosh in ca. 1989 by Niles & Associates (www.niles.com, currently defunct) of Emeryville/Berkley,

… continuing to…

With the release of version 4.0 in ca. 2000, EndNote attained most of its current functionality.[9][10][11] EndNote’s capabilities as a database also improved:

… continuing to…

In 2000 EndNote was acquired by Institute for Scientific Information’s (ISI) Research Soft Division, part of Thomson Corporation.[11] Since then, i.e. for the last 20 years, EndNote’s functionality has not had any substantial changes.[13] In 2016, EndNote was transferred from Thomson Reuters to a spin-off company, Clarivate.

I’m still on X19. from what I hear, there is loss of functionality in the last two years. So will be shopping around for another app soon, I fear.

Just been told by my IT folks that we are going to “update” to EndNote21.1 as the apple computer operating system will need to. I really am sad (as a Windows user) but I can’t sync anymore - as the online sync capability has “expired” and I haven’t been writing/using the program much either. I was one of those early DOS version users when it was just EndNote from Niles dot com and a strong advocate Historically whenever they tried to update the program significantly, it went thru glitchy versions – currently the last hiccup was when they went to X9.3 and changed the database structure mid version, making collaboration dicey. Clarivate has been non-responsive to users objections – in my opinion, and I don’t see any positive improvements that justify the upgrade path they have chosen. Except compatibility…

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I deeply regret losing X8 and X9… Since then EndNote has become so unpleasant that my scientists and I have pretty much given up and moved over to Zotero, which I’m still getting used to, but I’m not yelling at nearly as often.

I like the ability to throw a PMID or ISBN into a field and have everything pulled into the database without summoning a particular portal for a given resource


When EN 20 first came out, everyone complained that the interface was wasting screen real estate. And it was. It was probably because of aspirations to better adapt it for use on mobile/touch platforms. The older, more compact appearance was readopted,

As far as appearances are concerned, compare it to Bookends. In my opinion, EndNote is more modern-appearing.

More importantly, EN 20 lost PDF viewing functionality, and that was a real step back that took too long for Clarivate to restore.

EndNote and Bookends appearances are functional. They support dark mode (at least on macOS). However, it is Zotero as a Java application that really has a 20-year-old appearance.

Having tried all three with large databases, EndNote with its more efficient embedded MySQL backend (Bookends uses Valentina, Zotero I have no clue) has always come on to top due to efficiency and reliability (still using and updating the same database since Niles EndNote 3 with several transitions to and from between macOS and its predecessors to Windows).

Also, only fair to mention that of the three, only Bookends comes with an integrated web browser that in specific use cases is highly productive.