Journal Term Lists: best way to correct errors and other questions, comments, and suggestions

We (two frequent coauthors) normally publish in APA journals, which use full journal names, so we aren’t used to using abbreviations. However, we are about to submit to a journal that does use them, and so we have now loaded the Medical list of abbreviations. We noticed that there are quite a few errors in the lists supplied along with EndNote (X4, X5 for Mac). For example: «Journal of Experimental Psychology. Human Learning and Memory» fails to abbreviate, because the correct title is: «Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory». «Perception» has an abbreviation «Percepion». «Quintessence» abbreviates to «Quntessence». There are several other similar errors we have noticed after a very limited amount of perusal.

The question is, what is the best way to handle this? Editing the list currently loaded into EndNote makes it impossible to load new term lists without overwriting the corrections; editing the term list files (such as Medical.txt) will make it difficult to upgrade, if new versions of those lists are distributed later (this happened for Bioscience between X4 and X5: a column was added). Also, shouldn’t there be some way for users’ fixes to be incorporated into the product so that other could benefit from them?

Also, what’s with the 3rd column containing the same thing as the 2nd column, but without periods? There’s a checkbox to suppress periods. Is that completely redundant column just a backwards compatibility thing?

And, what about the incomplete 4th column in Medical? Only a small subset of items have it, and as near as I can see, it just has each 1st column «and» replaced with «&». Is there anyway actually to use an incomplete column? Does the program default to using the 1st column if you specify an abbreviation column that is blank? I suppose that that makes sense, but I didn’t see it in the documentation.

Finally, is there any information about the standards used for the different sets of abbreviations? For example, I notice that in BioScience, the New England Journal of Medicine is abbreviated as «New Engl J Med.» whereas in Medical, it is «N Engl J Med». This suggests two distinct standards. Parallel for «Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition», which is «J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn» in Medical and «JExPLMC» in Humanities; again, two standards. The journals generally specify a specific standard, so it would be convenient to be able to find the EndNote implementation of a particular standard. In fact, it would seem to me much more logical to have simple bits of code that could remove periods and convert «and» to «&», then three abbr columns could be used for three different abbreviation standards: «New England Journal of Medicine~N Engl J Med~New Engl J Med~NEJM» or whatever. If you publish sometimes in medical and sometimes in humanities journals, you would still be able to use just the one term list, but with a different abbreviation number specified.



We rely on our users to assist us when they find issues in the terms lists.  With over 8000 terms in the medical list alone,issues can arise. 

The terms lists are a compilation of terms supplied by different organizations.  The Medical list comes from the _List of Journals Indexed in Medline _supplied by the National Library of Medicine.  This list is turned into a tab delimited filefor the EndNote program.  We massage the list to screen out obvious errors, but sometimes issues do crop up that customers bring to our attention, and we make those changes between EndNote releases.  

The reason the additional column is in the medical terms list (titles without punctuation) is that most records from the Medline database (Pubmed) come into EndNote without punctuation.  In order for our style formatter to recognize these terms and abbreviate them correctly for the different journal styles, we added the third column of abbreviated names without punctuation.  So if you export a record from Pubmed and the exported journal name is  N Engl J Med, and your style is requires that you submit the full journal name, EndNote would match the abbreviation N Engl J Med (no matter which column it is in) and then switch it for the New England Journal of Medicine.  If you know that your record has the acronym for the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in the record and you want it to put the full journal name in its place, just browse the Journal term list, locate the New England Journal of Medicine, and add the NEJM acronym in the 4th column.  

Not all columns for every journal type need to be filled out in order for this to work.  You can have just the full and abbreviation 1 or you can have full and all 3 abbreviations.  If the matching term is in the list, EndNote will find it and then place the appropriate format into your bibliography.

There are different specifications for different disciplines.  The Humanities folks are really keen on their acronyms which is why that list only has the full version of the journal name and the acronym.  

When upgrading from one version of EndNote to the other, the terms list that you specify for a single database goes with that database. That means it will not be impacted by the upgrade since the terms are “stored” with your data.  If you want to share a terms list with a colleague, or save it so that you can replicate it to different databases, you can use the “export” feature in the terms management dialog.  This way you can “perfect” your own lists and keep them for future use.

We rely on our users to assist us when they find issues in the terms lists.  With over 8000 terms in the medical list alone,issues can arise. 

Cheryl - The EndNote Team

It is worth reminding people that you can also export the Journal terms list, and import it into another library, thus maintaining any corrections or addtions you may have integrated. 

Also, upgrading doesn’t affect the journal term list in a library, only the terms lists that you can import are updated in the new version. 

(note: I see that Cheryl did cover these, but I missed them the first time!)

Thank you.

So in effect, the journals term lists are used during both input and output. On input, a match with any column > 1 results in the column 1 contents of that line being stored, while on output, if an abbreviation column is specified, then if that column is not empty, its results are used, else column 1 is used. All matches must be exact, punctuation, case, and all. Right?

I hate to be picky, but why aren’t punctuation (and case) simply ignored during input matching? (And ampersands matched with “and”?) I can’t imagine that would add any significant amount of processing time. And on output, why not supplement the existing checkbox for eliminating periods with one that converts “and” to ampersand? This would reduce all of the suppled term lists to two columns, I believe.

Also, take me for example. My research interests span languages, psychology, and neuroscience, so I may well read articles using Medical and Humanities abbreviations, and could submit to journals using them. From the description you gave (again, thank you, very useful), it appears that there is no easy, off-the-shelf way to create a term list with, say, Medical abbreviations in col 2 and Humanities abbreviations in col 3. But if you could do that, then the resulting term list would correctly import psychological, humanities, and neuroscience articles, and would allow output styles that selected either full names or abbr1 or abbr2.

The generalization of this would be simply to combine all of the existing supplied lists into a single one, preferably with no redundancy due to periods and ampersands, and to distribute that list instead of the individual ones. Then everyone could import and export in every format. It could be that in order to do that, you’d need more than three alternate abbreviation columns, but RAM is cheap and processors are fast today, so why not allow up to 30, in fact, why even have a limit?

And one more question: if a user discovers an error in the journal term list, what’s the best way to signal that error to Endnote maintenance staff?


There are a couple of problems with combining lists, since the “standard” abbreviation isn’t really standard among the disciplines we’d have to modify some tricky algoritms in our style formatter.  Another issue would be that adding additonal terms does cause the database to grow, if we combined the lists we have that could result in bloating the data file.  Since there are titles that cross the disciplines it makes it difficult to have separate lists because EndNote will pick from the first one it comes to. 

Yes, it would be nice if we could ignore punctuation when matching, and the idea of placing multiple columns in the terms list to match different disiplines, these are both great suggestions.

To report issues with term lists, you can post a note in the EndNote suggestions list, or post it to the forum.  Our content folks scan both lists and will pick up the needed changes.


Cheryl - The EndNote Team

I am using EndNote X7

The Term Lists I am seeing has first 2 columns in the Terms tab;

Full Journal | Abbreviation 1.

However, the content of these columns seem reverted, meaning

Abbreviation in the first column and the full jounal name in the second column.

The real problem it causes is that sometimes it gives correctly the abbreviations

but other time stubbornly stick to the full names even though citation edit shows

correctly abbreviated names according to


Only the solution so far is to edit piece be piece in the list.

I attempted to export entire list to MSExcel to see if I can switch the 2 columns

but so far I have not been able to because there seems no delimiter between the 2.

It causes stress at the same time.

So please help.

Thank you.

What is your field of study?  There is a ready made journal list for most areas in the Program Files/EndnoteX7/terms lists folder on the c: drive (endnote folders on a PC are either in Programs or Programs (x86) folder.  Then you want to see this KB article 

Finally, turn off autoupdating of the terms list in the preferences. (see attached, on a PC preferences are accessed via edit>preferences>term lists (and the menu will look like the attached) –  having it on means whenever a journal title endnote hasn’t seen before is imported, it will update the terms list – many times, the wrong way around!  

@gounistat wrote:


The Term Lists I am seeing has first 2 columns in the Terms tab;

Full Journal | Abbreviation 1…However, the content of these columns seem reverted, meaning

Abbreviation in the first column and the full jounal name in the second column…I attempted to export entire list to MSExcel to see if I can switch the 2 columns but so far I have not been able to because there seems no delimiter between the 2.

Deleting your journals term list then properly importing the Endnote-provided Journal terms lists would be the easiest way to go. Refer to these threads:“Abbreviation & the Term List”, and “Journal Abbreviations in Bibliography”. There’s also an EndNote“Journal Terms” training video.

However if you wish to edit the Endnote exported term list note that the list includes tab delimiters which unfortunately MS Excel does not seem to recognize. As a workaround first open the Endnote exported term list in MS Word and use the “Find and Replace” function to replace the tab characters with a specified delimiter. Re-save the file then launch MS Excel and open the Endnote exported term list by using Excel’s wizard to specify the delimiter which in turn formats the term list into separate columns.

For future reference please post queries as a new thread instead of dovetailing on to a prior thread. Since the OP of this thread marked it “solved” your added question could easily have been overlooked and dovetailing messes up search results.