Manual import filtering broken!!!

Hello All,

This was posted in the howto forum, but it got no attention, so I’m hoping for better luck here.

I’m trying to import some references using a filter.  As an example, here is a reference in text format:

* Guthman, J. 1997. Representing Crisis: The Theory of Himalayan Environmental Degradation and the project of Development in Post-Rana Nepal. Development and Change 28:45-69.

My filter is the following:

Tag: *    Fields: Author. Year. Title. Journal Volume(Issue): pp.Pages.

I’ve tried various combinations  of author parsing, etc.  But the filter won’t recognize the Author or Title.  It puts the author’s name in the Journal field, but it gets the Year, Volume, Issue (which is absent in this case - i’ve tried removing that field from the filter, but it doesn’t change the result), and Pages right.  It ends up putting the title in the notes section, preceded by the text, “Using Smart Source Parsing:”.

One problem seems to be that the endnote import filter just doesn’t like it when the date follows the author.  Files formatted exactly the same, but with the date after the author, end up excluding the author name.  I could be missing something here, but I really doubt it.

Anyone have any ideas what might be going on here?  This is really frustrating.



I think this is beyond the capacities of EndNote. There are too many variables in the punctuation of a long string like this. For example, if you have more than one author, then you have a lot of additional punctuation in the string. If the title of the article includes commas or colons, then again you have additional punctuation in the string.

In cases like this, I would just import the whole reference into the Title field, and then drag-and-drop the different elements into the correct fields. Alternatively, you could search for the references on a database and import them from that database.

The help file advertises the feature: Help -> Importing Reference Data -> Creating Files that Endnote Can Import -> Creating a Custom “Tagged” Format.  So it *should* work.  It just doesn’t.

Yes, it is a little bit complex, but it ain’t rocket science.  And anyway, that’s why we buy software and don’t just code it ourselves, right?

If there were some small errors here and there that needed to be corrected in the import, that would be one thing.  But the fact is that it just plain doesn’t work *at all*, as far as I can tell.  Thomson Reuters - Please fix this!

This is not broken but simply a limitation of import filtering as it is currently implemented in EndNote. This is something that we could consider enhancing in the future.

Jason Rollins, the EndNote team

Thanks for your reply, Jason.  I would humbly submit that behavior that deviates from what is advertised in the help file *is* broken behavior.  If it is a known issue, these should be published so that poor fools such as myself don’t spend the better part of an afternoon trying to make endnote work.  I have nowhere seen any sort of “known issues” published.

So, what are the known issues?  That Year after Author doesn’t work?  What else?

This is documented in the EndNote Help file:

“Note: If data is inconsistently tagged, or poorly delimited, it may not be possible to import all the data accurately.”


“A Comment About Difficult Data Files - Although EndNote’s filters are very powerful and flexible import tools, there are still some data files that cannot be conquered. Whereas some databases provide very clean tagged data, others are almost impossible to discern. Lack of consistency in the source data and the omission of reference type tags often make it difficult for a person to understand the information; the task of creating a perfect filter to handle these files is futile. When fine tuning our filters, we have done our best to always capture the necessary data; even if that means dropping it all into the Notes field. If you find filters that can be further improved, please let us know. It may also help to contact your information provider to let them know that the inconsistencies in the data entry for the database are keeping you from most efficiently making use of it.”

Jason Rollins, the EndNote team

thanks jason.  The citations I’m trying to import are well- and consistently-formatted.  For example, endnote chokes on the following:

* Panayotou, T. 1994. Empirical tests and policy analysis of environmental degradation at different stages of economic development. Pacific and Asian Journal of Energy 4(1):23-42

That looks pretty straightforward to me.  I would not classify “having the year after the author” as a difficult citation to parse

I’ve been using CB2BIB to import them one by one to bibtex, and there to zotero, and there to endnote.  ugh.  Regarldess, CB2BIB uses regular expressions to import.  So these are DEFINITELY parsable!  The author of CB2BIB helped me construct a regex for the format above, and it worked perfectly.

I would *strongly* recommend that thomson either fix this feature, document all of it’s limitations (which is not currently the case), or remove it altogether.  I, of course, would prefer the first option.