Missing references in EndNote library

Hi everyone

Every now and again I discover that some of my references have been deleted from my EndNote library (e.g. when I go to insert a citation and discover that it’s missing!).

Has this happened to anyone else? Any ideas on how to recover missing references? Any thoughts on how to prevent the miraculous deletion of references?


I have never had this happen. 

I sometimes find that my colleages manage to do things like add a ref to a paper from the “online” search results rather than moving it to the main library first.  (that takes some doing, as Endnote tries hard, not to let you do this). 

Or someone has added it to a different library, and forgets (I use ONE library always, to avoid this from happening). 

But once it is incorporated properly in a paper, then the travelling library sometimes makes these kind of errors invisible…

Sometimes people inadvertently start working in their backup copy of the library or forget to transfer the latest copy back onto their memory stick when moving their library from one computer to another. I have seen many thesis writers with many different copies of their library using multiple computers and sometimes they get confused as to which copy they should be working on. At least they got the message about backing up, if not about working in a single library.

The new sync function is probably designed to reduce occurrences of this error.


These are good suggestions.

Another possibility is that the missing references may be caused by improperly moving, renaming, or deleting parts of the library.

You may not have noticed, but every EndNote library comes in two parts. The main “enl” library file, and also a folder that ends in “.data.” For example, if I create a library called GilliansRefs and save it on my desktop, on my desktop will appear TWO things:



Both these parts are necessary, and must remain together and named the same thing. If either part gets moved, removed, or renamed without the other, you can lose data, including references, PDFs, groups, and more.

To avoid this, always rename by using the FIle>Save a Copy command, and move the library only as a compressed lirbary, as we describe here:


For more information about the .data folder and library structure, please see the following KB article:


Big problem!!! missing ALL EndNote library: when I try to download APA 6th…  

What can I do?