Sync a single library between two computers and formatting word doc results in huge mess


Since Sync works now pretty well on both X6 and X7, I would like to raise up an issue that could result in some kind of disaster if this issue is not taken into consideration. It relates to the formatting paper process between two or more (identical) synced libraries with record numbers differing from one library to the other.

Before the sync feature was implemented in X6, people who wanted to collaborate on the same paper, or work from different places (work and home) had to create a compressed library and copy it on an USB key; or recall never to unformat the paper and word only with the traveling library. This process was time consuming because it had to be done each time the library was updated with new references. Now the sync option has solved this problem.

However, a new issue has arisen. In some way, it’s an already known issue, occurring especially when several co-authors are sharing a same paper doc. But in that case, most of the time, people have total different content libraries, even with a different library’s name, etc. So Endnote is able to open the ambiguous citations references window, allowing people to work out the ambiguities. Traveling libraries are also helpful, but it means to export and import the TL under a different local library, in order to avoid merging and consequently, overriding record numbers.

Here, the problem is slightly different. Syncing between, desktop computers, laptops, as well as iPads, means that an identical library will be up to date on several devices. Unfortunately, the references of library A and those of synced library B, would definitively have different record numbers. That’s the way Endnote is programmed. A single record number per reference, once and for all. 

Now, if you format (or reformat) your doc with the second (library B) or even a third (C) synced library, you will, most than likely, be ending with a paper consisting of mismatched or unmatched citations. With the new version of X7, I discovered that Endnote was automatically replacing citations with citations of its own library, if it thinks there is no ambiguity. Is that a bug?! Unfortunately I did not try this behavior when I was working with X6, so I’m unable to tell.

In addition, the temporary citations are reformatted with the new record numbers from the library B. This behavior does occur especially when the temporary citation does not contain an author name or a date, or both. It also depends if customized settings (exclude author, year, etc.) have been activated or not. It could also happen when you have no author nor a date associated with a reference. This can be the case, when you cite, for instance, a report obtained on the web, or any kind of document with none of these fields. It is my case with legal rule and regulation, and the temporary citation looks like this: {, #428@326} or {, 1992 #561}.

It becomes even worse if you go back to the computer where library A is located and reformat the document. Some (not all) citations, which were yet correctly recognized by library B, are now incorrectly recognized by library A. Since these citations are now possessing the record number form the library B, the corresponding citation in library A has nothing to do with what you wanted to refer to. I discovered this issue in my contribution that consist of 200 footnotes. The replaced citations were no more than 5 of them, but since I discovered this by chance, I scrolled through the whole doc. I don’t even dare to wonder what would happen if it was happening to my thesis with more than 1000 footnotes references. How would you realize that footnote 356 refers to another citation that has currently nothing to do with the context, without getting back to the source.

In other words, syncing works but formatting same doc with your several synced libraries won’t. Unless, Endnote find a way to offer a complete handover, the sync feature is reduced to only take updates inside the library. Writing your paper should always be form the computer where the "Master " library is located. 

If any of you have a way to overcome this problem or want to share experience, I would be glad to here form you guys.