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My colleague and I would like to operate a shared endnote bibliography database. The problem is that he runs Windows (and has already compiled a large database of citations and files), while I run a Linux box. Is there a good alternative for Linux that can read and edit the shared bibliography file?

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migrated from Aug 2 '10 at 8:37

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Two possibilities:

First possibility: Instruct your colleague to use Endnote's "BibTeX export" filter to export the database in BibTeX format. Be aware that Endnote allows you to write your own export filters, and its not hard to write a better BibTeX export filter than the one provided.

Second possibility: Instruct your colleague to save the database (from Endnote) in Endnote's own Endnote-XML format (which is presumably a text representation of the usual Endnote format). You will then be able to use bibutils to convert the Endnote-XMl file into various other formats (BibTeX and a few less famous ones as well).

Various reference managers are available that use BibTeX as their base format: my favourite is Jabref (it's a java program so works on Windows and Linux). Also, BibTeX files are fairly easy to edit with your favourite text editor.

Ideally you want to persuade your colleague to upgrade from Endnote to JabRef. To minimise the trauma, you could point out that there's a BibTeX to Endnote converter available that would let him/her bail out if it all gets too much. The BibTeX-Endnote converter is available from and it's so featureful that it can even import BibTeX italics (much easier than trying to italicise within Endnote).

My only criticism of JabRef is that its MS-Word 2007 export filter wasn't quite right last time I looked. My workaround is to use bibutils to convert the BibTeX file into the XML format used by the Word 2007 bibliography tool (but this still needs a bit of post processing to clear up a confusion between "Journal" and "Periodical"; I use a small sed script for this tidying up).

You don't say how you produce documents on your Linux computer. If you use [La]TeX, then BibTeX format is the obvious one to use (with the bibtex program of course!). If your use ConTeXt, then bibtex is still an option. If you use [Open|Libre]Office, then you might want to look at the various extensions that provide interaction with, e.g., bibtex.

I have no affiliation with any of the above programs: my answers reflect what works for me.

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If you want a shared list of references, you probably want Mendeley. It runs on PC, Mac, and Linux and integrates with word processors on all three platforms as well, using the shared references so you can all edit your documents from the same shared list. You can just import your Endnote file and you're good to go. FYI - I work for Mendeley.

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You need to read the Super User FAQ - regarding that answers promoting your own product need to have a statement of affiliation with you, otherwise they will be deleted as spam. – studiohack Apr 27 '11 at 4:21
Didn't mean to infringe. My affiliation is clearly stated on my profile, but I'll edit my answer as well. – William Gunn Apr 28 '11 at 21:04
yes, we require affiliation to your product in your answers, as well as your profile. Thanks! and welcome to SU! – studiohack Apr 28 '11 at 21:06

This wikipedia page has a big list of alternative software that can import from and export to Endnote format:

Scroll down to 'Import file formats'.

For example,

  • Bibus (GPL)
  • Connotea (GPL)
  • JabRef (GPL)
  • Jumper (GPL)
  • Mendeley (Proprietary)
  • Refbase (GPL)
  • RefDB (GPL)
  • Sente (proprietary)
  • Wikindx (GPL)
  • Zotero (GPL)

The only one of the above I have used is Zotero. It's pretty light-weight but highly regarded.

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Have you considered running EndNote under Wine? That is, if you have an EndNote license anyway (which you might if you are at a University).

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