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Mendeley's automatic BiBTeX file generation is a godsend in terms of avoiding the mindless and potentially error-prone work of copying citation information from PDFs of research papers to to BiBTeX. However, its automatic bibliographic information extraction algorithm is a little error-prone, and sometimes, even with proper bibliographic information, the export to BiBTeX file process tends to mess up accented characters (such as å, ø, é, etc.).

Does anyone have any suggestions on a workflow for correcting the .bib files automatically generated by Mendeley? I'm particularly interested in workflows that back-propagate the corrections back to the Mendeley database so that I don't have to keep correcting .bib files repeatedly.

Right now, I work on a Mac, so I currently edit the automatically generated .bib file with BibDesk; something reasonably close to equivalent on Linux would be editing the .bib file with JabRef, or even going through the .bib file with a text editor and BiBTeX-specific package (like emacs and AUCTeX).

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closed as off topic by Marco Daniel, Joseph Wright Aug 4 '12 at 21:43

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Hi Geoff. Take a look at a related question I asked a while back. The question is on biblatex, but also describes my working BibTeX workflow and provides a script for downloading and cleaning up a citeulike BibTeX file. You can probably alter that script to suit your needs. – qubyte Feb 23 '12 at 6:35
Note also that as you're using a Mac, you have the tools on your system by default to do this, provided you don't mind using the terminal. It wouldn't push changes back to Mendeley, but it'd save you from having to repeat effort by automating the necessary changes. When it screws up the accented characters, does it do so predictably? There may also be an encoding issue. – qubyte Feb 23 '12 at 12:19
@MarkSEveritt: Agreed; I can just pop open a terminal window. I'm going to take a look at your script, tweak it, and port it to Python (my shell language of choice these days). I'll let you know how it works in the next week or so. – Geoff Oxberry Feb 23 '12 at 20:24
I never did get along with regular expressions in Python, so I'll be interested to see what you come up with (I'll definitely learn something new). Incidentally, if you can be persuaded to use biblatex, the new regular expressions capability is brilliant for filtering. – qubyte Feb 24 '12 at 12:40
I used a Perl script with the most common mistakes for my doctoral dissertation, helped me a great deal. Though in the long term, it is better to just fix the references in Mendeley. Supposedly, future releases of the desktop program will increase bibtex export. – Timothée Poisot Mar 23 '12 at 3:17