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I am hoping to draw upon the expertise of other LaTeX/BibTeX user to help improve a common workflow of mine.

Currently, I download and import BibTex citations from the likes of IEEE/Springer/ScienceDirect and then cut and paste the citation into JabRef. That is, it goes something like this:

  • (In firefox) IEEE/Springer/Whatever -> Export as BibTeX
  • Open export.bib in gedit
  • Create new article in JabRef
  • Copy-paste citation text from gedit into Jabref.

Trying to open the export.bib file into Jabref has it open the BibTeX file as a new database and I have to copy and paste the citation anyway.

I would like to improve this workflow to a one-click "Open With" when I save the .bib from Firefox and it gets added to my BibTeX database.

I currently use JabRef, but would be willing to switch BibTeX managers if something else (in Linux) offers this feature. Of course, a script with cat $FILE >> /path/to/my_database.bib might work, but I then still have to find that reference to link it to the paper I just saved :)

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JabRef can import files into a bib-file: File --> Import into current database. –  Torbjørn T. Oct 27 '12 at 8:36
3  
You might also consider using a different tool, e.g. Zotero or Mendeley both have a "one-click savo-to-database button" for all major browsers, including Firefox. Web-based alternatives are Connotea, citeulike or BibSonomy. All of the mentioned programs allow export to .bib files which can be used directly or manipulated using JabRef. –  matth Oct 27 '12 at 10:08
1  
You might also consider switching to biblatex+biber as biber can open remote .bib data sources directly with no importing or downloading at all. –  PLK May 3 '13 at 19:36

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can set up Jabref to automatically import a reference from Firefox into the current database, but it's somewhat arcane. Here is my solution under Linux:

1) Select Options -> Preferences -> Advanced -- and check "Listen for remote operation ..." I don't think it matters which port.

2) Create a small bash script (text file) named "jabref-import" that looks like this:

#!/bin/bash
java -jar ~/local/jabref/JabRef-2.8.1.jar -i --importToOpen "$*"

Replace "~/local/jabref/JabRef-2.8.1.jar" with the path to your Jabref .jar file on your machine. Or if you have a working executable called "jabref", you can replace everything before the "-i" with "jabref". Just make sure your executable accepts command-line options (mine didn't).

In Ubuntu 13.04, the following variant of the script works:

#!/bin/bash
`which jabref` -i --importToOpen "$*"

where which jabref searches for an executable called jabref on your current $PATH.

3) Make the file executable:

chmod ugo+x jabref-import

4) Make sure Jabref is already open. Go to Firefox, download a citation file. It could be a .bib or .ris or .ref or whatever. Select the "Open with..." option in the dialog, and select the jabref-import executable that you just made. The import dialog should pop up in Jabref with your citation.

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Thank you for providing a solution about 6 months after I first asked :) It is precisely what I was looking for. –  Damien May 4 '13 at 0:18

If you have the BibTeX-Code available and copy that to your clipboard (either by opening the export.bib or by copying it from the homepage) and you click on the JabRef window (so that it has the focus) you can just paste (Ctrl+V) it as a new entry.

I knew that from BibDesk (Mac OS) which I am using and found the same for JabRef here http://sourceforge.net/projects/jabref/forums/forum/318825/topic/1653744

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Quite helpful. Reduces the workflow by a step or two. To find the article quickly again, sort by timestamp. –  Damien Oct 28 '12 at 0:41

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