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Using open-source tools for documenting research

Using open-source tools for documenting research

Posted Jan 19, 2006 10:16 UTC (Thu) by hingo (guest, #14792)
Parent article: Using open-source tools for documenting research

Not being familiar with EndNote I can only wonder why the OOo Tools > Bibliography Database is not good enough?

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Mostly a matter of the network effect

Posted Jan 19, 2006 12:10 UTC (Thu) by fredrik (subscriber, #232) [Link]

From what I here from others, it's not a matter of which utility has the technical edge, but _mostly_ a matter of wanting to use "what all the others use". The network effect is important, people need to share bibliographic information, and people co-write papers. And since EndNote appears to have a firm grip of the unfortunate Windows and Word users out there, everything else that is not 1:1 compatible will have a hard time competing. Even if it could solve the task at hand better than EndNote.


network effect, BibTeX

Posted Jan 19, 2006 13:18 UTC (Thu) by pjm (subscriber, #2080) [Link] describes BibTeX as the “de facto standard for publications in several fields of the ‘hard sciences’ (physics, mathematics, computer science and engineering”. I can confirm this for Computer Science: the name EndNote is unfamiliar to me, whereas BibTeX is used by CiteSeer.

The BibTeX format is plain text and well-understood: see e.g. The aforementioned points to converters between BibTeX and numerous other important bibliographic formats.

The EndNote web site refers to for (apparently Macintosh-only) conversion between BibTeX and EndNote; where one finds which gives the impression that all of the limitations in converting between the two formats are due to limitations in the EndNote format rather than in the BibTeX format.

It may thus be more profitable to seek compatibility between OpenOffice and BibTeX than trying to track a proprietary product like EndNote.

See for's wiki page on bibliographic software.


Posted Jan 21, 2006 21:36 UTC (Sat) by liamh (subscriber, #4872) [Link]

You might look into RefDB, a reference database and bibliography tool. It is accompanied by conversion tools. There are some subtle points about bibliographic references that makes it hard to define a standard and perform intelligent conversions, but as far as I've seen, the RefDB people have put the most effort into it.

OOo biblio database SUCKS!! (at least in 1.1.3)

Posted Jan 23, 2006 1:11 UTC (Mon) by hazelsct (guest, #3659) [Link]

I just got through with an attempt to write a proposal with citations using OO.o 1.1.3 and its bibliographic database. The goal was to easily produce .doc files which my collaborators could edit and return with revisions.

It was excruciatingly painful. Bad. Horrendus. So dreadful, that after the edits to the text, I copied and pasted the whole thing into emacs/LaTeX, and re-did the bibliography using BibTeX.

First, entries such as author, title, etc. were length-constrained to about THIRTY CHARACTERS! What the hell??? Almost all of the articles I cited had longer titles or lists of authors.

Second, the default formats absolutely SUCKED! And when a field was missing (e.g. booktitle, editor), it just put two commas with blank space between them: "Author, Title, , , 2004.!" At least BibTeX can sanely deal with missing fields.

Third, the bibliography did not auto-regenerate when new entries were added, and there was no way to re-generate the bibliography!

Fourth, I share config files among a bunch of machines using rsync, and some machines used the database in .openoffice/1.0.1/database/biblio, others in 1.1.1, others in 1.1.0. What the hell??? All of these machines are using identical versions of Debian sarge and identical .openoffice tree, why can some of them open the database and others not??

Version 2.0(.1) may be much better, but that they could let such a piece of crap get released has forever soured me in using OOo for any document involving a database, which for me is just about everything.

Sorry about the all-caps, this was such a nuisance to me for the past few days I'm a bit emotional about it just now. Meanwhile, I'm upgrading to Debian etch with OOo 2.0. In the meantime, BibTeX users considering a migration should "caveat scriptor".

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