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Mostly a matter of the network effect

Mostly a matter of the network effect

Posted Jan 19, 2006 12:10 UTC (Thu) by fredrik (subscriber, #232)
In reply to: Using open-source tools for documenting research by hingo
Parent article: Using open-source tools for documenting research

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.


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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.

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