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EndNote X: Building a Library

NOTICE: This tutorial will be retired on June 1, 2013. Please see our EndNote X5 tutorial.

This section discusses the process of creating an EndNote library and populating it with references. (For information about the basics of working with existing EndNote libraries, see the Getting Started section.)


Creating an EndNote Library

Creating an EndNote library is similar to creating a file or document. Think of a name for your library and where you'd like to store it.

To create an EndNote library:

  1. Choose New from the EndNote File menu.
  2. Enter a name for your new library.
  3. Choose a location for the library using the "Save in" list.
  4. Click Save.

EndNote library filenames are automatically given the extension .enl (for EndNote Library). The filename you enter appears in the top left hand corner of the window. At the bottom left corner of the window, the words "Showing 0 out of 0 references" indicate that your new EndNote library is empty. 

One Library or Several?

There is no limit to the number of EndNote libraries you can create, but it is usually best to create only one library for each general topic or field.

It may be a good idea to keep separate libraries for very different fields of investigation. For example, if you are an astronomer but your hobby is entomology, you might choose to keep references for these two research interests in separate libraries.

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Adding References to a Library

There are three ways to add references to an EndNote library:

Although you may initially find the manual option more appealing, building your library electronically ensures efficiency and lessens the chance of error.

Adding References Manually

In some cases, you may want or need to enter a reference manually. Since the is the most basic way to enter a reference into your EndNote library, we are discussing it first.

  1. From the EndNote References Menu, choose New Reference.
  2. In the New Reference dialog box, choose the type of reference you are creating from the Reference Type drop down menu. It is important to choose the appropriate reference type for proper formatting of your references and bibliography.
  3. Click to select a field (author, year, title, etc.) into which you want to enter information. In the above example, the Author field is selected. Type in the information, then go on to the next field. If you don't need information for a field, you can leave the field blank.
  4. Close the New Reference window. The reference will now appear in your EndNote library.

Watch the Video

Direct Connection To Remote Databases

EndNote's direct connection feature allows you to search remote databases over the internet from within EndNote.

To connect directly to a remote database:

  1. From EndNote's Tools menu, choose Connect. A submenu will appear.
  2. Click "Connect..." (the first item in the submenu) to see a complete list of available databases.  (Note: the other items in the submenu are databases you have previously searched. To go directly to one of these databases, click on its name.)
    A dialog box appears that shows a list of connection files (databases you can search).  Click once on items in the list to see brief descriptions in the "Comments" area in the lower part of the dialog box.
    (Note: Clicking on "Find" button may help you find the database more quickly.)
  3. To connect to a database, click on its name and click "Connect" (or double-click the name). 
    Watch the Video
    A dialog box appears that allows you to search the database. The name of the database appears in the title bar (In the following example, PubMed).
  4. Enter text in one or more search fields. Then click Search to search the database.
    In the above example, Keyword (MeSH) was chosen using the drop down menu. The "And" button was clicked and a publication date (2003) was entered. The search will retrieve references containing the keyword phrase "west nile virus" that were published in 2003.
    Note: To indicate a range of dates, separate the years by a colon (for example, 2002:2003).
  5. A "Confirm Remote Search" dialog box appears. Click OK to retrieve references.

    The retrieved references are placed in a temporary holding area and displayed.
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  6. Select the references you want to copy to your EndNote library. If you don't select any references, all references will be copied. In the following example, two references are selected.
  7. Click on the "Copy References To" dropdown menu, and choose the EndNote library to which you want to copy the references:

Watch the Video

Importing Citations from Saved Database Searches

EndNote also allows you to import citations you have saved from previous database searches. To import references this way, you need to have saved your citations as a text file, in a format compatible with EndNote.

Because EndNote's direct connection feature is so convenient, you may not ever find it necessary to import text files. But the import feature can be useful. For example, if you are away from your office and do not have EndNote on the computer you are using, you can save your searches as text files and import them later.  Also, you can do more targeted searches using the advanced features of a program such as PubMed.

Note: The steps required to save searches as text files vary, depending on which database searching program you are using. Check online help for the searching program to find out how to save your citations as a text file for importing into EndNote. For help with PubMed, see HSL's tips for downloading from PubMed at http://www.hsl.unc.edu/guides/endnotepubmed.cfm.

To import citations saved as a text file:

  1. . Choose Import from the File menu.
    The Import dialog box appears:
  2. Click the Choose File button. This allows you to browse and choose the file you want to import. Then you will be returned to the Import dialog box and the file name will be displayed.
  3. Select the Import option (filter) by clicking on the drop down menu.
    If the filter for the database is not listed, choose Other Filters.

    The Choose an Import Filter dialog box will appear. Choose the filter from the list. (Note: Clicking on  may help you find the filter more quickly.)

    After you choose a filter, you will be returned to the Import dialog box.
  4. In the Import dialog box, Choose whether you want to import duplicates of citations already in your Endnote library, and choose a text translation if necessary.
  5. Click Import to Import the contents of the file into your EndNote Library.

Watch the Video

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