A Simple Script to Import Unstructured Bibliographies into Zotero

After having received another bibliography in an unstructured format (.doc), I finally made up my mind to write a simple bibliographic script that allows me to import it into Zotero saving me quite a lot of manual editing.

Basically this script groups different calls to single software components (ParsCit, bibutils, Saxon) into a single pipeline.

The source code is hosted at GitHub and is likely to be quite buggy (particularly the XSLT transformation from ParsCit’s XML into MODS has not been thoroughly tested yet). So feel free to fork the repository and improve the code where needed.

In more detail what the script does is:

  1. takes as input a plain text bibliography with one entry per line;
  2. parses the input using a ParsCit engine;
  3. outputs an intermediate mods encoding of the bibliography;
  4. finally transforms the intermediate mods into a BibTeX file;
  5. your bibliography is now ready to be imported in to Zotero!

A big CAVEAT about the accuracy of the BibTeX output: since the parsing of the plain text input is done automatically by ParsCit, some bibliographic fields might result to be incorrect and thus some manual editing may be needed.

The result won’t be perfect, but at least I don’t have to input everything manually from scratch.

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2 thoughts on “A Simple Script to Import Unstructured Bibliographies into Zotero

  1. C’è un parser per le citazioni anche nell’ultima versione di OJS.
    Riprende quello che era stato creato per il progetto Lemon8.
    Quello che non ha è un output in BibTeX.

    Se hai voglia potresti darci un’occhiata…

  2. I have just read another post about migrations up to Zotero, written by Dominique Stutzmann : http://ephepaleographie.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/passer-dendnote-a-zotero-refman-ris-et-volume-dans-la-collection-switching-from-endnote-to-zotero-refman-ris-export-and-series-number/

    These are not the same problems at all, but I’ve thought the coincidence deserved interest.

    I will mention this post on Dominique’s blog, as he would be interested by some conversion from unstructured bibliography to Zotero.

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