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Research Guides@Tufts

Infectious Disease and Global Health: Creating References

Reference Creation in EndNote: An Overview

EndNote offers multiple methods for creating references in your EndNote library.  These range from building a reference from scratch - necessary for many older materials, artwork, and government documents - to "grabbing" citations directly from online catalogs or databases.

The following is an overview of the basic reference creation methods.  For more detailed instructions, refer to the extensive documentation which comes with your EndNote installation and which is also available from the EndNote website.

Manual Creation

To build references from scratch:

  1. Select New Reference from the References Menu
  2. Select the Reference Type from the Reference Type pull-down menu; your selection determines the data fields for the reference record
  3. Enter the appropriate data into each field
  4. Close the Reference window to save your work
  5. Review the entry in the EndNote preview pane.  Select the Show All Fields output style to see the entire contents of the record.  Select your preferred output style to preview the entry as it would appear in a bibliography.


  • In certain fields, such as author, title, and journal, EndNote will suggest names as you start typing.  These suggestions are controlled by Term Lists, which you can edit.  You can assign an existing or new term list to almost very field.
  • You can link Acrobat PDF, Word, image, and other files to the reference by clicking on the File Attachments field and selecting an option from the resulting pop-up menu.
  • To generate a properly formatted citation, you only need to populate a relatively small percentage of the fields available.  But the more data you enter, the more value your EndNote Library will have as a research tool, not merely as a reference respository.

Direct Import

A growing number of online databases provide a “direct export” download option that imports your search results directly to EndNote. This option enables you to bypass most of the steps that using import filters requires.  All you need do is select the EndNote library into which the references should be imported.  A list of current direct export providers is from the EndNote website.

The Direct Export option works slightly differently with each database.  With some, the downloaded references appear immediately in your EndNote library as soon as you direct the source database to export your selected references.  With others, you see a window that provides you with an option to either “Open with” (often with “Web Export Helper” or “EndNote X.0”) or to save your references as a text file; always select Open with option to implement the Direct Export option.

Using Import Filters

With import filters, you first perform searches in the database or catalog of your choice and then download the selected references in a text file format to your computer and import them into EndNote.  EndNote supplies hundreds of import filters, which are updated regularly and can be downloaded for free from the EndNote website.

  • Import filters can be cloned and modified to control which fields of data from a catalog or database import into particular fields, for example, you could import the abstract information placed into the Notes field.
  • Many databases, such as Cambridge Scientific Abstracts (CSA) and Ovid, consist of multiple sub-databases, which contain variable sets of data fields.  EndNote provides separate import filters for each of these sub-databases to ensure that the maximum amount of field data imports into your library.
  • Each database offers a different procedure and interface for collecting citations for downloading in EndNote.  EndNote provides detailed instructions on the process for each database within each filter file.  To access this information:
    • Within EndNote, click Edit menu > Import Filters > Open Filter Manager...
    • In the EndNote Import Filters window, scroll through the list until you locate the filter for your database
    • Click on the filter; in the Comments field at the bottom of the screen, you will see a preview the import instructions.
    • Select the Edit Filter button to see the instructions in a larger window as well as to see more information about the filter.
    • The Endnote Edit Filter Screen.
  • You can create your own filter to import data into EndNote from spreadsheets, Microsoft Word generated lists, and any other software that can produce tab-delineated text files.

Importing from the Tufts Catalog

    1. Search for and mark the records you want to export.
    2. In a list view of records, click the Select Box to the left of the citation information. Then click the Save Marked Records icon.

Save marked record icon.

    1. In a single record view, click the Mark this Record button towards the top of the page (after your first record marking, a View Marked Records button appears on the row of buttons at the top of the screen).

Save marked record icon.

    1. When you are ready to import your references, click the View Mark Records button.

    1. Select the Full Display option in the Format of List column.

Catalog Export options.

  1. Select the Local Disk option in the Send List To column.
  2. Save the records as a text file with a .txt file extension to your local hard drive.
  3. Follow the instructions provided above on Using Import Filters.  Select Tufts U for the Import Option. Note: if the EndNote import filter for the Tufts U catalog does not appear in your EndNote import window, it can be downloaded from the EndNote Connection Files download site (search for Tufts in the Information Provider field).

Using Connection Files

  • With EndNote connection files, you connect to an online database and search remotely from within EndNote for the references you seek.  EndNote supplies hundreds of connection files, which are updated regularly and can be downloaded for free from the EndNote website.
  • Connection files work best with public catalogs, such as the Tufts Online Catalog, and databases, such as PubMed; for subscription-based sources, such as the online databases provided through Tufts, use the Import Filters or Direct Import methods.
  • Although they are provided in the EndNote installation, connection files for the subscription databases to which Tufts subscribes do not work because of proxy issues.  To get data from subscription databases, go to the databases and use the Import Filters or Direct Import methods to capture references.
  • Remote searching uses a basic search interface which can’t take advantage of the sophisticated features and search options of many online databases; therefore, connection files are best used for basic searches on known criteria such as call number, author name, or title.
  • The search fields available through the connection files vary according to the data source being searched.  The PubMed connection file, for example, lets you search on the unique PubMed ID.  Taking notice of each file’s unique search fields can enable you to build more efficient searches.

Tips and Tricks

  • Always check your references for accuracy and completeness. Data imported from online catalogs and databases may contain errors and omissions or have become scrambled during the import process. Not all online sources offer sufficient information to generate complete references in your preferred citation style.
  • Separate author names by carriage returns. Corporate authors, such as professional associations or government agencies, should be spelled out as you want them to appear in your bibliography, followed by a comma, e.g. American Psychological Association (APA), or the Government Printing Office,
  • EndNote is Unicode compliant and can handle a wide range of character sets and special symbols.  If you observe strange characters in imported references, experiment with the encoding options available in the Import filters (see the EndNote Manual chapter on Filters).

EndNote & PubMed

EndNote is widely used for writing and publishing in the health and medical disciplines. Consequently, it provides particular support for PubMed, the online and freely available version of MEDLINE published by the National Library of Medicine.  Things to note:

  • PubMed periodically restructures its database, adding new fields and thus altering the information available for export. Check the EndNote website regularly for updated PubMed filters and connection files.
  • PubMed does not support EndNote Direct Support for versions prior to X6 so you either must to import references using the EndNote Import Filter for PubMed or else the EndNote Connection file for PubMed (Tools menu > Online Search).  With the latter, you can search for references from within EndNote and your search criteria can include fields particular to PubMed such as MeSH Major Topic and Date, Substance Names, and the PMID, which is the unique identifier for each document in PubMed.  Instructions for selecting citations to export are available on the PubMed and EndNote websites.  For X6, see the product documentation and the video below.

  • You can customize the default PubMed import filter and connection file so that field data in mapped into an alternate set of fields.  For example, you could switch the fields into which the full and abbreviated journal names or the or the PubMed or PMC ID numbers import into.