Bibliography Reference Managers that Really Work!

JabRef + DocEar4Word = Great Tools for Managing References!

For many times, I am getting asked from my students, what the best referencing software is. Don’t want to contemplate about the disadvantages of many of the commercial versions, but instead want to promote a great open-source solution. I am these tools since over 10 years, after having had many trials with other software, and it simply worked without any glitches. This solution is also great, as the file format for storing reference is in ASCII (BibTex format), thus can also be edited with any editor across all operating systems.

The Two Essential Open Source Tools

The things you need to get it working:

Typically I store the produced file in the cloud, which is coming very handy when working across different machines.

Additional Citation Styles

For the more advanced users, and if you would like to use a citation style that is not directly integrated into DocEar4Word, you can simply download some styles from:

Problem: JabRef does not show URLs or Docear4Word does not show URLs

One problem that I always had, was that the URL field did not show when inserting references into word. There is a simple solution for that:

  • download the citation style from the website above that displays URLs, as for some they have URL versions (e.g. IEEE-URL);
  • or follow the following little guide:
  1. download the citation file with the suffix .csl from the CSL website, or find the citation file folder on your computer and open the relevant .csl file with any text editor (typically the files are in the folder C:\ProgramData\Docear4Word\Styles)
  2. the entry within the CSL files, which makes URLs appear is: <text variable=”URL”/>
  3. the entry above needs to be added to every citation type (e.g. article-journal, thesis, etc.) at the end of the relevant type entry. Don’t forget the last <else> clause in the file, as this is for entry types that are not covered by the citation types in the file, as e.g. misc entries in the BibTeX file:

    <else-if type=”thesis”>

       <group prefix=”. ” delimiter=”, “>
    <text variable=”genre”
    text-case=”capitalize first”/>

          <text variable=”publisher”/>

         <text variable=”URL”/>

Conclusions – Simply Enjoy these Tools…

I am sure you will enjoy this lovely tools after some time – typically they are very reliable, and if not – you always have a text file where you can find all your references if things don’t work out.


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