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How to Customize Bookends Import

October 13, 2020 — Jim Neumann
Importing Bookends references into DEVONthink.

If you are using the Pro or Server editions of DEVONthink, you can import references from the popular bibliographic manager Bookends. References are imported into a special Bookends group in the root of the database, in a custom format. If the format doesn’t fit your situation, here’s how you can customize it:

Bookends comes with a wide variety of bibliographic formats, e.g., APA 7th Edition. These formats are defined in the Biblio menu under Formats Manager. When you use the File > Import > References from Bookends command in DEVONthink, the imported files will conform to the Summary format defined in this pane.

Bookends’ manual has a Formats and Bibliographies section discussing the process of creating or editing a format. With these options you can customize the Summary format so your imports into DEVONthink will meet your specific needs. For example:

  • The section on Field Order has a description of single letter codes used for specific parts of the citation, e.g., z is the URL.
  • The section Embedding hypertext links in formatted references, you will see how to create an active hyperlink, e.g., <<t><z>> with the first item being the link text — here the Title — and the second, the URL.

There are many options to explore here, allowing for making minor adjustments or very extensive custom formats of your own.

If all this is overwhelming, you can copy and paste from one format’s text into another’s. There is a handy preview of the format shown at the bottom of the pane. If you do decide to edit the Summary, first Control-click it and choose Show in Finder. Duplicate this file, rename the original to preserve it, then rename the duplicate to Summary.fmt. Then close and open the Formats Manager in Bookends and edit the Summary as you wish.