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Scrivener Bibliography Software

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I have seen in more than a couple of posts about Scrivener a recurring question – Does Scrivener work with bibliographic software? The answer, in short, is “Yes.”

For those who are currently writing a dissertation without the aid of a bibliography/citation management software, I strongly advise that you look into getting one. I cannot begin to emphasize the joys that such software will bring to your life.

I use Scrivener and Bookends together with little to no problem. Here’s how I do it.

Footnotes in Scrivener are displayed in an unconventional manner. They are off to the right of the screen and are unnumbered. When you “compile” your final product (in .rtf or .doc format), they look like regular footnotes. The layout takes some getting used to, but within a couple of days, you don’t really notice it.

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You’ll note in the following image that many aspects of my footnotes look like gibberish (i.e., {Foster, 2007, #992@577}). This is the format in which Bookends enters and recognizes various citations.

The first step toward integrating Scrivener and Bookends is to select Scrivener as your default word processor in the Bookends preferences menu:

When you’re typing along in Scrivener and you need to compose a footnote via Bookends, simply click the “add footnote button” in Scrivener. Then, go to your bookends window, select the source (or sources) you wish to cite, and click the “copy citation” option at the top of the window:

If Scrivener and Bookends are linked, then after you click the “copy citation” button, you will be whisked away to Scrivener where you will see your citations represented in curly brackets. The numbers after the “@” symbol represent the page numbers you wish to reference. Everything between the curly brackets is replaced after you compile your document and perform a “scan” with Word (or whatever word processor you choose for final formatting):

After you have completed your document in Scrivener, you will compile it and proceed to the final formatting steps. When you open the compiled document in Word (or whatever), your footnotes will still look ugly:

To fix this, you need to “scan” the document. The option to do so is located in the “script” menu of Word which, after you install Bookends, will display the option, “scan document.” Perform the scan, and your citations will be properly formatted:

Well, almost. You’ll note that there are a few instances in these particular footnotes where the author needs to be removed, parentheses changed to square brackets, a stray period here and there, etc. This is part of the final formatting process.

Bookends is the only bibliographic software I’ve used with Scrivener. The integration is not perfect, but I am convinced that even with all the final formatting issues that exist after the scan, the program saves a great deal of time.

I cannot speak to the functionality of EndNote (which I despise) within Scrivener. Sorry.

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It is possible to use Scrivener and bibliographic software. I’m most familiar with Endnote, so this tutorial will focus on Endnote, though I’m sure that you could adapt it to other software.

Note: Scrivener does not do CWYW – it won’t compile a nice Bibliography at the end for you, but I’m assuming that most thesis writers are going to have to take their thesis into Microsoft Word at some stage, so I don’t see this as huge issue.

  1.  Nominate your Bibliographic Software in Preferences

Scrivener / Preferences / Bibliography Manager

2. Familiarise yourself with Shortcut keys.  It makes including references so much easier. Here are the basics that you should know [mac]

cmd-c for copy

cmd-v for paste

cmd-h for hide

cmd-tab for switching between different open programs.

cmd-z for undo

I also like cmd-shft-v for paste and match style otherwise I find my text ending up all messy.

3. Open up your Endnote Library.

4.  Select the citation that you want to insert.

5. cmd-c for copy

6. Don’t close or minimise Endnote. Instead just cmd-tab for switching between different open programs (Note: if you’ve got too many programs open then this doesn’t work nicely. Try to just have Scrivener and Endnote open and up on the screen. Other programs should be minimised).

7. In Scrivener, just cmd-shft-v for paste. You can also cmd-v but this will then switch to your Endnote font.

8. Your citation will look something like

{Burton, 2006 #1672}

Scrivener Bibliography Insert Reference

9. You can easily adjust this. Lets say you want to add page numbers. Just type directly into the citation

{Burton, 2006 #1672, pp.3-16}

You can see I’ve added a comma and then the pages. Endnote can ‘read’ this information later when you compile a Bibliography in Word.

If you want to omit the author

{, 2006 #1672}

You can do this because Endnote is searching for the reference number (in this case #1672).

10. You don’t need to necessarily keep flipping back to Endnote. I do this mostly cause it is good practice but you can just type in directly. Endnote will then help you sort out the references later. For instance, if I was working on my thesis somewhere without my Endnote library I could just type directly in

{Burton, 2006, pp.3-16}

I wouldn’t remember the reference number but Endnote should help me search based on the author surname and year.

Done! I hope you found this helpful. Any questions ask me in the comments.

Remember if you know a PhD student writing their thesis and they don’t yet know about Scrivener- please introduce them to this blog!

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Scrivener for Thesis Writing

About Sarina Kilham

I'm a Doctoral Researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney. Trained as a social scientist and with a Masters in Sustainable Agriculture, I'm interested in farmer's experiences of growing feedstock for biodiesel production. My research has focused on biodiesel production in Brazil and Timor-Leste. Also on Twitter @sarinakilham and blogging at thequalitativeresearcher.net

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