Moving to a BibDesk workflow


I am in the process of moving over to a LaTeX output workflow, using Scrivener as my writing environment together with TextMate for fine tuning the TEX file prior to typesetting.

Although my new workflow is still somewhat embryonic, I’m fast reaching the stage where I need to take a deep breath and face the nightmare that is citation and bibliography management.

Previously I have been using EndNote with Scrivener - dragging and dropping references into Scrivener (which gave me that “{author, date, #xx}” entry) - exporting to RTF, and then through a combination of Pages and Word, producing a final document with correctly formatted citations and bibliography. It wasn’t a trivial exercise, but it seemed to work well.

However, EndNote doesn’t seem to exist in the LaTeX world, and I’m faced with the prospect of moving (or at least duplicating) my reference database from EndNote to BibDesk. My first trials in this regard have left me with the depressing thought that I am back at square one.

Although slightly beyond the scope of this forum, I’d be grateful for any advice from users of Scrivener who have faced a similar situation - moving an Endnote / Scrivener / Word (Pages) workflow over to a LaTeX workflow (perhaps using TextMate, and quite probably BibDesk).

I’m happy to keep Scrivener as just my creative environment, even to the point of not getting carried away with XSLT files (my LaTeX output is pretty standard ‘article’). However, the text will include a lot of citations, and the bibliography is likely to be very long, constantly changing and updating (think thesis).

Alternatively, just some technical advice on how to incorporate an EndNote library (yes, I hope to keep using EndNote) into Scrivener/MMD output for bibliography automation at the LaTeX compile stage would be appreciated. I gather at the very least I will need to use BibDesk somewhere in the workflow.

Many thanks,


Paul, I use BibDesk in conjunction with Scrivener and Nisus Writer. I don’t use it with LaTeX. I find it pleasant to use, apart for the fact that copying citatons has been made as hiddedn as it could (but, when you discover how it works, it is not difficult at all, being just a matter of dragging & dropping).

I don’t know if I’m using it in the standard way. Actually, I cannot find information/opinions on what’s the right way of using bibliographic software. Having studied mostly in a country where the university only asks you to write once in the whole course, has probably weakened me on this front. Here is my main doubt:

  • It is common practice to insert in the text a placeholder for the citation. The placeholder is then scanned and replaced with the formatted citation when it is time to finalize the document.

  • On the contrary, I insert formatted citations in my text. I use either the “Eco 1980, p. 200” format for inline citations, or the full “U. Eco, Il nome della rosa, Bompiani, Milano 1980, p. 200” for footnotes. In BibDesk, I create a folder for the full bibliography of a particular work. When it is time to create the final bibliography, I drag the folder from BibDesk to my text editor.

  • I don’t know if my way prevents rescanning, and if rescanning is actually needed when inserting already formatted citations.

However, please feel free to ask. Maybe I can be of some help.


Thanks Paulo.

I ended up abandoning EndNote completely, and moved everything over to BibDesk. In the end, the fact that EndNote and LaTeX are essentially incompatible, and the fact that BibDesk does pretty well everything that EndNote does made the decision easier.

I’m now dragging my citations directly from BibDesk to Scrivener. The cite keys are preserved after compiling to LateX, and format beautifully when I export to PDF.

The power and flexibility of BibTex makes the final export very easy, and I’m not sure why I hesitated to move from EndNote in the first place.

Goodbye to MS Word, and Pages forever.