need a Cross-Reference for Research items

As a non-fiction writer, I make extensive use of Research items. A single Research item may be referenced in multiple Documents.

However, for any particular Research item, I have no way of determining which Documents have references to it without going through a manual check of every Document to see if the Meta-Data pane indicates a reference. It is important to know where a Research item is used, especially if the Research is revised and I need to go back and make updates to my Documents. There should be a more efficient process to display these associations.

I would greatly appreciate the ability to select a Research item, and then click on a new feature called “Show References” that will list the Documents which contain references to it.

I would also request this new feature be given priority for the Windows version (which I use) as I suspect that most non-fiction writers use the Windows platform, and Research is critical for non-fiction.

Thanks in advance!

Completely OT


It’s called the “false consensus effect” – see:

It seems to appear very often in posts on the Wish List!

If I were the OP I would use bibliographic software, like EndNote (I don’t know what else is available for Windows – for the Mac there are also Sente and Bookends, not to mention BibDesk. Zotero is probably cross-platform, as perhaps is Mendeley). I can’t imagine doing serious research without a bibliographical database (I use Sente nowadays) – and, of course, I do it on a Mac :smiley: – in the fields of psychology and history.

Cheers, Martin (BA Hons, MSc, PhD, MBPsS :smiley: ).

I mentioned that I suspected most non-fiction writers use Windows because that’s been my observation over an admittedly limited number of people (yes, a bias, gasp!). It would be interesting to conduct a survey of Scrivener users to determine if the Mac/Windows platform is favored by authors of fiction, non-fiction, screenplays, etc. Then Scrivener enhancement efforts could prioritize platforms for features which support each respective user audience.

As a non-fiction writer who uses the Windows platform, and who appreciates Research items enough to take the initiative to post this suggestion, I would be discouraged to wait for this new feature to appear in the Mac version before it made its way to the Windows version.

Non-fiction Mac bod here: an academic book nearing completion (written mainly in Scrivener); the next project- a sort-of history of the life sciences for two centuries before Darwin - already underway; and regular journalistic articles. I use Mac, probably because of the excellent ancillary software (Hog Bay bits, nvAlt and the like) which fit well with Scrivener and which together fortify the over-forties’ naturally less secure memory and make for a rational and effective non-fiction workflow.

I don’t think of Scrivener as a ground-level research tool so much as a place for thoughtful writing and re-thinking and rewriting, so my prior research items (if they are more than textual references) tend to be organized outside of, but then made available to Scrivener. Might that kind of approach work for you too? I suppose quite a lot hangs on what you mean by `research items’.



I have adopted Scrivener’s terminology in my posts. The second predefined category in the Binder is called “Research” and this content can be associated with your documents using the References pane in the Inspector. It is simply a collection of external source material with links to your writing.

Thanks for the thoughtful replies on this topic. It seems that authors have been using other solutions and creative workarounds to manage external references. With the addition of the feature I proposed, some of this work could be accomplished within Scrivener.

From a technical perspective, the database underlying Scrivener contains these associations between a Research item and a document. It would just be a matter of displaying these links in a one-to-many presentation with the Research item as the “one” and the associated documents as the “many”.