Organizing bibliographies

First - wow!

I’ve been peeking at the Scriverner site for some time, but did not have Tiger. I upgraded to just yesterday and today decided Scrivener was once programme I wanted to check out.

Second - wow! (yeah, twice.) Nice program. I’ll give it a good workover, but I’m willing to bet I’ll be shelling out for it before long.

In the meantime, I wonder what is the best way to organize a bibliography. I’m planning to use Scrivener more for academic works and am looking for some hints from other on how best to organize a bibliography.

I’m looking for the function allowing me, for example, to enter a work I want to reference in a footnote and be able to drag it from a list into a footnote and which (presumably) might automatically insert “ibid.” and so on in the proper places or compile a list of references at the end of a chapter. I suspect this might not be part of the package, but I’m betting someone might have thought of something so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Meanwhile, I am certainly looking forward to using this program for lots of projects. :slight_smile:

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the thumbs up. :slight_smile:

For what you want to do I would recommend using a dedicated bibliography manager in conjunction with Scrivener - something like Bookends, Endnote or Sente. Scrivener 1.1 (you can download the beta of 1.1 from the Beta Testing forum) allows you flick straight to your citation manager of choice with a keyboard shortcut, so that entering citations and managing bibliographies should be easier.

I think other academic users will probably be able to advise you better, though.

All the best,

The Bookends / Scrivener combination works well with the new beta. You can put hyperlinks to references in Bookends (actually these hyperlinks work in a lot of different programs, not just Scrivener) and/or citations that will be picked up when you scan a document that has been exported from Scrivener to rtf. There’s one shortcut (Command-y) that works in both applications (this is the bit that is new in the beta): in Scrivener it takes you from Scrivener to Bookends and in Bookends it takes you from Bookends back to Scrivener and pastes in a citation to the active reference in Bookends. It’s complicated to describe, but beautifully simple to do.

I don’t know about the integration with Sente or Endnote. (Endnote is the MS Word of reference managers, by the way. Industry standard, buggy, bloated, owned by an apparently uncaring corporation. Sente is the newest. I haven’t used it.)

There’s a free trial of Bookends which works just like the full version, except for a limitation on the number of references in a database, so you can try it out. The Bookends forum is good, and the developer is very responsive and helpful. (He and Keith are in the same league, I think, way way ahead of most.)

The usual disclaimer applies: my connection with Bookends/Sonny Software/Jon is just as a happy customer.

Thanks for the tips. Bookends looks great, but at that price it is certainly overkill for me. Almost none of my citations will come from the internet as I’ll be getting them from musty old libraries in Ukraine and Russia where technology is not much past filing card indexes, I’m afraid.

I’m just looking for a way to organise the citations I collect and easily insert them into Scrivener. Bookends could surely do that, but it’s not worth $99 to me as I won’t be using much of its capabilities…

Nicka, I tracked this post down from your reply to my other one (in the Usage section). I’m in a similar boat as Dave with respect to my sources. most will be from physical books as opposed to online (though I guess mine will be mostly American/European so they might be at the LoC).

Getting the bibliographic details for books into Bookends is mostly pretty easy: there’s the Library of Congress, also Cambridge University library and Oxford University library. I can’t remember the last time I had to type in the details of a book. For ancient manuscripts or books in other languages, I suppose it would be different.

Ah, this is very helpful. Just getting into Scrivener and was wondering about bookends integration. I’ve got the new scrivener beta, and have setup Bookends as bib software in the preferences (and Scrivener as the word processor for bookends).

I’m having two small problems. Firstly, when I hit Command-y in Scrivener, it doesn’t take me to bookends. I have to go to bookends manually. When I’m in bookends the command-y takes me to Scrivener and inserts the citation without a prob. Not a big deal, but figure I’ve missed something.

Secondly, I’m curious whether I’m able to have multiple citations in the same quotes automatically (eg. (Powell, 1992; Thomas, 2007)). Seems to enter them as separate citations. I’m then able to replace the }{ with a ; to turn into a single citation, just curious whether I’m missing something.

Thanks for the help. Strange how it seems like the same names pop up on all these forums.

Best, Taman

It seems to me that you could use the “Research” section to keep bibliographic information as you would use physical index cards. (as described here for example.

As to easily inserting them into Scrivener: that’s a matter where you perhaps would need to use something like Bookends, unless you’re talking about copy and paste in a split window view, say from the left editor to the right. If you want an automatically compiled bibliography and flexibility in terms of output styles, you do need a dedicated bibliography program. The power of Bookends does not lie in being able to collect bibliographic information from online sources (that’s a nice feature, but certainly not necessary), but in its ability to “scan” an rtf document for citations and to produce a manuscript formated in a style that you can choose, including a bibliography. Some people on this forum use LaTex and BibTex, a system which provides these capabilities for no money, but for the price of a daunting learning curve.


The shortcut for launching the bibliography manager from Scrivener is shift-cmd-Y, not just cmd-Y. Cmd-Y brings up the script menu when you are in scriptwriting mode. So, just remember to hit the shift key when in Scrivener, then it will work. If you never use the scriptwriting menu, you can of course change the shortcut for the bibliography manager to cmd-Y using OS X’s keyboard & mouse preferences.
Hope that helps.
All the best,

much better! Thanks!

Hi there,
I am a doctoral student working on my dissertation. I stumbled upon this program while looking for a basic note taking program. This is much more then that and I am really excited to start using it. I understand how the program can be used for scree writes and novelists, but I am wondering how people are using it for academic work. For instance, i want to be able to take digital note cards, should I put them into references or could make text files with it the draft folder for instance in the chapter 1 folder, and use the text ability of the chapter folder to be the chapter I am writing.

Anyway I guess i just need some input on how to best use this program for my dissertation. I am using endnotes as my bib program, so i am also wondering how everyone is handling footnotes.

Sorry if this doesn’t make much sense, but I not a great writer and thus why I am excited about using this program to help e organize my thoughts.


Perhaps we should have a section of the forum devoted to New Users? If you read the FAQ and Tutorial, and then search the site for words like dissertation, bibliography, and Endnote, you’ll find answers to your questions. But here are a few tips.

Type your notes as items in the Research folder. After each note, hit Return to create a new item. Give them titles that describe the contents of the notes. Then gather notes into folders, with titles. Those are the topics (or chapters) of your project. You may also store web sites, images, and text files in the Research folder.

Use the Corkboard to create synopses where needed. I prefer to do that for a folder, rather than all the individual notes. In Preferences: General, define EndNote as your Bibliography/Citations manager. To enter a citation in your draft, copy and paste the reference number: {Adams, 1995 #1}. Later, Word will convert those to full citations. (EndNote is also a note-taker, in its Abstract field)

In the Draft folder, create folders and items that are the chapters and sub-sections of your text. If you split the view, you may see draft in one screen and notes in the other. When you have a complete draft, export it to Word (or other processor) for final formatting. Much of this you will learn by doing, so dive in and start typing up notes.

And how do you extract the references from those libraries to Bookends or Sente?

I have been typing in the details of the books needed for my PhD.

I use Scrivener for both academic and creative writing. I wrote my whole dissertation using Scrivener, and I just finished an article for a British journal. Scrivener is one of the three main tools I use for academic writing. The other two are:

  1. DevonThink: I enter in DT all my notes, as well as all the PDF files (from on line sources such as JStor), and scanned images of my hand-drawn diagrams.
  2. Bookends: It’s useful to enter citations and to produce a bibliography once you are done. Because you can select several formats, it’s a real time saver. The interface is rather clumsy, and sometimes the scanning is not smooth, but overall it works fine.

Now that Leopard has Spaces, it’s pretty easy to have Scrivener in one space, Bookends in another, and DevonThink in yet another space, and easily go back and forth as needed.

I hope this is helpful.