From Endnote to Zotero

I have a large bibliography in Endnote I want to export to Zotero.
I used the advised format RIS, the import went well.
Unfortunately, the field "LB" I see in the export file is not where to be found in Zotero - the label is very important to me and without it, I cannot use Zotero.
Where does this label went?
Thanks ahead
  • Zotero doesn't have the concept of a label. What function does this have for you/what were you using this for?
  • Are not EndNote labels added to Zotero as tags?
  • I don't think so. We convert keywords to tags; I didn't think labels corresponded to tags.
  • Someone with more recent experience with EndNote will need to comment but my impression is that labels are a one-word flag that also often has a color associated with it. I believe it is an EndNote user defined keyword. I did a quick look at Google results and it appears that I am close if not on target.

    I did a forum search and couldn't find anything but I thought that someone asked this question long before.If I'm wrong, my apologies to all.
  • Doing some quick googling, people seem to use Endnote’s label field either as something like Zotero’s Colored Tags or as a Citekey for BibTeX (there is a BibTeX export style that uses Label as such).
  • Isn't it saved to the extra field? That's where things that zotero doesn't understand usually goes.
  • We typically only put stuff in the Extra field when we have some sense of what to do with it. The RIS/EndnoteXML translator have an option to include unknown elements in notes.
    If labels get interchangeably as citekeys and keywords, just importing them as tags seems unsatisfactory. Modifying the RIS translator to import these however people want doesn't seem too hard.
  • From my impression looking around help forums and such, it seems that BibTeX keys are much more commonly used here—I think that modifying the RIS and Endnote XML translators to store it in Extra with "Citation Key: " would be the best way to go.
  • Thanks to everyone for taking the time to look into that.
    It is very important to me because every pdf file i have used through different workplaces and library managers (close to 3,000) have been encoded as a number in this field.
    Modifying the RIS translator seems the way to go IF i can manage how to do that!!!
  • What field would you want this to go in? Would Call Number be appropriate? If so, export as RIS, open the file in a text editor like Notepad and find-and-replace "LB - " with "CN - ". Tag is probably not a good fit considering that each item will have its own number.
  • I really do not care where this number goes - many fields seems to have nothing after export in NCBI/Pubmed format. I will look into this. Thanks for your help.
  • Okay, I’d go with Call Number since they are basically ID numbers specific to your personal library.
  • Thanks bwiernik - it worked great!
  • edited May 7, 2021
    The EndNote label is used to generate the BibTeX label used for citations in BibTeX when exporting from EN to BibTeX. This is important for consistency of reference labelling across systems. I have used 3 types of systems so far - ProCite, EndNote and a few BibTeX-based systems. Currently, BibTeX export in Zotero uses Authorsurname_Year as its default BT label, but this is not sufficiently unique across entire libraries (try it).

    I use the label field from EndNote as the master key to track all of my 3000+ references - it is also used as the (base) filename for the file(s) associated with the record. I don't place the file into the EndNote directory tree, but rather in a separate folder (historically, because I also ran ProCite during a transition phase and kept it separate and it made it possible to have two different programs look at the same set of files - they were not "lost" inside the directory trees of either ProC or EndN).

    I think the addition of a distinct "label" field would aid the functionality of Zotero (which I am currently inspecting for utility as a change-over from EndNote). It is not the same as the Call Number field, which I use to track location info for the actual object to which the record refers (e.g.: L=electronic on computer, F=hardcopy in filing cabinet, S=on shelf at work office, H=on shelf in home office, etc).

    It would serve as the master identifier for a specific reference and would allow for easy BibTeX export, while also allowing much easier import from the many EndNoters who would happily come across if they could do so easily...

    Please consider adding such a "label" field. It would probably help uptake...
  • @drjvoros if you want more flexibility in your bibtex citekeys, try . It can generate citekeys according to a pattern of your choosing, or you can hand-set your own keys by adding "Citation Key: [your key]" in the "extra" field.

    A separate citation key field will come in later versions of Zotero.
  • @drjvroros Yes, my advice was specific to the original poster’s use case. For you, you would would to do what Emiliano says and store in Extra with the “Citekey: “ label. If you want, I can tell you how to modify the Endnote import file to do that automatically when you import from Endnote.
  • edited May 13, 2021
    OK, thanks for this advice and info - a citation key field would be most welcome - which is what I meant wrt "label". In ProCite this was the RecordID, which was auto-generated, or could be changed to a custom alphanumerical string, which is how I used it. I transferred this to EndNote's Label field, and now would like to ensure this master record/source key survives into Zotero. I'll take a look at Emiliano's link, and await the day that the citation key field shows up...
    Best wishes.
  • Like we have both said, type it in Extra as:
    Citation Key: label

    Install the BetterBibTeX plugin (which you will want to do generally if you use Zotero with LaTeX) and it will use this as the citekey.
  • @bwiernik - yes, I'd like to know how to modify the EndNote import file to shift the EndNote "label" to the Zotero Extra field as "Citekey: `label`"

    It seems the proposed inclusion of a Citation Key hinted at above is still pending, so it is time to do this thing!
  • Open your exported RIS file in a text editor and the find-and-replace all instances of “LB - ” with “M2 - Citation Key: ” Save and import into Zotero.
  • OK, cool. That was my mistake - trying to edit the XML file (= nightmare) instead of the friendlier RIS file.

    many thanks!
  • The main advantage of using XML is that it preserves rich text like italics in fields. If you don't have much of that, there should be little difference between XML and RIS from Endnote.
  • edited May 7, 2021
    The RIS file mod/import worked like a charm, thanks @bwiernik.
    The trouble is there is a LOT of formatting in the EN db that has been lost due to the issue you noted, @adamsmith.

    I'll now try a hack to see if I can't kludge Zotero XML import to give me a "Citation Key: " out of the contents of the <label </label tags....
  • edited June 12, 2019
    No, it still imports the contents of the label/label pair into the Zotero Notes as something without a corresponding field.

    Is there an XML tag that can be used to import into the Extra field of Z?

    Thus I would replace
    label style face="normal" font="default" size="100%" Citation Key: etc /style /label
    with something that imports etc into the Extra field.
  • I'm afraid the XML import currently doesn't import anything into Extra (except for PMCIDs).

    If you know some javascript, you could look at the code here: XML.js#L670 and adapt it for your purposes (your copy of the Endnote XML.js file is in the Zotero data directory).
  • Never did much javascript (even though I did work for Netscape back in the 1990s...) and am too long out of the coding game these days.

    I guess I'll just keep hoping and waiting for when CiteKey is an actual thing which is part of the field structure (as hinted at further above by @emilianoeheyns last October).

    At least I have now become familiar with the quick transfer of the main data from EN to Zotero in case I have to do so. I haven't had to do mods to import-export tags for over a decade (when I transferred my ProCite to EndNote). Mind you, the several times I've run this in various configurations were still very slow: ~2-3 hours for the 3500 refs I have.

    Thanks everyone for all your help. Fingers crossed for Citekey.
  • @josephvoros do you have a sample Endnote XML file I could look at?
  • @emilianoeheyns - only the file that comes with the standard distro of Z. I've not had a go at modifying anything.
  • @adamsmith Any reason not to implement this (label -> extra/Citation Key) in the official translator? It seems that this would be fine for all users in this thread. (Sample XML-file from Endnote would be needed for that as well.)
  • No, I think we should do this. I think initially I was hesitant because it seemed unclear what label was used for, but citekey, as @bwiernik says above, seems to be by far the most common. I think I can get some sample data.
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