Fields manually filled in .bib-file are empty when opening in JabRef

Hi everyone,

for efficiency reasons, I edited my .bib file in a text editor. I took great care to respect JabRefs entry order and syntax (I filled the fields I wanted to edit manually in an exemplary entry in JabRef, exported that entry, opened it in my text editor, and used it as a “style manual”.

But now, when I open the manually edited .bib file in JabRef, the fields “readstatus” and “relevance” are empty even though I filled them with arguments (see screenshots):

If I do not touch the respective entries in JabRef (e. g. when I just check whether the fields are filled or not, just to find that they are empty), I can open, save, and close the .bib file there and still find the fields when I open the file in the text editor. If however I try to edit the respective entries (does not matter which field), the “invisible” arguments are deleted from the .bib file so that even if I open it in the text editor the fields are gone.

How can I fix this problem? I am using this JabRef version:
JabRef 5.1–2020-08-30–e023aa0
Mac OS X 10.15.7 x86_64
Java 15

Thank you for your insights and tipps!

I guess you have to “Enable special fields” in Options -> Preferences -> Entry table

Thank you, mlep, that’s a good tip. In my case, it had already been enabled – – –

but: just after I put the post up, I had an idea, which turned out to be correct. I will document here how I solved that problem so that anyone encountering it as well will be able to solve it, too.

I am still quite new to JabRef, so I did not realize that I picked exactly the wrong fields for my custom library organisation keywords:

Situation: “relevance” and “readstatus” are special fields (see here for User Documentation), which means, they are linked to the display of graphic elements (readstatus: eye in three different colors, relevance: one to five stars) and therefore have only a limited number of very clearly defined options that JabRef will accept. (At least that is how I interpret this whole issue.)

Complication: Consequently, JabRef gets a problem, if I put my own terms in these particular fields.

Solution: In Options > Set up general fields I defined a new tab (Database organisation) and two new fields with customized names that were not already used by Jabref (“databasereadstatus” and “databaserelevance”). Then, I opened the .bib file in a text editor and did a search-and-replace for readstatus > databasereadstatus and relevance > databaserelevance. And––lo and behold–– it worked and my manually filled-in arguments are back, and I can use them for smart groups.

Thank you anyway for your availability,

1 Like