How to fetch data after droping a pdf file?

I want to manage my PDFs.

So far I know how to:

  1. Create a library (also called a table?)
  2. Create a new entry
  3. Drop a PDF file onto the entry.

The file is linked to the entry, but that is it. Nothing else happens; No Title, Author, Year information at all. (When I tried with Linux version, I was able to see the title etc. twice, only twice. And I cannot replicate the behavior.) Not even a menu option to fetch metadata manually. In Zotero there’s a “Retrieve metadata for PDF”, nice and clear.

How do I “retrieve metadata”? Is JabRef supposed to do it automatically? Is there any options or checkbox I have to check?

Frankly I do not understand why I cannot figure this out by myself. It seems to me is the basic, most basic user case, yet it is so obscure for a new user to find out. But many recommend JabRef. What is going on here?

Thank you for your help!

JabRef tries to read metadata for the pdf (if avaiable)
In JabRef you can do a “Update with bibliograpic information from the web” in the entry editor.

However, normally the workflow is the other way round. You add a citation, e.g. paste a DOI on the entry table and then lookup the fulltext online or locallly

Thank you for your reply!

I tried to find “Update with bibliograpic information from the web” but failed miserably… where is it? The entry editor has tabs “Required fields” etc; is it hidden in any of the tabs?

Sorry to bother you with such a simple matter…

You need to open the pdf, copy ISBN or doi and include that manually in the entry (in the given field, e.g. doi or isbn). Afterwards the context menu (Get BibTeX data from doi/ISBN, etc) will allow you to pull the other metadata.

Thank you!

So there is no “Update with bibliographic information from the web” as Christoph said above?

Comparing to Zotero, this is very inconvenient. Also, many papers in ArXiv have no DOI nor ISBN. Zotero works with them fine, but JabRef is just blind to them.

Maybe using the JabRef browser extension (formerly known as JabFox) would help you:

That should be the closest to a normal Zotero workflow, I think.

Regarding the “Update with bibliographic information from the web” feature: Open an item in JabRef. On the left hand side of the entry view you see a couple of icons. The one that you are looking for is the circle arrow (see attached image).

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I would typically insert a doi (as in the screenshot) or an isbn, and then use the context menu :slight_smile:

Thank you Ingmar and A Egit!

I now have a better understanding of JabRef workflow. I think it works to a certain extent for me: no complicated database files like Zotero, just a text file.

However, it is inconvenient with PDF, and it doesn’t work for ArXiv papers, which have no DOI or ISBN.

@lime The other recommended workflow is to use New Entry -> And then you can enter DOI/Axiv/ISBN…
Then JabRef will automatically fetch the bibtex from it.
See the help:

Alternatively you an also use the integrated WebSearch to search Springer/IEEE and some others