Importing/exporting groups

The group feature is extremely useful for keeping track of a large number of papers. However, one often needs a separate library for a new project (e.g. a shared one). It would be immensely helpful to be able to export/import groups between libraries the same way entries are, possibly within the same tool (i.e. with the option to choose which groups should be migrated and which shouldn’t, and the option to import all the groups that correspond to the imported entries).

Right now this can in part be done manually - one can copy the group list directly from one BibTex file to another. Unfortunately, this method doesn’t deal well with intersecting group lists. As an example, my main library might have papers on topics A and B, while my project specific library has papers on topics B and C. When I import the papers from my project library to my main library, I want to see the union of the two group lists, i.e. I want to be able to import the new group (C) without deleting my existing group (A)


I am not sure if it possible, but just so I understand,

  1. The first library contains topics A and B (in groups A and B)
  2. The second library contains topics B and C
  3. You import all entries in the second library to the first library
  4. You want to intersect group B with a new group C?

Why would you have to delete group A?

No-no, what I mean is much simpler.

  1. The first library has groups A and B
  2. The second library has groups B and C
  3. I import entries from the second library into the first one
  4. I want entries from group B to stay in group B (this already happens if the group structure is identical, since the group metadata is imported together with the entry)
  5. I want group C to show up in the group tree of the first library. More generally, I want to see a menu comparing the group trees (the same way jabref now shows new entries) with the option to import some of the groups.

The reason I mention deleting group A is that one can copy the group structure from one bibtex file to another, but that would require either manually selecting the lines corresponding to the groups you want to merge, or replacing the entire structure (hence deleting any groups that aren’t in the second library’s tree)

Hope this clarifies things. I am fairly certain that this can be done: after all this is equivalent to or maybe even easier than comparing entries for changes, which is something that Jabref already does.

TLDR: Compare the group lists of two libraries, merge them into one.

Thank you for the clarification!

As far as I know, the best method right now is probably selecting the corresponding lines manually, just as you are saying.

However, there is some work going on with improving the merging of libraries with JabRef Online and (hopefully) Overleaf synchronization. It might be easier to implement this feature afterward (sorry, I don’t have a timeline)

1 Like