"Importing in Unknown format" . . . fails to import .xml library from Bookends export?


New to Jabref, running in Pop!_OS on a Sys76 linux only laptop . . . I’m trying to get my Bookends libraries imported into Jabref . . . and today’s effort brought that “unknown format” message and then nada. Yesterday I had exported from BE into Bibtex and there was no problem importing those libraries into Jabref, but then the attached pdfs for a number of the articles failed to be exported.

BE owner gave me the insight into exporting to “Endnote XML” file format and that carried the attached pdfs . . . over 100 of them splashed on my Apple desktop . . . . And they were transferred to flash drive and copied into a folder in Pop!! . . . but Jabref “saw” them listed when I clicked “import into new library” . . . but, compared to yesterday where the .bib file was quickly imported with the basic data, today the .xml files aren’t engaged??? Is there a way to get these “endnote” files imported into Jabref, such that the pdfs for the various references can be included??

A few days back I found a conversation on one of the Jabref forums where a gent was trying to do the same thing, get from Bookends over to Jabref, but that was from a couple of years ago, don’t know if that is germane, involving some “custom filter” script?? Is that what is needed, and then what would I do with it?? I’m largely a “GUI” linux driver, I use the console for basic upgrades, but I’m not a programmer . . . I just have built up a few BE libraries over the last 15 years, and I’d like to preserve as much of the data from there as I can in the new machine.

Appreciate the insight on this new app . . .



welcome to JabRef. Have you selected the EndNote xml format in the import selection?
Do you get any error messages? Maybe some (invalid) things/elements in the xml format.
Could you maybe provide an example file?


Appreciate the reply . . . so I don’t believe I saw the “Endnote xml format” in the import selection area?? I was in >File >Import to new library tab . . . and the error message was from the subject line “Importing in Unknown Format” briefly flashed and then . . . stillness . . . . Indeed it is always possible that something was “lost in translation” on the export from BE. I first did this as an export to .bib files and they all seemed to load into Jabref OK the day before, and I saved them, when I re-opened Jabref in the large library, there was a long list of “corrupted files” I believe it was, and I don’t think I could get those libraries to reload into Jabref . . . so since the data was pretty minimal anyway, I had planned to wipe them and switch over to the .xml path, as per the suggestion from the BE admin/guru . . . .

I have maybe four libraries from Bookends, one or two fairly small, but I’m not booted up in the Sys 76 right now. What would I do, attach it here?? Do I need to “tar.gz” it or anything like that, or just upload it as the .xml file???

[edit:] PS: I just tried to upload a one of the .xml files, but I got a “sorry, new users can’t upload files” error . . . I’ve been flagged and um cited . . . [/edit]


due to spam protecion new users can’t upload files.
just upload one or two files somewhere, e.g. dropbox, google drive or whatever and share the link.
Alternatively you can send them to developers@jabref.org if you don’t want to make them public

Edit// In the file extension/filter in the import you can select the entry type:

Thanks for the screenshot . . . but in my edition of 5.1 I don’t have that option?? In >Options>manage external file types there are some choices, but nothing for “Endnote XML” is there.

I’ll try to email tone of the small databases in a bit . . . .

Just File - > Import into current/new database, then you can select the file type in the file open dialog. (Screenshot was from my Mac system)
It’s the same like a Save dialog where you choose the file extension/format, just the other way round, for import

Don’t know if that’s a Mac capability, but in my linux 20.10 system under >import into new library it opens a “finder” window for the filesystem to select the file to import . . . but doesn’t seem to be a drop down option to choose file type??? I’m somewhat new to this Pop!_OS system, but using linux for many years . . .

Just for all others stumbling across this, the issue has been resolved now in the latest development version:

(Remember to make a backup of your library before trying out the new version)


Thanks for this post, and thanks for the fast assistance on the problem . . . I’m still testing out the devel edition . . . but so far it’s working as advertised to import the old Bookends files via “Endnote XML” . . . .

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