Merging entries with files and other doubts

Dear friends,

I’ve been using Jabref for several years now, however I have never dug into the powerful features it offers to organize my whole research bibliography. This means that now, that I am trying to move completely onto Jabref and use all its power, I find myself with several thousands of pdfs, bib files scattered everywhere and … (you can imagine). I have gladly discovered that Jabref features allow me to refactor all this mess to some extent and in the process (I am still through it) I have missed some feature (or maybe I have been unable to discover how to use Jabref properly to attain my goal).

Maybe the most important problem I face is the following:

Case A: I have incorporated to my bibliography in Jabref a duplicated entry. One of them is linked to a pdf and the other is linked to another pdf. When I try to merge them Jabref allows me to choose between them but not to create an entry with both pdfs. Can it be achieved? [I know an entry admits links to several files and I do use this feature.]

Case B: I have an entry with several links to pdfs. One of them is a preprint (arxiv for instance) version, the second is a final version but “author version” and the third is the “journal final” version. I want to refactor their names automatically and I can do with the values of the entry. However, this leads to put the same name to all of them and, therefore, implies cumbersome behaviour. Is there a possibility of automatically change their name having into account a property of the file and not of the bibliographic entry?

C: Finally, as you can imagine one of the chief features of Jabref in my situation is the possibility of moving/copy pdfs from its original location to a folder structure depending on the fields of the entry. However It took me several searches through the documentation to find the way of doing so. Due to the fact that the implications of a bad use of this feature (mainly a massive erroneous clean up) and also because it is really a very useful feature, I believe it deserves a dedicated section in the documentation. I am still learning on its possibilities.

Thanks in advance.

P.S. I have recently installed JabRef 5.3–2021-03-22–8fe77dd into a Mac OS X Catalina. I moved from 5.2 since icons in the “group tab” where not working properly.

1 Like

Thanks for using JabRef and for your detailed feedback

case A)
This is currently not possible, but we have an issue about improving the merge dialog. I added your idea to the issue Improve entry merge dialog (3-way merge) · Issue #6190 · JabRef/jabref · GitHub

Case B)
This is an interesting use case, I think this is currently not really possible. As the file field is just another field, it could be theoretically possible to use that as well an use some kind of regex replacement. Maybe @k3KAW8Pnf7mkmdSMPHz2 knows if this could be possible

Case C)
you are absolutely right, the documentation really needs improvement. Feel free to update it!
Manage associated files - JabRef (Just click on “Edit with GitHub”)

P.S. I have recently installed JabRef 5.3–2021-03-22–8fe77dd into a Mac OS X Catalina. I moved from 5.2 since icons in the “group tab” where not working properly.

Yep, we recently switched to a new icon library which now supports much more icons from MaterialDesign

I don’t think that is possible at the moment. Bracketed patterns (in my understanding) creates a string from a single BibEntry. Even if you parse(?) a file field, you won’t know which file you are creating a name for at that specific time. It might be relatively easy to add a [filename] similar to how [extension] works (see RegExpBasedFileFinder for context).
I am not sure if that would help since it can’t access the meta-data of the file. I don’t know if there is any utility for that within the current JabRef code base.