Exporting multiple Google Scholar citations to reference managers like Endnote

Google Scholar (GS) is a very useful addition to the searchers arsenal; following a “cited by” trail nicely complements results retrieved by keyword/subject heading searches in databases such as Embase and Medline.

One area where GS is less useful is exporting records to reference management software. Using the settings,  you can set up an export to BibTex, Endnote, RefMan and RefWorks. However, there are two limitation:

  1. You can only export a single record at a time
  2. You don’t get the abstract included

GS, after a little fiddling about, does allow you to save citations to a list (My library) but citations in this list can still only be exported one at a time so this produces no benefit at all. Then I read an interesting pager by Bramer and de Jonge – Improving efficiency and confidence in systematic literature searching* – which mentioned that Harzing’s Publish or Perish can be used to download 1000 references from GS into reference managers such as Endnote.

Could this speed up my click by click populating of Endnote libraries with GS citations (and maybe throw abstracts in as well for good measure)?

Publish or Perish, ” designed to help individual academics to present their case for research impact to its best advantage”, is a small bibliometrics program (approx 1 MB) that can be installed without admin privileges.  You can indeed export multiple GS (and Microsoft Academic Search) results but – alas, alack, alay – it is not the solution to problems 1 and 2 above. Abstracts – not totally surprising as GS doesn’t provide them – aren’t included.  And while you can search the Publish or Perish program in various ways (author, journal, all words etc), it just doesn’t match the way you search GS which is generally a mixture of keyword and cited by searching so you cannot easily replicate a set of results.

The subject line of this post implied a solution to the multiple GS export problem. Actually it is more a request to see if anyone else has found a fix – sorry about leading you on like that. But this issue is one of those not-so-large-but-there-must-be-a-better-way ones so I’m hoping someone can suggest a workaround.

The easiest solution would be for Google to make the My library list bulk exportable. While holding my breath and waiting for that, I wonder if anyone out there has found a clever way around this problem? Perhaps a search from Endnote GS citations to an external database such as PubMed to grab the abstracts in some fiendishly clever way?


* The systematic searching paper mentioned about can be found in PDF format and Word format, with the latter incorporating a couple of corrections as detailed at the end of this post. The paper itself is interesting for giving all sort of search tips as well as providing a framework (including online macros) for translating search queries from one database platform to another (Embase into Ovid Medline etc). It also has some nifty GS search tips and a table giving a useful search syntax summary across various platforms; the PDF version is good for printing this out. Indeed it is a paper that you need to print out and read at your leisure as not really one you can just scan through online so well.

***Note from Krafty*** 10/28/15
This post seems to generate a lot of spam mail in the comments despite anti spam measures.  As a result I have disabled comments from this post. If you want to comment you must email krafty(atsign)kraftylibrarian(dot)com and if the comment is related to the post I will post it manually in the comments.  Sorry for the inconvenience. Thank you.

4 thoughts on “Exporting multiple Google Scholar citations to reference managers like Endnote”

  1. Hi Rob,

    You may already know this that since GS is a search engine that indexes webpages instead of database records. It means GS deals with Meta-tags [meta-data] of webpages while bib database deals with tags [meta-data] of records. There is a tag for Abstract in bib database but there is no such tag in webpages. The closest meta-tag to Abstract in a webpage is Description and its function is not really like Abstract. So let’s say GS is not indexing Abstracts.
    Unfortunately, the problem with GS stands still:
    1. Cannot provide more than 1000 records
    2. Exporting all hits and cited by is not possible in one go. Zotero is another option: https://www.researchgate.net/post/Is_it_possible_to_export_Google_Scholar_search_results_to_EndNote
    3. The search could not be repeated/reproduced properly which making using GS unreliable as a main search tool for sys rev

    Will be glad to now about other options

  2. Mendeley will do a batch import from Google Scholar when you use the web importer (it does have other shortcomings, but this is a nice feature if you do much google scholar searching).

  3. Hi RP,

    Publish or Perish sounds interesting. The nearly “fiendish” solution for things from PubMed is EndNote desktops Find Reference Updates. It will take the bare bones records in EndNote and attempt to fill in the missing fields. It is not as “poof – done” as I would like as it gives a dialog box to verify which fields to update on each record, but closer than before.

    Also, the EndNote Online “Capture Reference” tool will provide a list of all citations on a page from a database or Google Scholar (set display to 100 for more than 10 at a time). Again, not the miracle one would like, but closer and the bookmarlet, like the software you mentioned, should not require admin signon to add to the browser.

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