Automatically find PDFs & link them to imported metadata
After importing metadata from BibTeX, RIS, or EndNote XML to Mendeley Desktop, import the PDF files automatically if there's a path specified in the file. If not, automatically search for matching PDFs and link them to the library entry
This ticket covers several features – some are implemented and some are not yet. To make things clearer please create new suggestions for specific problems with PDF attachment links.
Kim Boström commented
I just imported my bib-database which I have generated over time using BibDesk. The bib-file imports correctly, but none of the PDF files is copied or associated. I'm not willing to do this by hand for each one of the several hundred entries and repeat this for the other three bib-databeses I maintain, so this missing feature (or is it a bug?) of Mendeley is probably a dealbreaker for me :-(
Spencer Bliven commented
I added a new suggestion relating to PDF attachment:
"Import PDF Files from RIS"
I tried to be very specific an not overlap too much with the discussion here.
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Ben Phillips commented
I would like to second Theodore's concern. If I import from endnote, for example, where I already have all my pdf's associated, I just get the citations in mendeley but no pdfs. So I then add files in mendeley and it has to read in and scan all those pdfs. About 30% of the pdfs have issues being parsed and when they do work I often end up with duplicate records...
Mariusz Grad commented
I've written tiny thing which converts the *.bib file generated from Bibdesk in order to support PDF syncing: http://github.com/mgrad/BibDesk-BibTex-Parser
This ticket appears to cover quite a few different features and I think it would be better to have separate tickets for each feature.
To clarify what is implemented so far:
1. When importing a Bibtex or RIS file, if there is a PDF link in the file it will be imported into Mendeley. Bibtex does not specify how PDF links should be represented so several programs use different formats. If you have a Bibtex file which has a PDF link but the PDF link is not imported into Mendeley, please email a sample file to firstname.lastname@example.org
2. When importing a new document (either from a PDF file or Bibtex or RIS) Mendeley tries to check whether it is a duplicate of existing library entries. If it is, the imported PDF is attached to the existing entries. The accuracy of the duplicate detection depends on the automatic metadata extraction working - which is more reliable with some papers than others.
Currently when Mendeley syncs your metadata with the web it does not record whether or not there are files attached if you choose not to upload PDFs. As you mentioned, this could be fixed by recording the hash of the associated file and we plan to do this in future.
Flávio Coelho commented
I double the request of hwilker. The search should extend to the internet. and find a PDF which is not of restricted access. Many paper are simultaneoulsly available through pay-per-view businesses such as JSTOR but also are available for free (legally) on other sites.
Jacob Krich commented
I have recently started using Mendeley after several years with Jabref. In Jabref, I have many .bib files with links to the associated pdfs. When importing these .bib files into Mendeley, it managed to associate about 50% of the pdfs with the references, but the other ones it did not associate. I have no idea what made some work and others fail, but a better job of linking with pdfs from bibtex files is really essential.
Could you please email a small sample file to email@example.com and I'll have a look. I did add explicit support for Papers' file links to the Bibtex importer at some point in the past but I wonder if Papers' format changed or a bug appeared in Mendeley since then.
Theodore Kaplan commented
Sorry if this is a remedial question, but I'm not getting anywhere with this program: I am trying to import my library from "Papers" into Mendeley, so that I can work with Mendeley on both Mac and PC. I have exported my "Papers" Library in various formats: Endnote XML, BibTex, and RIS; the PDF's in my library all reside in the exact locations specified in the code, and the codes specify absolute paths. Still, the result is always a set of 7,448 citations, none of which are linked to any of the 7,448 corresponding PDF's. You're telling me that now I have to manually associate all these papers?
On occasions, I like to use explorer to look for and open pdf files. And for that, it is necessary that I have the freedom to rename and re-organize files within the library directory without breaking the stored paths in mendeley's database. Something based on file checksums would be do quite nicely.
As for downloading pdfs from the internet, unless all the convoluted library catalogues and proxy systems (eg. EZproxy) are supported, downloads won't work. Internet downloads cannot substitute management of locally stored pdfs.
I can't believe this still hasn't been implemented. I recently got a new computer and had to install Mendeley on it. It dutifully downloaded all the metadata for my papers and I told it where they live (added the folder to the watch list).
The result? One paper was duplicated; the rest were completely ignored. Not exactly impressed considering this could be achieved by simply checksumming the files.
...also, can you make Mendeley optionally search for moved files? Sometimes people re-organize their files and links get broken. Or maybe some other way to help correct broken links.
I have to say this is one of the best features of the latest version of endnote, and Mendeley isn't going to displace it until I have an easy & automatic way to grab pdfs for articles I've added.
Oleksandr Voznyy commented
It's not a question of import from another program. Mendeley already searches for new PDF files, when the entry (without PDF link) already exists in DB all it needs now is not to duplicate the entry but associate it with the existing one. Now you have my votes, since it still haven't been implemented in the last 3 updates.
I've messed up playing with automatic file manager and now I'm waiting for this feature to move that 'automatically generated folders' back into original location and do the management from scratch. At this moment this would result in loss of all PDF links and/or plenty of duplicates in the DB.
Rubem Dornas commented
I have EndNote version X2 and I have made all my bibliography by adding PDF's to the library. Unfortunately, exporting to Mendeley via XML file, it loses the path to the PDF in my computer. I think Mendeley could get the information of the path of my PDF's that is contained in my EndNote library.
Qiu Li commented
For EndNote, it would be possible to let the user specify the path of EndNote database so Mendeley can import PDFs in.
Yes, if the RIS file has file links then it should be possible for Mendeley to import them. Unfortunately I do not have a copy of Reference Manager and the RIS format specification is not clear on exactly how file links are represented. Could you export a small number of entries (with PDFs attached) to RIS format from Reference Manager and then email that to firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Baird commented
Like others above, I am transferring a large database of references (from Reference Manager), where I have links to a folder containing all my pdfs. Export of my database in .RIS format provides all the links to my .PDFs. Is there any way this information could be used to automate .PDF link creating within Mendeley?
Oleksandr Voznyy commented
I think, it's a waste of computer resources to try to find a matching PDF for every DB entry without one. People not always save PDF of the papers they need and rely on online sources. So having a DOI lookup button which would point to online version should suffice.
On the contrary when importing new PDFs it would be nice to check whether entries for them exist in DB and just add the link to file