Organizing Your EndNote Library

Properly organizing a large number of sources can save you hours of work and frustration. And if you’re collaborating on a project, organizing can help the work and communication flow more smoothly.

With EndNoteTM, organize your sources and find exactly what you want when you want it.

EndNote includes a number of functions to organize your libraries. Here are our top five ways, along with tips to use them more efficiently:

1) Smart Groups: Smart groups let you automatically sort your sources by select criteria. These criteria can be narrow or extremely specific. You can search and sort by fields such as title, author or year, and combine those criteria to get exactly what you want in a group. You can even elect to only include sources with a PDF plus notes attached in any given group.

Expert tip: When auto-importing files, use smart groups to sort your sources before you ever read them.

2) Group Sets: Whether you’ve manually created your groups or created a smart group, you can combine groups either by creating a new group from smaller ones, or by creating a group set.

Expert tip: Create very specific groups and then combine them under broader group sets so you can target precise references when you’re looking for something, or general groups for browsing.

3) PDF Notes: EndNote can automatically search for full-text PDFs of your sources, and you can add annotations or sticky notes to them. Later, you can search by these annotations and sticky notes.

Expert tip: Use these annotations to tag each source with keywords to make it easier to search them later.

4) Tagging and Comments: Add comments and tags to any source and then use those for searches later. Just open the source in your library and fill in the “Keywords” or “Notes” section.

Expert tip: Similar to PDF notes, you can add tags, keywords and descriptions to help you search and skim through sources without opening each individual one.

5) Sort Library: EndNote’s intricate sort feature allows you to custom-sort your references to precise specifications. Instead of just sorting by date or title, choose up to five fields as criteria for sorting.

Expert tip: For example, you can order first by author, then by year, then title – giving an overview of the various voices and thinkers in a particular field. Or sort first by journal, then by date, then by title – perfect for something like a media analysis.

Once you’re familiar with EndNote’s organization functions, you can organize references in a way that makes sense to you, whether you’re a researcher, assistant, professional or student. Choose what’s intuitive to you, and build your organization strategies on that.

Check out our other EndNote related posts!

Did You Know? EndNote Spotlight
Making the most of library sharing in EndNote
Early Career Researcher Series: Bibliographies
An Interview with an Early Career Researcher Using EndNote
Upping her Game with EndNote
The Right Research Team: Why You Need It and How to Get It
How to optimize your CV (with some help from EndNote)
EndNote X8 is here!