Import from tab delimited format to refbase?

  • Lasse Johansson

    Lasse Johansson - 2014-02-25


    1) In the formats table in the database (in the refbase 0.9.5 implementation) there is a list of supported formats, which include the following format, listed as enabled:

    Text (Tab-Delimited)

    But I cannot find the source file in the import directory, nor anything about it in the code. Has it been removed or is it a planned future feature?

    I have a lot of data in excel that I would like to import into refbase, and I could easily adjust the data to meet a specific tab-delimited format. Is there any (unsupported) import script for tab delimited / csv or similar in refbase that I could use/adapt?

    2) Also, there is a format

    Text (CSV)

    listed as disabled. Is there any more information about this?


  • Richard Karnesky

    This functionality was never released officially. Matthias had once written a one-off importer that translated a simple tab-delimited format into RIS & then imported the RIS using our supported functions. It was extremely limited:

    He had distributed this only on request & I don't believe I have a copy.

    If this is a one-time import, I strongly suggest you just use manual batch importing, as described at

    As for currently usable exporters for similar formats, I'd imagine that the Opend Document Format XML spreadsheets are the closest we have. This delivers data into the format expected by the "legacy" bibliogrpahy databse built into


  • Lasse Johansson

    Lasse Johansson - 2014-02-26


    I will look into the manual batch import. Is there any documentation of the specific business logic to which the data must comply, i.e. compulsory fields or dependencies between the fields? (Otherwise I'll try to guess from the data in the example database.)


  • Richard Karnesky

    The only required fields in the SQL database are auto-populated (online_publication, serial, approved). refbase strongly encourages but doesn't strictly require the fields highlighted on the form (author, title, type, year, publication, abbreviated, volume, issue, pages, call_number).

    Of these, the author field has a suggested formatting 'LastName, AB; LastName2, AB" and this formatting should also be used for the first_author field. You can usually do this programmatically.

    Type is selected from a list of predefined types.

    Call number is specially formatted, as are (created|modified)_(date|time|by).

    You'd be wise to include some differentiating factor denoting where the data came from. That would make batch edits easier if you get something slightly wrong.


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