Populating refbase fields

  • timt

    timt - 2010-02-02

    Hello, again,

    As a work-around for the conflict caused by parentheses in journal titles, I would like to populate the Place of Publication and ISSN fields in my refbase records. I just tried adding ISSN and place of publication info to one of my original EndNote record. I exported it as an XML file, and then imported it into refbase. When I view the details for the record, the ISSN field has info, but there is nothing in the Place of Publication field. Any idea why this field is not getting parsed?

    Thanks again,


  • Matthias Steffens

    Hi Tim,

    which Endnote version are you using, and which Endnote fields contain your Place of Publication and ISSN data?

    Also, it might be helpful to see an actual Endnote XML file. In case of Endnote XML, Bibutils is used for intermediate conversion, so there could be several steps where the Place of Publication data is "lost".

    Btw, if you just want to batch update your refbase records, you don't need to re-import everything necessarily. At least for the technically inclined person, it shouldn't be too hard to use the SQL batch update functions detailed here:


    As an example, if you just want to fill in additional data for a particular journal, you could log into your refbase installation as admin, and paste something like this:

    UPDATE refs SET issn = "0011-5258", place = "Rio de Janeiro" WHERE publication = "Dados: revista de ciências sociais";

    into the "SQL Query" field of 'sql_search.php', then hit the "Search" button. Of course, you could also supply other field data (such as publisher, etc) as well. Let me know, if you need help finding the correct SQL update query.

    Disclaimer: Before doing any batch replace actions like this one, it's good to make a backup first:


    HTH, Matthias

  • timt

    timt - 2010-02-02

    Great. I will make use of this feature.


  • timt

    timt - 2010-02-02

    I have been experimenting with SQL queries because I would like to change all instances of parentheses in all of my refbase records to the literal characters "\(…\)" (in order to escape the parentheses). I've been trying several variations on the following unsuccessful query:

    UPDATE refs SET publication RLIKE "[\(]" WHERE publication RLIKE "[(]"

    Here I reference only the publication field, but I'd like to find and replace all instances in the author and title fields as well. Any suggestions to fix my syntax would be greatly appreciated!


  • Matthias Steffens

    Hi Tom,

    I would like to change all instances of parentheses in all of my refbase records to the literal characters "\(…\)" (in order to escape the parentheses)

    I may be misunderstanding you, but this would actually "garble" your records, i.e. the publication title would display "\(" instead of just "(". I don't think that this is what you'd like to achieve. You just want to be able to easily find literal parentheses, right?

    If that is the case, then the suggestion from the following thread should work:


    since it would allow you to search for literal parentheses without any need to escape them.

    If you really want to replace "(" into "\(", then you could use:

    UPDATE refs SET publication = REPLACE(publication, "(", "\\(") WHERE publication RLIKE "\\(";

    but this is most likely NOT what you want, since the parentheses must be escaped in the query, not in the actual data!

    The above linked fix from the other thread is really easy to apply, please try that first and let us know if that works for you.


  • timt

    timt - 2010-02-03

    Thanks very much for your replies and the steps for suppressing regular expression searching in the quick search field. I just updated the 'search.php' file, and things are more copacetic now in that regard.

    Yes, I realize that what I was asking for would display "\(", but our primary concern is to have full search capability of our records (which do contain lots of parenthetical items), even if that means some minor garbling for the time being.

    Thanks again,


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