Combining reference download files to import into EndNote in one go

If you’re working with a source that lets you download references for import into reference management software like EndNote, but which only allows you to download a small number of references at a time (perhaps even just one at a time), is there a convenient way to avoid having to import each file individually?

As long as the downloaded files are text files (or something equivalent), then: yes!

Let’s take an example of EMF Portal – this downloads references one at a time in .ris format. (However, the process could equally be applied to, for example, EudraCT EU Clinical Trials Register, which permits you to download a page of results at a time, in .txt format – although you’d need to have created your own import filter for this (that will be covered here at some point in the future!)). These instructions are for PC.

– First download all the references – the default file format will be bibliography.ris, bibliography(1).ris, bibliography(2).ris, etc.
– Find the files. Initially, they’ll probably be in your download folder; however, if there’s any other files there called ‘bibliography’, you may wish to copy and paste all the new files into another folder (anywhere else, just for this process, everything can be deleted afterwards).
– Wherever you put the files, view them in that folder and click in the location box (where it says e.g. C:\Users\username\Documents\folder) – but just click in the box, don’t click any of the parent folders or it’ll just navigate there! If you click at the front or back of the location, it’ll be fine and highlight it.
– Type ‘cmd’ in the location box and press enter – this will open up the command line (there various other ways of opening the command line dialogue, but this is the easiest way to have the correct folder already selected!)
– First the .ris files need renaming into .txt files (.ris files can’t be combined but .txt files can – even though .ris are basically just .txt files), so type: ren bib*.ris bib*.txt
– Then, to combine the files, type: copy bib*.txt combinedbib.txt
– Finally, to turn the combined file back into a .ris file, type: ren combinedbib.txt combinedbib.ris

This should have created one file with all the EndNote references in – double click it normally in File Explorer and the import into EndNote should start.