Zotero part 17: How to turn you manual citation in your document and make it auto citation using zotero

This is common problem for me, students or colleague come to me with a paper that using manual citation. And then, when I asked to use bibliographic software, during the revision, they were confused. Since they never use this kind of software. So, this is how we can turn that document become zotero friendly.

The Story

People wrote academic paper, cite so many sources, and they wrote it manually. It is so often that the paper that they cited were not in the references or vice versa. When you write a quite long academic paper, with a lots of citation, keeping track all of the source can make you headache. Especially, you yes you my students, writing thesis without bibliographic software, is a disaster.

Now, in order to remove your headache, you should use bibliographic software. But, what if you already have long document ?
Rather than typing it back all over again, we can reduce that amount of work using a helper. Let’s meet AnyStyle.


This is a website, that have system in which have ability to parsing the text you have in Reference, and then turn it into bibliographic document. In the format BibTex.

This system is a open source system. So actually you can install it in your own computer. The interesting feature of this website is that the system has the ability to learn from the process that many people already use. The author says that, this would allow the system works better-and-better in predicting the text.

They way it works is simple, this system will predict the text that you input into parsing box, and create the bibliographic text file in bibtext. This system have ability to understand any citation style you have already wrote in your academic paper. This feature is really helpfull, since you dont have to type too much.
Now lets give it a try

Getting into the System and do the job.

Of course open anystyle.io , and open you document that you want to convert.
Go to your references part. Just block and copy the text. In this example I blocked 9 (nine) bibliographic.

In this document, I show sample from the citation style which is using numbering format.
After that, paste it into parsing box in anystyle.

Remember that we block and copy 9 references. After you paste it, you will see as shown below

Look, we got 9 reference to parse. You have to click parse, in order to continue. This mean that you ask the system to read and interpret the text. AnyStyle will then try to guess each references without having us telling the system what the citation style is.
Click Parse.

And then AnyStyle will show you the next part, which is confirmation whether their prediction is correct or wrong. This is in edit part.

You can see from the picture above that, they assign correctly. So you dont need to sign anything. Just continue to next step.

Click on the BibTex, and you will download file “export.bib”.
In Windows OS, usually you will have it in Download folder.

Importing to Zotero

Now that you already have the file, it is time to put into Zotero. Import the export.bib file to your zotero.

Choose the file from your designated folder. And then later choose new collection, otherwise, your new bibliographic will goes to library … and mixed with the other file and you will not be able to easily trace it.

After successfully import, you will see it in your new collection, with the name export, just like your file’s name. If you decide to change the file name before you export it, the collection will have exactly the same with the file’s name.

But wait, look at that again. When you parse it, it showed 9, and we copied 9. So it is correct.
And here, we only have 8 bibliographic files. Yes, there was a mistakes in the system. I tried this several times, parsing and download the files from this particular source of reference. And yet still have this silly mistake.
But it is ok right ? just edit little bit in your zotero, and you will have it fix in no time. Dont forget the title of the first 3 files, you have to remove the number.

I know this is not perfect solution, but it will help you alot. And hey, did I always tell you to use the software to make your citation ? Well, this will help.

After you done with your importing, you should put the citation in your document. Follow this article (zotero part 3) in my blog. And you will have everything under control again. 

Known Error

Other than the problem that I mention above, you might find another problem that I noticed after try it from different sources.

This is one of the source that I tried.

Pay attention on the citation styles. This one is different with the other file that I use for the first example. There is no number.

When you parse it, it won’t read as 9 files. It read 21 references. Why is that ? If you try to go to the next step, you will find so many error, and you have to fix it.

Ok, open your text editor (not word processor), in Windows you can use Notepad. Paste the file into it, and you will see like below.

So many lines, the parsing system will think that you have so many references. To fix it, just pull all of the line into one single line, the same with the author.

In this case, I put number in front of the author, just in case. You could try without adding it. After this fix, then copy and paste this text into parsing box in AnyStyle.

note :

I found different kind of error, opposite from the example above. I tried different files, copied 9 references, parse it into AnyStyle and it only showed 1 reference.
Well, fix it by paste into notepad again, and you will see only 1 line of source. Easy fix, just press enter in every first author, and you will have 9 references.
Copy and paste into AnyStyle again, it will fix and you will have 9 references.

Follow the next step, and download the bibtex. Import it to zotero.

And, you have perfect nine files in your zotero. Easy right ?
What are you waiting for ? Do change your manual citation to zotero friendly.

Happy writing.

Acknowledgement. Special thanks to my former master student, Janatarum, who showed me this tools.