Working With Reference Manager Data

ATLAS.ti is frequently used for assisting with literature reviews. See for example:

video tutorial Literature Review with ATLAS.ti 22 Windows & Mac

You may have collected lots of articles in a reference manager. Not all of these articles will be relevant for the literature review for a particular research or paper you are writing. Thus, create a collection of 50 to 200 articles in your reference manager for further coding and analysis in ATLAS.ti.

You can import EndNote XML files or bibtex files. This should allow you to import data from almost all reference managers.

Importing Reference Manager Data

To start importing the file into ATLAS.ti, select the Import & Export tab and the button Reference Manager.

Importing Data for a Literature Review

If your reference manager does not export the PDF files into a separate folder, make sure that the PDF files are stored at the locations indicated in the XML or bibtex files. Usually this will be the library of your reference manager.

ATLAS.ti can create document groups for you based on the following metadata:

  • First authors
  • Co-authors
  • Publication type (journal article, book, book chapter, etc.)
  • Language
  • Source - If you import documents from more than one reference manager, it is useful to group documents by source, so that you know where they were coming from.
  • Periodical
  • Year
  • Volume
  • Issue
  • Edition
  • Publisher

Document name format

The default name for the document in ATLAS.ti is the name of the document as it used in the Reference Manager. For easier sorting and organization, you can choose to add the name of the first author, and the publishing year to the document name (recommended).

If the full document is not available

If only the document abstract is available and not the full document, you can select to import the abstract as a document.

If you have written a note about the document in your Reference Manager, this note will be imported as document comment.

Make your selections.

Click on the file loader icon and select the XML or bibtex file that you have exported from your reference manager.

Inspecting the Imported Documents

Open the Document Manager

The imported documents are sorted by author and year in alphabetical order, if you selected this option. Further, document groups are created from all options that were selected.

The text entered as note in the reference manager is imported as document comment. If the URL of a document is available, it will also be added into the comment field.