JabRef plugin - data exchange

Caution: Since JabRef version 2.12, plugins are no longer supported in JabRef. So in newer versions the BibSonomy plugin is no longer working.

To exchange data between JabRef and BibSonomy, you have to install the BibSonomy plugin first. You can find information on that here. If you have questions regarding the plugin, visit our contact page.

The BibSonomy sidebar

To start working in JabRef, open a new database or open an existing one.
The BibSonomy plugin for JabRef contains a BibSonomy sidebar that provides you with important functions. To open the sidebar, click on the BibSonomy button in the JabRef toolbar.


In the sidebar, you can do several actions.

  • Search
    Here you can search for publications that are stored in BibSonomy. Just enter the search term into the text field. You can choose between searching for Full text or a Tag. Then, click on the search button.
  • Tags
    The plugin provides you with a tagcloud with the most used tags by you, all users or a certain group you are a member of. Reloading the tagcloud can be achieved by clicking on the Refresh button. By clicking on a tag, the entries that are tagged with it will be displayed.
  • Import posts
    Here you can choose whether you want to import only your own posts from BibSonomy or the posts from all users. Click on the Refresh button to update the tagcloud.
  • Settings
    Click here to view and change the settings for the BibSonomy plugin.

Import data from BibSonomy to JabRef

You can import your posts that you collected in BibSonomy to JabRef.

  1. In the menu Plugins, click on BibSonomy. Choose the function Import all my posts.


  2. Select the entries in the list that you want to import. Finally, confirm by clicking on OK. The entries will be imported to your JabRef database.

Export data from JabRef to BibSonomy

You can export your posts that you collected in JabRef to BibSonomy.

  1. In JabRef, choose the files that should be exported to BibSonomy. You can select several files by keeping the CTRL key pressed and then clicking on the files.

  2. Then in the menu Plugins, click on BibSonomy and then on Export selected entries. Already existing posts will be updated.


Note: If you didn't enter a tag for an entry you'll get the error message "The following selected entries have no keywords assigned". If you confirm with "yes", the tag "noKeywordAssigned" will be entered as a tag automatically. If you click on "no", you can enter your own tags.

In JabRef, tags are usually separated by commas. When exporting from JabRef to BibSonomy, the commas will be replaced by spaces.

Change the delimiter in JabRef

In JabRef, you can choose the delimiter symbol for tags that are entered into the keyword field. To change the delimiter, go to Options > Preferences > Groups.


There you can enter your preferred delimiter symbol into the text field When adding/removing keywords, separate them by. Please note that in BibSonomy, blank spaces within a tag are not allowed. Therefore, follow these steps when wanting to upload an entry to BibSonomy:

  1. Separate the content of the tag field according to your JabRef delimiter symbol
  2. Delete all remaining blank spaces

We generally suggest to use blank spaces as a delimiter symbol for tags.

Delete entries

With this plugin, it is possible to delete entries from your own BibSonomy publication collection.

  1. In JabRef, choose the files that should be deleted. You can select several files by keeping the CTRL key pressed and then clicking on the files.

  2. Then in the menu Plugins, click on BibSonomy and then on Delete selected entries. Please note that the entry will be deleted from your BibSonomy collection - the local copy of the entry within JabRef will still persist!

Synchronize entries

Since JabRef version 1.5 it is possible to synchronize your local and remote BiBTeX entries with a singles click. To perform the synchronization simply go to Plugins -> Bibsonomy -> Synchronize.

If there is any difference between local and remote publications a dialog pops up with both the local and the remote source of the publication and non equal fields will be highlighted in a bright yellow color.


By choosing Keep local or Always keep local your local publication will be exported to BibSonomy. Also Always keep local remebers your decision for the current session.
If you choose Keep remote or Always keep remote your local BibTeX entry will be overwritten by the remote entry from BibSonomy. Always keep remote also remebers your decision for the whole session.

Private documents

With JabRef version 2.5 the handling of documents changed completely. All documents will be downloaded and uploaded automatically as long as you activated the options in the settings dialogue (Plugins -> BibSonomy -> Settings).

To avoid importing all your entries again you can select Download my documents from the BibSonomy menu if you deactivated the download option in the settings dialog before.

To upload newly added documents just export the certain entry, but don't forget to activate the option in the settings dialogue.

Proxy settings

If you are using JabRef from a setting behind a proxy, you can still use the BibSonomy plugin. It makes use of the same proxy mechanism as JabRef itself; this means, when you start JabRef with the options

java -Dhttp.proxyHost="hostname" -Dhttp.proxyPort="portnumber"

then the BibSonomy plugin also uses these parameters (replace hostname with the your proxy's hostname and portnumber with your proxy's portnumber).