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EndNote: Creating a Library

How to use EndNote software to save, manage, and print citation information within your papers.


This page includes instructions on how to set up a library, add references to a library and organize your library references into groups. Instructions are organized by Microsoft and Apple OS platforms. NOTE: to access EndNote functions on Apple close your browser and click on the EN Icon. The EndNote taskbar will appear along the top of you screen

Creating EndNote Libraries

A Library is similar to a file or a relational database. Think of a name for your library and where you’d like to store it. To Create a Library:

  • in File Menu click New
  • in File Name enter a name for the new library
  • choose a location for the library
  • click Save, this creates two files,
    • an EndNote (.enl) file
    • a data (.data) file
For Apple users the directions are the same except substitute save as for library name

Creating References in a Library

The next step is to create or import references into your new library.

You can create complete citations in each reference including information from Author Names to custom fields like PMCID numbers.

See the "Adding References" Tab above.

Remeber: A citation should have all the information needed to find it.

Creating Groups from a library

Note: This information along with how to set up groups in EndNote Web libraries is also in the EndNote Web page, (see the tab above).

Setting up groups attached to libraries is an excellent way of organizing your library references. For example, you can set up a group for each author in your library. When you add references from your library into a group the reference is copied into the group and still remains in your library. When you change a reference in the library the change is made in the reference in the group. When you make a change in the group reference it is automatically changed in the library reference.

In Microsoft OS, to set up a group in the desktop library.

  • on the left tab of the library right click on My Groups
  • From the dropdown menu click on Create Groups
  • Lable the group. Note: you can always re-lable the group from the previous dropdown menu.
  • Repeat these steps for as many groups as you need.

Once you have created you group(s) it's time to copy references from your main library into a group.

  • Back in the main library highlight the references you want to transfer into a group. You can use the mouse and control key to select multiple references.
  • Click on Groups in the top toolbar
  • Mouse over Add References To
  • From the drop down menu below My Groups select the group you want to copy the reference(s) into.
  • EndNote will copy the references. Note: Endnote will automatically detect duplicates which will not be copied into a group

In Apple OS

To set up a group:

  • In the top taskbar click on groups
  • click on create groups
  • The next steps are the same as Microsoft OS

Copying references from you main library into a group:

  • right click on a reference in your main library
  • mouse over add references to
  • select the group you want to copy the reference to
  • EndNote will automatically copy the reference into the group

Subject Guide

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Tom A
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
One Bungtown Road
Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724