EndNote .enl files to Access database or MS SQL database

I’m new to web development and this is my second site and the first client. They use “EndNote” Program to store their library data & need these data to be displayed online.

Is there a way to use that EndNote .enl file data for a web application, [I hope to do this using ASP VB script] or is there a way to convert or export/import .enl file data to a Access database or MS SQL database?

Also if you know any resources, tutorial or example site regarding this situation please let me know.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and time to help others through this forum.


First of all, can you give us an example of what’s in an “.enl” file? Is it text? -Binary data? (open up w/ Notepad & check!)

If it’s not plain text, then it sounds to me like it’s a proprietary file format, in which case, don’t waste your time trying to figure out how to parse & read it.
FIRST, put some time into researching the EndNote application to see if the data can be exported in a common format like CSV (comma separated values), TSV (tab delimited), Excel, or just plain ol’ text… From there, Access & SQL Server are pieces of cake…

Also, find out if EndNote has an ODBC driver. Maybe you can use ASP to read data directly from EndNote instead of trying to parse and import flat files…


Hi Dan,

Thanks for the reply. When I open an .enl file with note pad, it’s not plain text

I can’t find any driver indicating endnote in the ODBC drivers tab. However this .enl file can be exported to text file [txt], rich text file [rtf] and html [htm]. Could you please tell me how to get them in to a database please?

[COLOR=SlateGray]Here is a record that is exported to .txt

Reference Type: Report
Record Number: 772
Author: ICG
Year: February 2003
Title: Aceh: A Fragile Peace
City: Brussels
Institution: International Crisis Group
Pages: 25
Report Number: Asia Report No. 47
Accession Number: hg
Keywords: AotonoMY, Political Participation, Role for Donors
Abstract: Arbitration,

And to HTML:
Agranoff, R., Ed. (1999). <u>Accommodating Diversity: Asymmetry in federal states</u>. Baden-Baden, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft.<BR>
ICG (February 2003). Aceh: A Fragile Peace. Brussels, International Crisis Group<b>: </b>25.<BR>[/COLOR]


& need these data to be displayed online.

Well, getting them online and putting them into a database are two separate things… Those text files can be referenced directly from the filesystem and wrapped with HTML. For example, the FilesystemObject could read the list of TXT files in a particular folder (and if they are named properly) allow people to click on the filename and see the contents in the browser window. (You’d have to load the file into the FilesystemObject component and do a few “replace statements”, maybe even insert some font tags, etc…)

How many files are we talking about here? Thousands? Would this be an ongoing process?

Given the unusual format [field name] : [field data] <carraige return>, you might as well write a VB Script that opens an ADODB connection, then uses the FilesystemObject to loop through each file in an “import” folder. Next, you’d have to read the file into a variable line-by-line, then find the position of the colon. Once you find the position of the colon, the field value is simply a matter of right(linevar,len(linevar) - colonPos). As you’re parsing each line, you could build a SQL Statement to fire-off at the end of the file to do an insert or update…

Finally, you’d use the FilesystemObject to move the file from the “import” folder to the “finished” folder…

It’s actually no small task. -about a day’s work to write test and debug…


Endnote can export the reference database to XMl.
I know, because I use it a lot.

I use Endnote 8.0.1 with the patch for Win XP.

You select all the refs you want.
Then you choose File/Export and choose the type XML.

Once you have the data as XML you can import it into SQL server using an Updategram. More Likely you would just store each reference in an NTEXT field and then work with the XML data in yur web app.

I was able to get the data into access database using the “output styles” in Endnote. There are several export styles and “Tab delimited” style seemed to be the best though there were few errors in exporting.

Now I have to work out a way to get a relational database out of this database, as it repeats the same data again and again. Do you know an easy way to do this?

Sorry, no.