wos2bt: A Conversion Tool from Web of Science to BibTeX

© 2008 Tobias Elze

What is wos2bt?

wos2bt is a conversion script for transferring Web of Science references to BibTeX. Web of Science (aka Web of Knowledge) is a popular commercial reference database containing many scientific journals. BibTeX is a free reference software, commonly used in LaTeX documents.

Download and Installation

On the project website a number of precompiled binaries are provided. For Linux and Microsoft Windows, special installer packages can be found there. For other operating systems or Linux distributions without installer packages, download the precompiled binary archive, unpack it, and copy wos2bt to a directory in your search path.

If you have OCaml installed on your system, you might prefer to use the script wos2bt.ml with the ocaml interpreter. In this case, only the file wos2bt.ml is needed - it can be executed from a shell.


Download of the Reference

For any operating system, the first step is to download the reference file from Web of Science. Call Web of Science and find your reference. Click on your reference in Web of Science, and scroll down to the bottom of the page. There you find options how to save the reference to your local computer. It is recommended to click on "Authors, Title, Source" and "plus Abstract" (these are the entries converted by wos2bt), then to Save to Endnote, RefMan, or other reference software or alternatively to "Save as Plain Text". The reference will be saved by default to file "uml_view.cgi" or "savedrec.txt" then. If you are using Microsoft Windows, it is highly recommended to save this file with the extension .w2b.

The second step is operating system dependent.

Microsoft Windows

If you installed wos2bt with the Windows Installer package, the standard file name extension of wos2bt is .w2b. If you saved your reference file with this extension or rename it after saving, you can simply double click your reference file, and it will be converted into BibTeX automatically. The text will be written to a file named like your saved reference file but with the additional extension .txt.

After conversion, notpad will pop up showing the BibTeX entry. If notepad does not open automatically, please open the generated file by double clicking.

Your downloaded reference file will be deleted. In addition to this, the procedure described in the next section works under Windows as well.

Other Operating Systems

It is assumed that wos2bt is in your search path or that wos2bt is in the same directory as your reference file. Call the following in the directory of your reference file to convert it to BibTeX:

wos2bt referencefile
or, if wos2bt is in the local working directory but not in the search path,
./wos2bt referencefile
If you saved the reference file under its default name ("uml_view.cgi" or "savedrec.txt") you can skip the filename and just call wos2bt without any arguments. Your downloaded reference file will be deleted.


For further questions or comments, please contact me: origo [at] tobias-elze.de. The script will only work if Web of Science does not modify it's output format. If the script suddenly stops working, please drop me a note so that I can adapt it to later versions of Web of Science.