Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Word Reference List not Merging

A student of mine came to me recently with a problem. They had been writing the sections of their research up in separate documents, with separate bibliographies, but when they came to put all the separate pieces together, the bibliographies would not merge into one. Word included them all, but each bibliographical list remained separate within the overall bibliography within the new document.

After a bit of a search, I found that this is a known problem with Word. Additionally, there are three fixes that I have found for this issue. Which fix we apply will depend on what the underlying problem is. One problem is in swapping between versions of Word, and the new version of Word not recognising the previous one. Another problem arises when we work between different operating systems, such as Apple and Microsoft. A further problem may be that we may have created one document on our laptop, and another on our desktop, and the bibliography files are in separate locations, and so do not merge.

Either of the three fixes may work for any of the three underlying issues.
  1. Firstly, we could create our own bibliography by going to References tab | Manage Sources. On the left hand side is a Master List and on the right, a Current List. Copy all Master List items to the Current List. When we next update the bibliography we may well see all of our entries.
  2. Secondly, we could try going to the References tab | Manage Sources | Browse. This will open the folder where Word stores our bibliography source file, which is usually named something like Sources.xml. Copy the bibliography file to the location of the Sources.xml file of our finalised document (we will probably have to rename it to prevent an overwrite). Start Word in the location of our finalised document. Go to References tab | Manage Sources | Browse, double-click our new file, then click OK.
  3. Lastly we could create a new master bibliography by going to References tab | Manage Sources | Browse and then opening all the Sources.xml files we find. After opening the xml files, we will see that each reference starts with "b:Source" and ends with "<\b:Source>". If we add the appropriate code onto the the beginning, and the end, of each reference, we can then simply copy all the references from all our source files and paste them in our destination file. Save the new merged file with a different name, like "merged.xml". We can then go back to References tab | Manage Sources | Browse, and select "merged.xml" and we will be able to use all our references in our new master file.
One of those should work. Good luck!


Sam

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