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I am looking for a program or web service that can take as inputs a list of academic references in "plain text" format like MLA/APA/Chicago/etc, e.g.:

  • Addison, Paul S. " Wavelet transforms and the ECG: a review." Physiological measurement 26.5 (2005): R155.
  • Moody, G. B., and R. G. Mark. "Integration of real-time and off-line clinical data in the MIMIC database." Computers in Cardiology 1997. IEEE, 1997.
  • Li, Cuiwei, Chongxun Zheng, and Changfeng Tai. "Detection of ECG characteristic points using wavelet transforms." Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on 42.1 (1995): 21-28.
  • Unser, Michael, and Akram Aldroubi. "A review of wavelets in biomedical applications." Proceedings of the IEEE 84.4 (1996): 626-638.
  • JX Sun, AT Reisner, and RG Mark. A signal abnormality index for arterial blood pressure waveforms. In Computers in Cardiology, 2006, pages 13–16. IEEE, 2006. Gaussian Processes for Machine Learning, Carl Edward Rasmussen and Chris Williams, the MIT Press, 2006
  • JH Henriques and TR Rocha. Prediction of acute hypotensive episodes using neural network multi-models. In Computers in Cardiology, 2009, pages 549–552. IEEE, 2009.

and as output would be the corresponding bibtex entries:

  title={Wavelet transforms and the ECG: a review},
  author={Addison, Paul S},
  journal={Physiological measurement},
  publisher={IOP Publishing}

  title={Integration of real-time and off-line clinical data in the MIMIC database},
  author={Moody, GB and Mark, RG},
  booktitle={Computers in Cardiology 1997},

  title={Detection of ECG characteristic points using wavelet transforms},
  author={Li, Cuiwei and Zheng, Chongxun and Tai, Changfeng},
  journal={Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on},

  title={A review of wavelets in biomedical applications},
  author={Unser, Michael and Aldroubi, Akram},
  journal={Proceedings of the IEEE},

  title={A signal abnormality index for arterial blood pressure waveforms},
  author={Sun, JX and Reisner, AT and Mark, RG},
  booktitle={Computers in Cardiology, 2006},

  title={Gaussian processes for machine learning},
  author={Williams, Christopher KI and Rasmussen, Carl Edward},
  journal={the MIT Press},

  title={Prediction of acute hypotensive episodes using neural network multi-models},
  author={Henriques, J and Rocha, TR},
  booktitle={Computers in Cardiology, 2009},

Right now I use Google scholar to convert them manually one by one, which is tedious, and I would prefer to avoid using MTurk/oDesk/etc. Free and compatible with Windows 7 if possible.

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JabRef is a BibTeX bibliography manager:

  • freeware / open-source
  • Java based, so it is cross-platform
  • reference management
  • can send \cite key directly to TexStudio, LyX editors
  • has a LibreOffice/OpenOffice plugin

It doesn't directly do what you want (it may have an import plugin but I don't know exactly). However it has a nice online search feature that can search IEEExplore, Google Scholar (not sure if this one works) and NCBI Pubmed. It can also search ISBNs on Amazon and download data into BibTeX. By copying the paper titles you provided into the search fields I was able to find relevant results. For IEEExplore and NCBI Pubmed (Medline) you can also search for the DOI and PMID respectively and it will yield the exact one result.

enter image description here

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Thanks, nice application! For those who wonder (like me a few minutes ago): How can it export a subset of the bibliography in BibTeX format in JabRef? – Franck Dernoncourt Jun 23 '14 at 20:16
The web search is indeed a great feature. – Franck Dernoncourt Jun 23 '14 at 20:28
JabRef offers "Tools" > "Entry from plain text". And then "Parse with FreeCite", which uses – koppor Sep 24 '15 at 20:05

apa2bib by Neil Stewart:

  • it is a perl script
  • converts APA-formatted references into bibtex
  • command line
  • supports books (with volume and edition numbers), chapters in edited books, journal articles, magazine articles (e.g., Science and Nature), and in-press, submitted and unpublished manuscripts.
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text2bib seems to do what you want:

  • converts a plain text list of references in a wide range of styles to BibTeX
  • web service
  • requires registration
  • supports article, book, incollection, inproceedings, techreport, mastersthesis, phdthesis, and unpublished

enter image description here

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Thanks, I tried this service with the example I put into question, the output wasn't very convincing :-) Maybe it would work better if I spend a bit more time understanding what goes wrong, but I feel some pre-processing at least are needed so that the conversion works. – Franck Dernoncourt Jun 23 '14 at 20:25

Just a quick shot with all solutions I am aware of:

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