RefDB Features: command line interface

The command line clients are probably the most versatile tools to access RefDB. They are useful for interactive use on the command line, for scripting purposes, and as applications behind graphical user interfaces.

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General features

General Features


The following command line applications are shipped with RefDB:

Command line clients

Reference data converters

Miscellaneous tools


Startup and help screen

RefDB startup and help screen

Fig. 1: RefDB startup and help screen. The command selects the initial database (you can switch the database anytime during an interactive session). After entering your password you'll see the command prompt. Hitting the "?" key invokes the command overview which shows all available interactive commands.

Query results

RefDB query results

Fig. 2: RefDB query output. The getref command is probably the command you'll use most often. In this case it selects all references with an author that has the string "Miller" in his name and which were published later than 1998. References that were authored by "Myers, B.B.,Jr." are excluded from the result list (journal articles usually have more than one author). The "-s" option requests the reprint status (displaying this and other information, like the abstract or notes, can be made the default). By default, the references are returned in a terse format optimized for terminals, as shown here. You can request other formats like risx, DocBook, HTML, or RIS. Other switches allow you to write the results to a file. You can also hit the "up" key one or more times to reuse and edit previous query strings, just like in your shell.

Batch mode

RefDB batch mode

Fig. 3: Using RefDB clients in batch mode. You can invoke all internal client commands right from your shell. This is useful especially when you use the commands in your scripts. In the example shown here, a dataset is written to a file in RIS format.