Managing personal reference lists

Personal reference lists mainly serve two purposes:

So personal reference list are essentially a tool to have your own personal information for a dataset and to create personal, selective views of the database.

Creating and deleting personal reference lists

Actually there are no commands to create or delete personal reference lists. These lists are created automatically as soon as you add references to them. Now the question is, how does a reference get into your personal reference list? There are three ways to accomplish this:

  1. If you add a new reference to the database with the addref command, the reference will be automatically added to your default personal reference list.

  2. Add an existing reference to your personal reference list with the pickref command. This command will not add personal data to the reference. To add a reference to a list other than your default list, use the -b listname switch.

  3. If you use the updateref command to modify the information in an existing reference, this reference will also appear in your default personal reference list. If you use the -P switch with this command, the data of this reference common to all users will remain untouched, but your personal information (reprint status, availability, notes) will be added.

Remember that one user can act on behalf of a different user with the -U switch, that commands like addref support.

Of course there are also ways to get rid of the references that you once found useful. If you share the database with other users, the first choice should always be the dumpref command. This just removes your personal information and your association with the reference, while it leaves the common information untouched for other users of the database. Only if you know that no one else is interested in a reference, you should think about using the deleteref command. In both cases personal reference lists will be automatically removed if they are empty.

Accessing references in personal reference lists

You can limit your database search with the -b listname switch of the getref command to those references that you added to that particular personal reference list. If you want to access references in your default list, you have to pass your username as an argument to the -b switch.

Advanced use of personal reference lists

The pickref and dumpref commands mentioned above are actually only simplified interfaces to the extended notes feature. Each personal reference list corresponds to one extended note with these particular features:

  • The note is initially almost empty. Only the title, the username and the key are set.

  • The title and the key are initially identical and have the format <username>-<listname>. The username prefix is used to create a separate namespace for each user.

However, you can treat these notes just like any other note. In particular, you can retrieve the note with the getnote command, edit it by entering a description as the contents or a couple of keywords, and finally update it with the updatenote command. Just keep in mind that this information will be lost if you remove all references from this list, as this will cause the note representing the list to be purged automatically.