I am currently trying to manage around 100 references from ISI Web of Knowledge. To manage them in a useful way, I need to manage a table, one row for each reference, with 4-5 user defined structured columns (like: which climate variable they correlated with which demographic variable etc.).

So for this purpose I need to add custom fields to each reference; then display the table of selected references, and be able to sort and filter using these fields. Is there any reference manager that supports this? Unfortunately Zotero doesn't and is not going to.

PS: Of course I don't like the idea of having separate excel table besides. I would then miss the comfortable link between the table rows and the PDF and personal notes and other things which I manage through the reference manager (currently Zotero).

  • 4
    Jabref does. But this is probably a better fit at softwarerecs.se
    – StrongBad
    Mar 16, 2016 at 17:12
  • I don't know the answer, but you should probably look into reference managers that are based on bibtex. Since it is possible to make custom fields in a bibtex bibliography, it is possible that a reference manager based on bibtex has added this as a feature. Mar 16, 2016 at 17:15
  • 1
    After reading Strongbad's comment, I'd like to upvote the part "Jabref does" and downvote the part "this is probably a better fit at softwarerecs.se". Jun 2, 2016 at 13:35

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure if this would be enough for you, but in Mendeley you can add multiple tags to every reference and then you can filter them using those tags (just type it in a search bar). You can also add a note to every reference, and use those to filter your references.

In both cases, it should be something unique, so you don't get unwanted search results.


Bibdesk allows for arbitrary and custom fields, and makes a bibtex file to boot. This is, of course, only available for Mac OS X. There is also Papers.app, though I don't, subjectively, like the direction they've taken the UI in Papers 3.

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