DT for academic writing: Footnotes, Bibliographies and DT

Following up on a few earlier threads:

Has anyone perfected a workflow for academics that allows one to write documents in DTPO2 which are footnote-heavy, with both bibliographic and substantive footnotes. Or, more pointedly, has anyone found a way to add/use footnotes in RTF documents on DTPO2?

I’m trying to create a workflow for dissertation writing which uses DT, Sente (and maybe Scrivener), and which, perhaps, remedies the one major fault of Scrivener, the fact it cannot produce footnotes.

Your are wrong about this. Scrivener is quite capable of producing footnotes. I indeed use Scrivener for writing, Endnote for holding my citations and Devonthink as source repository.


The perfect workflow has yet to emerge.
Academic software lack tight and seamless integration.
Scrivener can produce footnotes.
Your posting isn’t what I would call a follow-up.
RTFM and discussion forums - it’ll take a few days.

@devontech: I think a wiki would help to collaboratively design the best usage scenarios and workflows with DT involved. I think we’re at a point now, where information about workflows is too widely dispersed in different fora and threads. It needs to be consolidated. (The book on the DT way is still in the making? ) Rent a subdomain at pbworks or so and let’s see what will emerge…

Besides that:

  • DT hasn’t any footnote capabilities. Best you could do in DT is to write your text and paragraphs and use pseudo-tags for footnotes [FN: When you want to add a footnote at this position, enter something like this.] Later in Word, you could convert these FN- or similar “tags” into real footnotes via AppleScript.[FN: I have a similar script for Word based on VBA. If someone likes to use and convert it to AppleScript, just drop me a note.] This procedure worked quite well for me on the Windows platform a couple of years ago when I used a software to draft papers that had no footnote capabilities either.
  • I’m still not committed to a certain workflow on the Mac plattform with regard to DT, Scrivener and a word processor. I’m somewhat torn between DT and Scrivener for drafting and I haven’t yet made up my mind about the best point of transferring notes to Scrivener. When I’m writing in DT, I miss Scrivener’s features to organize, combine, split, mark etc. notes. When I’m writing in Scrivener, I clearly miss DT’s AI feature. It’s a tradeoff. And has been discussed in DT and Scrivener fora.
  • My current pretty rough and not very flowing workflow is to start writing in DT. At a certain point, when texts have gotten too long and I find myself constantly scrolling up and down in DT, I’ll start a Scrivener project.
    Maybe, I’m too impatient with DT and should instead split the text up into several DT documents. But then, there is no Cmd-Shift-K (Split with Selection as Title) in DT. As I said, it’s a tradeoff.
  • I would try Sente and DT first. Add a certain point, you’ll need to transfer your writings to Word/Pages/etc. If that doesn’t fit your needs, add another layer of complexity and use Scrivener as your drafting tool. You could add a tmp group in DT to drag’n’drop texts and snippets from Scrivener that you want to be analyzed by DT’s AI.
  • Integration of Sente is a no-brainer, if you just use if for references and bibliography only and avoid Sente 6’s knee-jerk default file naming. Simple add {Author 2009} wherever you want. You could use it for notetaking. But then: have fun integrating it with DT.

Thank you for the replies. What I meant by saying that Scrivener cannot produce footnotes is that they are not footnotes which are instantly relegated to the bottom of the page-- they appear along side the regular text, but marked as a footnote. So that when you’re writing you see text…[footnote…] text… I find this distracting, especially when I have long substantive footnotes, sometimes paragraphs of text. Am I missing something, perhaps a feature that would, e.g., allow me to place footnotes in another document in Scrivener?

I believe something like what you need will be available in Scrivener 2. In the meantime you can activate ghost mode, so as to dim the footnotes (reducing the distraction).


FWIW, my solution to the problem is to have Scrivener, DTP, and DevonAgent all up at the same time. Primary sources and notes about them live in DTP, which among other things makes them more accessible after the current project is over. Organizational notes and rough drafts live in Scrivener, since they don’t have much relevance beyond the current project. The word processor comes in at the very end, if at all.


This problem doesn’t come up in my work very often. If it did, though, I might try putting the notes in separate documents, connected with a Scrivener link. You’d still need to do some work to transform them into actual footnotes, but in the meantime they’d be out of the way.


PS I now see that you’ve posted in the Scrivener forum as well. Probably a better place for this conversation.

Echoing what others have posted here, I use a combination of DTPO, a reference manager (has been bookends, might be Zotero in the future), and scrivener. I use DTPO as my project/book source depository-- all the primary and secondary sources, in Spanish and English. When it comes time to write, I drag the specific notes into Scrivener that I’m going to need for any given article or chapter or section or whatever, and then re-arrange them into what is, essentially, a source outline of the chapter. Personally, like the way that scrivener handles footnotes/endnotes, but that’s just me. I mean, there aren’t really “pages” in scrivener while writing anyway.

As to reference management, I’ve never been a fan of automated reference management-- ie, anchors later scanned and replaced by the manager. For me, I want the formatted citation there from the start. This can be problematic, I reckon, from a bibliography generation perspective-- but my way around that is to have a library specifically for a project with every source I use, and generate from there.

DT isn’t a writing environment, as far as I’m concerned. It’s a place one can write-- but I see it as more utilitarian than creative. I put citations on each note that I take, so they never get lost-- even when decontextualized and moved around in scrivener. Using templates, one could now put footnotes in notes by always taking notes in word or OO or pages or whatever.

The simplest solution is to use either Bookends or Endnote (preferably the former). Simply copy your unformatted citations from either of these databases into any quotes or paraphrases. They include a unique id that ensures that when you need to format something into a document with bibliography you can easily generate it. Bookends is very cool. It allows linking to items within your DT database among many other amazing features. I think you can also link to Scrivener items. Problem solved.

@philosopher_dog is right: Sente, Bookends, and most other true citation/bibliographic managers allow you to drag and drop both formatted, mark-up, and unique ids/urls into the notes managed in DT.

I just noticed that the RTF I imported into DT Pro Office has lost the footnotes I had on the file.

First, I assume that since DT won’t support footnotes I can’t import the RTF with those notes. Is that right?

Second, if so, does anyone know of a script to covert footnotes (in Word) to an embedded format that DT can import?

Michael U.