Bleg: AAA Bibliography Format for Sente

Since I first reviewed my favorite reference manager on this blog a number of readers have started to use it… and started to notice that it doesn’t have a built-in bibliography format for American Anthropology Association publications [AAA style guide (PDF)]. So I’m posting a bleg for anyone who has made such a format to share it here.

Also worth mentioning here: In the end of January Zotero released version 3.0 of Zotero, which finally introduced a “standalone” version of Zotero that doesn’t require Firefox to run. IMHO, it still has a ways to go before it can catch up to Sente, but there are two areas where it is ahead of the game: (1) It has plugins for Chrome which allow you to save citations directly from your browser. (Sente still awkwardly requires you to open its own browser and copy your link before you can save a webpage.) And (2) it has a AAA format built-in.

Finally, on the iOS front, I still find GoodReader + Dropbox + Evernote to be my best mobile reading workflow. But it is worth mentioning that in addition to Sente’s excellent iOS app which I reviewed earlier, there is now an unofficial iOS app for Zotero. There is also a new iOS app from the makers of Bookends, and a new version of Papers as well.

14 thoughts on “Bleg: AAA Bibliography Format for Sente

  1. A bleg of my own: what is the history of the decidedly unstylish AAA reference style? The AAA bibliographic option in my own Zotero does not produce anything close to a properly formatted list. It would surprise me if it did. The style is almost impossible to automate.

  2. If Sente uses Citation Style Language then you should be able to import the AAA CSL from Zotero into Sente. But to echo @MTBradley, don’t expect any miracles.

    IMO, bringing the AAA format into the digital age should be at the top of the digital to-do list.

  3. That worked for me, although I think it needs to be tweaked a little bit, based on my quick test scans of documents. Thanks Michael!

  4. Glad to help.

    If anyone is brave enough to ascend the learning curve, the combination of Latex and Bibtex renders AAA format beautifully.

  5. If anyone is brave enough to ascend the learning curve, the combination of Latex and Bibtex renders AAA format beautifully.

    How’d you manage that? I’ve used biblatex to automate the Current Anthropology flavor of Chicago Style but AAA has always eluded me. (Though my pursuit has never been more than half-hearted.)

  6. @MTBradley If you dig around in CTAN there is a file named ‘humannat.bst’ that works pretty well. But, you have to install it correctly and adjust the bibtex settings, etc.. the overhead just got to be too much.

  7. Thank you for the updates. I am desperately searching for the best all-around solution for generating annotated bibliographies from within a reference manager. Zotero has a mediocre workaround; Papers is more-or-less incapable. Wondering if you or anyone else has had good luck with one application or another?

  8. @Giovanni,

    I stopped using EndNote over a decade ago. I don’t know if they have improved, but at some point all the existing bibliographic software options got bought up by one company acting in a monopolistic fashion: buying out competition rather than competing through innovation. Over time, first Bookends and then Sente emerged as competitive options on OS X, offering a much better user interface and workflow. (Disclosure: in both cases I was heavily involved in beta testing these new interfaces.) Since then I never looked back. It is entirely possible that EndNote has since caught up with these services, but I doubt it. Every student and colleague who I convinced to switch to Sente has thanked me. It is my hope that, over time, Zotero will provide the same quality in a free option, since my students cannot afford Sente (even with the academic discount). Mendeley is another good free option, but I prefer Zotero.

  9. My story is essentially the same as Kerim’s; I stopped using Endnote a decade ago and haven’t looked back. Sente has come along in fits and starts but it is clear that their company is really driven to keep making the program better. There are still some things I’d like changed about the program, but it is now the single place I store and annotate all my articles. Its syncs across four different devices flawlessly in realtime and does a great job enabling me to read more.

    That said it is great to see so many Free-As-In-Beer alternatives like Mendeley and Zotero. They have also come a long away and provide a great option for people who aren’t the 10% like I am.

    Btw to the extent that that AAA format needs to be tweaked, I can’t figure out how to do it. I’d recommend people just use the format stored at the Zotero repository.

  10. How’s Sente integration in Word? Because endnote x5 is quite good. I’ve read that Sente is sluggish if you have a large numbers of pdf books and papers. The new Papers Manuscripts and Citation function seems also good.

  11. Dr Friedman, thank you for your post on Sente, a service that I had never seen before. Will check it out. I use EndNote myself today, and I always have the official style guides close at hand when I write. There are also online citation generators (e.g., which I developed for my students) and style guides avavilable 24/7, which is a great asset.

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