Hook integration with BibDesk

For those who choose/need to work in LaTeX, BibDesk is a great reference manager for macOS. (https://bibdesk.sourceforge.io) In fact, BibDesk is bundled with the full install of a LaTeX environment on macOS, so nearly everyone using LaTeX on macOS has a copy of BibDesk, too.

I’m new to Hook (just downloaded it today) and am really excited to apply Hook to my research. Unfortunately, it appears there is no BibDesk-Hook integration at this time. Would it be possible to integrate BibDesk and Hook? It would be great to add a Hook link to specific entries in a BibDesk database. I understand BibDesk has excellent AppleScript support, which makes me think this integration could be possible. Hook-BibDesk-(and hopefully soon Obsidian) integration would be a game-changer for me.

Is this integration something that the Hook team would do? Is it something that I need to attempt on my own with AppleScript?

I’m looking for advice on how to proceed.



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Following up here, I have been contact with the BibDesk developer, and we already have a draft script in testing. So stay tuned.


Fantastic! My biggest regret from my grad school days was not having picked up LaTeX and BibTex. I was in a COGS programme, but in a Computer Science programme, so it would have been natural…

Any updates on this? I can link to the file using hook, but I’d like to link to an actual entry of the database.

@eMaX: Matt also started a thread about this topic on the bibdesk-users mailing list (see: Hook integration for BibDesk?) around the same time that he posted here, last November.

The summary of that thread on the bibdesk-users mailing list is: Hook can automatically open a x-bdsk://citekey URL, which is the standard URL for linking to a BibDesk entry. For example, if the cite key of an entry is Max:2021er, then the URL for that entry is x-bdsk://Max:2021er (this works in any Mac application). So apparently all you need to make Hook work with BibDesk is an AppleScript to get the URL and name of a BibDesk entry, and the last message in that thread on the bibdesk-users mailing list (see previous link) has some AppleScript code that may work.

If you can’t figure out by yourself how to use that AppleScript code, you could respond here and try tagging the name of one of the Hook experts and see if they could help you. I don’t currently use Hook, so I can’t help; I just found this thread in a web search. But Hook will work with BibDesk once you get the AppleScripts set up, which should be easy to do. The only caveat is that you have to make sure not to change the BibDesk entry’s cite key after you link to it with Hook, or else the link will break.

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Thank you, much appreciated!! We’ve bumped this up our integration priority list.

Just catching up with this thread a bit. The BibDesk integration script has worked well for me. It would be great to see BibDesk integration packaged with hook.

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Works. I’ve had a problem using those links from obsidian, which didn’t like the : I had in all my cite keys, like Nathan:2021. Obsidian would just not launch such urls. I ended up changing all of them by dashes, like Nathan-2021, which is kind of annoying wrt all the old stuff I wrote, but until obsidian has fixed it on their end, I’m good.

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Ah, pardon me. Regarding citekey URLs, I should have said: This works in any non-buggy Mac application. LOL.

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Thanks @mkh for bringing this up and @eMaX and @Nathan for reviving the topic.

Version 163 of Hook software integration: Supports BibDesk Mac App! (LaTeX BibTex Lovers Rejoice) - Releases - Hook Productivity Forum.

We would appreciate the word being spread about this to academics et al, feedback , feature requests regarding it, etc. If BibDesk + Hook users would kindly share with academic colleagues , students , teams and organizations that would be appreciated.

I myself avoided LaTeX as a grad student, which I learned to regret, what with the fate of various software and finally Papers app. I’m in bibliography transition for my next paper(s).

I write in Markdown so I will keep an eye out for further Markdown ↔ Skim [which has BibDesk integration] ↔ BibDesk integration.

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@LucB, I write in Markdown and I cite references in Markdown using Pandoc citations, then post-process with Pandoc, which transforms the inline citations into the specified citation style using CSL and writes a corresponding bibliography using data that it extracts from a BibTeX file, which is BibDesk’s native format. That sounds complicated but it’s easy to use. More simply: The Markdown ↔ Pandoc ↔ BibDesk connection is worth exploring if you’re not already familiar with it. I love it.

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Hi, I have the same workflow (Markdown – Pandoc – BibDesk) but I can’t get the BibDesk-Integration to work. I would like to be able to link BibDesk-entries to pdfs and eventually Obsidian documents. However, anytime I drag a BibDesk-entry onto the Hook icon, it says that the dragged item is not supported by Hook. What am I doing wrong?

I have the latest version of Hook (3.8 with Scripts version 231) and am on Mac OS Catalina. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Welcome to the Hook Productivity Forum , @JoeB . Not all apps support drag and drop linking. In this case, the trick is to use the main way of interacting with Hook, which is via Hook’s context sensitive window. To link stuff together:

Ah, I didn’t know that.

Yes, this way it works - thanks a lot for the quick help, @LucB !

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