Currently using Bibdesk to organise my references and various associated documents. I would like if possible to use the great addons Helm-bibtex and org-ref.

To specify the location of the PDF associated with a reference it is possible to us two settings in Helm-bibtex; "helm-bibtex-library-path" which will look in the specified directory for a file based on the citation key and the "helm-bibtex-pdf-field" which will get the path to the pdf from the specified field in the bibtex entry. Currently Bibdesk stores information about attached files in fields called "Bdsk-File-#" where the hash is a numeric, using Base64-encoded pathnames.

My question is, has anybody got the intergration between Bibdesk bibtex files and Helm-bibtex working using the Base64-encoded pathnames? There is a perl script on github for decoding the pathname from the Bibdesk fields https://github.com/pmcarlton/BibDesk2Zotero_attachments that is used by Zotero for conversion of a Bibdesk bibtex file. Would it be possible to use this as basis to extract the information required?

I could use the "helm-bibtex-library-path" setting instead, but I would have to override the "helm-bibtex-find-pdf-in-library" function, to accommodate my custom sub-directory structure (based on author name and year) and Bibdesk's requirement that the filename be unique.

I would prefer to use the pdf field in the bibtex file, but my Lisp knowledge is limited, so any help or a point in the right direction would be appreciated to get either solution working.

Thank you

Update #1 Although I have not figured out an answer to the above question, there does seem to be a work around using BibDesk Applescripts. From the Bibdesk website, http://sourceforge.net/p/bibdesk/wiki/BibDesk_Applescripts/, Christiaan Hofman kindly provides Applescripts to automatically update the Local-Url field with the first linked file. It is possible to amend these scripts to have the Local-Url field contain all the linked files in a format similar to Mendeley.

  • Update 1 sounds like a viable solution. What part is missing? If you want a solution that decodes the Base64 pathname, please add an example along with the pathname in cleartext.
    – tmalsburg
    Mar 1, 2016 at 17:53
  • Update 1 is working fine. Although it would be nice to a setting that would either decode the Base64 string or allows for the passing in of a already decoded string, i would think there would not be much demand for this functionality. The only reason I do not like using Applescripts, is due to my unfamiliarity with the language.
    – mjb
    Mar 15, 2016 at 11:37
  • There is some work in decoding bibdesk paths here (for org-ref): github.com/jkitchin/org-ref/issues/273
    – bernie
    Jun 21, 2019 at 16:22


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