An RIS file is a tag file format for exchange of bibliographic data by citation programs. It contains multiple lines of citation data, consisting of a two-character code and corresponding value delimited by a hyphen. Citation information included in an RIS file includes data such as author, title, publication date, keywords, publisher, abstract, author address, etc. RIS files are human-readable and can be opened with any text editor such as Microsoft Notepad, Notepad++, and Apple TextEdit.
RIS File Format - More Information
RIS files are stored as plain text file. Each line in an RIS file consists of a two letter code (also known as tags), followed by two spaces and a hyphen, and the corresponding value. Due to tags, RIS files are known as tagged format for representation of bibliographic citations. Example record in an RIS file is as shown below.
RIS File Example
The following example from Wikipedia article shows the RIS file contents for an article: Claude E. Shannon. A mathematical theory of communication, Bell System Technical Journal, 27:379–423, July 1948.
TY - JOUR
AU - Shannon, Claude E.
PY - 1948
DA - July
TI - A Mathematical Theory of Communication
T2 - Bell System Technical Journal
SP - 379
EP - 423
VL - 27
In this example, TY is Type of Reference and ER is End of Reference.
Refer to RIS Tags section in File Format Specifications document.