Papers, BibDesk, or a maaaagical program made by fairies?
September 20, 2011 3:39 PM Subscribe
My boss needs an academic reference manager (think: Papers, Sente, BibDesk) that can handle a huge existing BibTeX reference library and a huge-separate-but-sometimes-overlapping existing library of papers in PDF format. Have one you love? Tell me about it.
posted by supercres to computers & internet (8 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
My boss wants a good way to organize his library of academic papers that integrates well with his brand new iPad. Basically, he wants a well-tagged library of PDFs that he can take anywhere.
We currently have a 3300-odd-entry BibDesk (i.e., BibTeX) repository of citations that our lab uses for all papers. Citekeys are extremely regular, and the repository is in good shape. This .bib file lives in an SVN repository that all lab members can check out, add to, etc.
We also have a 2.3-gigabyte folder of papers on our server that's organized by the same citekey structure. Not all papers in our BibDesk archive have PDFs, and not all PDFs have an entry in BibDesk. This folder is not on the same server as the BibDesk SVN repo. It is accessible through the web, so a hyperlink to a PDF would work.
Put simply, we want to integrate the two as easily as possible to create his publication library. Mega-bonus points if other lab members could have access to the database files.
My dream integration involving the perfect piece of Software X would look something like this:
-- I import my huge master BibTeX file into Software X, so it has entries for each paper that was in BibDesk.
-- Software X matches the citekeys in each entry with the 2.3 GB folder of PDFs and imports the ones that match.
-- For all entries without PDFs, Software X attempts to download the paper using our university library proxy.
-- For all PDFs without entries, Software X scans the PDF for title, authors, etc and uses online archives to fill in missing data.
-- Any entries or PDFs without matches get tagged as "unknown" or "missing PDF".
I know Papers does some of this, but I had a tough time on my initial import. I want to be able to tell it, "Look in THIS folder under the citekey.pdf filename, THEN look online!" It also did pretty poorly when I imported a representative sample of my PDF files; didn't tag 90% of them. I feel like Papers is better suited to building a library from scratch.
Will Papers (eventually) do everything I need once I learn how to use it? Should I stick with BibDesk and try to add links to my papers rather than dragging the files in one by one? (Can I THEN import from BibDesk into Papers for iPad integration?) Is another piece of software like Sente more suited for our purposes?