Citation/article database for OS X?
June 11, 2006 11:04 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find a citation database for OS X (and am I using the right term)?

I'm looking for a way to organize historical documents (mostly newspaper articles) for my site. Some are plaintext, some PDF, and some printed/photocopied. I'd like to sort and search by the following:
- periodical name
- article name
- publication date
- text (either abstract, or full text, or blank, or "see hardcopy"). Would like to be able to paste this in.
- keywords
- a couple of flags: 1, have I read full text? (I have a bunch of cites that are just title/abstract and date, because they're $4 a pop); and 2, have I applied it to the site?

Something like this has been tough to Google for. I'm trying out Notational Velocity but wonder if it will scale up. (tracking information on about 900 numbered highways).

"Install mySQL" is also an acceptable answer, but I'm checking first for something lightweight that's already been done.
posted by kurumi to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Endnote 9 for OS X (soon to be Endnote X for Mac OS X) will let you organize citations with the criteria above (and more) and will also link to associated files in PDF, image and other file formats.

You could set up a MySQL, FileMaker Pro, or other database — but in design terms, storing files in BLOBs is considered "bad form"; you'd want a link to the file system, instead.
posted by Mr. Six at 11:11 PM on June 11, 2006

Best answer: Bibdesk may be what you're looking for. Works for me.

I've found the scripts here pretty useful for working with the bibtex file format too.
posted by singingfish at 11:11 PM on June 11, 2006
posted by funkbrain at 11:12 PM on June 11, 2006

posted by funkbrain at 11:13 PM on June 11, 2006

Endnote can definitely do what you want. I use it, though I find the Mac UI pretty unsatisfactory (and it was rather crashy before version 9).

Sente is a Mac-native alternative that may worth investigating.
posted by beniamino at 11:36 PM on June 11, 2006

Another vote here for EndNote to do exactly what you're asking, although I've never used the Mac version...

Just as an aside, a lot of universities now have a site license for EndNote, so if you're a student (no idea if you are...), you can usually borrow the EndNote CD from your library and install it on your Laptop/Desktop totally legally!
posted by ranglin at 11:38 PM on June 11, 2006

Bibdesk implies BibTeX, which increases your computational karma even if you never touch LaTeX. Especially on a unix box like OSX. There was a recent thread on metachat about EndNote being a pain in the ass.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:53 PM on June 11, 2006

I'd give Bookends a try. I bought EndNote (and a couple full-price, crappy updates) before chucking it in favor of the fiercely developed and very pleasant aforementioned Bookends.

I tried Sente and Bibdesk, but the former didn't have built-in MLA support at the time, and the latter was ugly and too complicated for my needs.

The four big names to know are all now mentioned: EndNote, Bibdesk, Bookends, and Sente. Now go grab some demos.
posted by terceiro at 1:00 AM on June 12, 2006

...and apparently the UI for Bibdesk has improved significantly. It's purty now. If only it integrated with some word non-TeX word processor and had built-in MLA format support, I'd be sold.
posted by terceiro at 1:05 AM on June 12, 2006

I recently used EndNote 9 to write my thesis. It's not a bad program, per se, but the GUI is terrible and will slow a copy of MS Word to a halt. (Mind you that you should probably be writing a thesis in LaTeX anyways, but I lacked the time to learn it.) I looked into some of the other Mac-native applications, but I never got around to using them. They looked much slicker though.
posted by BioCSnerd at 5:03 AM on June 12, 2006

I built my own. What you describe is very similar to the citations database I use to track words for my dictionary-related web site. I use Expression Engine, which allows you to add as many custom fields as you want; I have about 35 that are text areas or drop-downs. EE installs on OS X, and is especially easy if you use MAMP, which I use for offline development.
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:49 AM on June 12, 2006

Response by poster: I'm going with BibDesk for the time being. It seems workable, despite a few annoyances:
  • No facility for anything published for often than monthly. Seems very much geared toward all your sources being Journal of Something or Other. (Picturing a tweed-jacketed guy saying "Sir, with BibTex, we do not cite (sniff) newspaper articles.")
  • (Sorry, meant to say BibTEX. :-)
  • Difficult/impossible to add a boolean checkbox to each citation (for "already read and applied this info")
  • Haven't checked out the URL to article feature yet... have a feeling it hardcodes the URL, and if I moved files, everything would break. Maybe I should run a small local webserver and use mod_rewrite etc.)
  • Still the sneaking feeling I'm not using the tool the way it's intended, like banging a nail with the head of a screwdriver.
I do appreciate that it's searchable by keyword and abstract, and that it supports hundreds of keywords. And that it imports from other files, as long as I provide it in case-sensitive BibTex format. And it's free!
posted by kurumi at 12:25 PM on June 26, 2006

Please check out the awesome firefox plugin I saw it mentioned on BoingBoing and installed it. Nifty! Why do I have to find out about the cool new academic tools on BoingBoing? Geesh.

It can actually import citation information from a variety of websites using metadata, including amazon, and it exports to bibtex so you can take the cites and use them in bibdesk. And it was created by a history department (George Mason).

I haven't found anything that converts bibtex automagically to MLA format except for Endnote.
posted by mecran01 at 8:07 PM on November 3, 2006

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