Manage PDFs on a Mac
June 15, 2006 3:10 PM   Subscribe

I want to manage the huge list of pdf based papers that I read for my PhD in CS: keep them organized by categories, put long notes in them, etc. Anything for OS X?
posted by raheel to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There is an upcoming application which is designed to do exactly this, not sure it is even in beta test yet though.

In the meantime try iView.
posted by unSane at 3:28 PM on June 15, 2006

For organizing a library of PDF files, notes, and related links I recommend Yojimbo, by Bare Bones Software.
posted by RichardP at 3:31 PM on June 15, 2006

Never used it, but isn't this what DevonThink was designed to do?
posted by rossination at 4:00 PM on June 15, 2006

In the spirit of Yojimbo, you may also want to look at DevonThink and Stickybrain. They have differing emphases and you'll want to look closely to get the right kind of categorization you want.
posted by ontic at 4:02 PM on June 15, 2006

Not that a software package might not be appropriate, but I just file them in folders and use spotlight to find everything. If the pdfs are from JSTOR or some place that doesn't make them with searchable text, then you can add spotlight comments to the file (right click + get info) and tag them. Then I use the same tags as well as using the title and author in the body of whatever notes I make about them, and they will both show up together in spotlight.
posted by carmen at 4:02 PM on June 15, 2006

And adding two words to carmen's advice, above: Smart Folders. With Smart Folders, you can use search terms to sort folders, name the folders with the search terms, and you'll automatically add everything with the search terms to those Smart Folders. I do this for Flash movies more than for PDFs, but it should work pretty much the same way.
posted by cgc373 at 4:05 PM on June 15, 2006

We had a postdoc at work who was fond of iPapers, but I've never gotten into it.

I use CiteULike--an online storage system, sort of like Flickr for your pdfs.
posted by divka at 4:16 PM on June 15, 2006

OKAY! The PDF organizer I was referring to above was released today! It's called Kip ('Keep' -- for keeping stuff) and it rocks.

It's basically designed to turn all the paperwork that clutters your life into PDFs and make them instantly accessible.

Also on Versiontracker
posted by unSane at 4:51 PM on June 15, 2006

VoodooPad should be able to do the job as well as any of the other tools mentioned so far in this thread. Better in fact because it is completely free form and you can organise your data however you like.

The new version (in public beta) can embed your PDFs directly.

Full Disclosure: The author of VoodooPad saved my life in a horrible ballooning incident.
posted by schwa at 4:55 PM on June 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

I just saw Kip a second ago via RSS, unSane, and popped back in here to mention it. Web moves fast, these days, huh?
posted by cgc373 at 4:56 PM on June 15, 2006

Some very good options there. I have been using Yojimbo and Voodoopad. Yojimbo probably won't let me manage notes for the PDFs stored in it very well, I still use it for storing pdfs randomly and then saving them in folders in Finder. Voodoopad may do this job quite well (keeping notes). Finder again will not let me manage long notes about a file.
Any more ideas (keeping my need of taking notes in mind)?
posted by raheel at 5:44 PM on June 15, 2006

Couldn't Spotlight & Preview achieve everything you need without extra software?

You can add notes with Preview, add comments with Finder's Get Info, search for and in PDFs with Spotlight, it's all then scriptable, backup-able and not tied to a piece of software (except the OS itself) ..
posted by oliyoung at 6:24 PM on June 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

Endnote, duh
posted by vautrin at 7:31 PM on June 15, 2006

See also.

After trying everything else out, I eventually settled on CiteULike. The ability to add articles from the ACM to my collection with one click on a bookmarklet was irresistable.

Storing everything on the Web has its drawbacks. For an offline solution, Bookends handles references in multiple formats (EndNote, BibTex, etc) and plays well with my other applications. I can't in good conscience recommend EndNote on OS X because it, well, sucks.
posted by shaun at 12:38 AM on June 16, 2006

Believe it or not, iTunes might do the trick.
posted by O9scar at 3:26 AM on June 16, 2006

Voodoopad it is for me. Bookends and Endnote seem to suck at the user interface level. Citeulike may be another option. Finder has too little space for me put in and view notes properly.
Thanks again, for everyone's help.
posted by raheel at 5:37 PM on June 16, 2006

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